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

power in the major European capitals: Ramsay MacDonald, who in 1914 had opposed his country's entry into the war, in London; Edouard Herriot and Aristide Briand, both sympathetic to pacifist ideals, in Paris; Wilhelm Marx and Gustav Stresemann in Berlin. The Rentenmark rapidly established itself as a stable currency. In August 1924 the London reparations conference made a vital breakthrough: although Germany had to commit itself to pay yearly reparations of 2.5 billion gold marks; the commitment was matched by the Allies with a binding plan for the evacuation of the occupied territories. The Ruhr was to be evacuated within a year, the Cologne Zone by 31 January 1926. Moreover, the reparations agreement gave Germany access to the U.S. capital market; American investors thenceforth began to invest in Germany some of their profits from the boom of the 1920s -- not least in the form of short-term loans to the German municipalities.

There was great relief in Cologne at the normalisation of the economic situation. Unemployment, of course, continued to be high, since manufacturing industry took some years to recover. In 1923 the city had 50,000 unemployed, in 1924 54,000, and in 1925 21,000 were still without work. Relief schemes for the unemployed thus had to be maintained and continued to burden the city budget. Nevertheless, there were justified grounds for optimism. It was now that Adenauer's wide-ranging measures to improve infrastructure began to take effect. The new Rhine port took an increasing volume of shipping; coal lighters from the Rhine fleets of Stinnes and Haniel revived the river and demonstrated the returning strength of the economy; new industries were set up; the use of motorised transport increased, thereby making transport cheaper and generating jobs, though also creating apparently insoluble traffic problems in the narrow inner city.

The city's future began to take shape, as factory chimneys and high- rise buildings eclipsed the churches which had previously dominated the skyline. Nevertheless, visitors returning to Cologne after a prolonged absence maintained that the city was not only smarter than before and equally as lively, but also offered a better quality of life. Its historic buildings were once again well tended; the left and right banks of the Rhine had grown into an organic whole; the exhibition grounds were a striking modernist development. Above all, as the German and foreign press reported, the green belt was an outstanding success. The photographs by August Sander provide a vivid impression of Adenauer's remarkable city, both the economic hub of western Germany and the traditional centre with museums and churches that continued to attract thousands of visitors every year.

In the middle and later twentieth century, Cologne was also a focus for contemporary culture and science. After the disaster of the Nazi years, former students and professors from the 1920s were able to recognise the

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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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