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

A Pensioner in Rh"ndorf

On the surface, the last years of peace and the war years up until 1944 formed one of the quietest periods in Adenauer's busy life. In Rh"ndorf, he was largely isolated from events. As always, his day was carefully organised, because he could not have survived without a fixed schedule. Since he continued to have difficulty sleeping, he was in the habit of rising early to go into the garden, returning to take breakfast with the family before the children left for school. After their departure he would read the papers and work in the garden until lunch. In the afternoons he would rest before spending time with the children, walking in the Siebengebirge hills, and working on his inventions. In the evenings he liked to listen to music on the wireless and to read.

In effect, he was living the life of a pensioner like many thousands of others. On 20 November 1941 he described the course of a typical day in one of his regular letters to his son Paul, who had been doing Labour Service on the island of Sylt since October:

This evening the pouring rain has made the ground very wet again. I have had the apple tree on the hill cut down, it was taking away too much sun and not providing anything. Its removal has altered the whole upper part of the rock garden. It has become very beautiful, it now has a more planned look, before it looked more like a conglomeration of beds. There is much more space for plants than previously, but I have enough plants because everything has grown too thick. Yesterday the fruit trees arrived from Dahs as well. Tomorrow or on Monday the roses etc. will come from Boehm and I will have to plant them by myself, but that can be done. This week I have a great deal to do, because by Saturday I have to get my technical ideas onto paper in some detail, with diagrams, there will probably be thirty-five typewritten pages. On Saturday young Thiess is coming from Aachen to talk the matter through with me to clarify everything. Then he will take my designs to his father in Aachen for him to examine them as well. I will probably have to write until late in the evening, it is not easy. Despite the two short periods of frost we had, there are still many flowers in the garden, some roses, chrysanthemums, violets, pansies and especially the lovely Christmas roses. You are often in my mind when I am in the garden. I hope that we will soon spend a beautiful and peaceful time together again . . .

Photographs dating from this period show a tanned and resilient man who looks younger than his years. Adenauer appeared very different from the man who had been persecuted between 1933 and 1937 and especially during his stay in Maria Laach, when he had looked emaciated and drawn.

Suffering can destroy and degrade, but it can also ennoble, as a photograph taken in Neubabelsberg reveals. This shows Adenauer wearing his hat and winter coat, his expression serious and distant, with no trace of the waggishness and amusement of his successful years in the 1920s.

-269-

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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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