Konrad Adenauer: A German Politician and Statesman in a Period of War, Revolution, and Reconstruction - Vol. 1

By Hans-Peter Schwarz | Go to book overview

growth. Moreover, the 'lax' currency policy of the Reich government initially produced financial conditions favourable to this process. Though the inflation period was soon to follow, for a time there was sufficient money available for major projects to be begun on credit.

During these years the senior officials of Cologne were also able to realise their dream of founding a university in the city. Following the loss of Strasbourg to France, Bonn was the seat of the only remaining German university on the left bank of the Rhine. There was thus a very strong argument, in the interests of German cultural self-assertion, for establishing another academic centre in the occupied territory.

Opportunities existed in many fields for those with the will to see them through. The starting-point for urban planning inevitably centred on the fate of the Cologne fortifications. Adenauer, it appeared, had been waiting for just this moment. On 2 December 1918, exactly a day before the last German regiment disappeared into the mist across the Hohenzollern bridge to the east, he chaired a meeting of the administration conference. The minutes of the meeting contained a highly significant entry regarding the issue of 'the compulsory purchase of the belt of countryside to the left and right of the Rhine: following the presentation by the mayor, the conference unanimously agreed to present for discussion by the City Council the request to the appropriate state authorities for compulsory purchase rights for the land to the left (circa 700 marks per square meter) and right (circa 300 marks per square meter) of the Rhine.'2 To avoid alerting land speculators at an early stage, the proceedings were kept secret.

The fortifications, in the shape of two broad belts, enclosed the entire city area to the left and right of the Rhine. The outer layer -- between 800 and 1,000 metres wide -- contained the outer forts, demilunes, earthworks, and depots for the fortifications. Here there was a complete ban on building, which guaranteed a free field of fire. Within the outer layer of fortifications was sited a vast inner belt, which had been partly acquired by the city before the First World War; according to a development plan dating from that period, this had been envisaged as a major residential zone. With the conditions applying to the outer belt no longer applicable, it was now also logical to draw up new plans for the development of the inner layer.

The issue of the fortifications was linked with other problems for which a satisfactory solution now appeared possible. If the opportunity was lost, however, it would not come again. Owing to the near-exhaustion of the more distant lignite deposits to the west of Cologne, mining was beginning to encroach upon the city itself, with serious negative implications in the form of dust, fumes and the destruction of the landscape. At the same time, the location of the belt enclosing Cologne provided the temptation to use some of the newly-obtained land to the west for industrial settlements. Owing to the prevailing west-east winds, however, such a decision would be a major planning error.

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Konrad Adenauer: A German Politician and Statesman in a Period of War, Revolution, and Reconstruction - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Prologue: Cologne 3
  • I - The Young Master Adenauer 1876-1906 33
  • Student Years In Freiburg, Munich and Bonn 59
  • Justitia Coloniensis 64
  • 'A Talent Takes Shape in Stillness' 69
  • II - The First Rapid Rise 1906-1917 83
  • The First World War 93
  • The Youngest Mayor in Prussia 105
  • III - The Mayor 1917-1933 113
  • The Rhineland Movement 1918-1919 133
  • Pater Familias 152
  • Modern Cologne 156
  • Political Recognition at National Level 164
  • 1923 -- Year of Crisis 172
  • 'the Mayors of Contemporary Germany Are the Kings of Today' 195
  • In the Maelstrom Of the World Economic Crisis 210
  • IV - In the Third Reich 1933-1945 229
  • Struggle for Survival 241
  • A Pensioner in Rh"Ndorf 269
  • 'It is a Miracle of God That I Have Survived' 281
  • V - The Party Leader 1945-1949 289
  • Dismissal by the Liberators 321
  • 'Adenauer's Seizure of Power' 329
  • The Party Leader 359
  • Towards the Federal Republic of Germany 382
  • The President of the Parliamentary Council 408
  • Setting the Course 421
  • VI - First Years as Chancellor 1949-1950 433
  • The Political Tableau During Bonn's Early Days 450
  • Adenauer's Political Machine 465
  • Strenuous Beginnings of Westpolitik 476
  • 'the Most Disappointed Man in Europe' 489
  • The Schuman Plan 504
  • 'that Bully Adenauer' 517
  • In the Depths of Unpopularity 555
  • Adenauer's Daily Life 570
  • VII - European Statesman 1950-1952 587
  • Europe 608
  • Western Treaties and Soviet Initiatives 628
  • 'the Wings of World History' 642
  • Warding off the Moscow Note Offensive 650
  • The Breakthrough: The Signing of the Western Treaties 665
  • Afterword 689
  • Notes 703
  • Archival Sources 735
  • Pictorial Sources 737
  • Published Sources and Select Bibliography 739
  • Index of Persons 747
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