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

that I told them I would not keep anything in future, which would save me from these investigations and them from extra work, which they thought reasonable. In truth we ought not to keep everything, it is never read afterwards anyway. Apart from that, all the Wassermann books and also the Undset were taken; we will not get them back.1

The search of his house was only the beginning. By this stage the German lines in Normandy had been broken, and British and U.S. armoured divisions were moving towards Paris. For an entire week the German western front virtually ceased to exist. In the east, the Army Group Centre was facing its catastrophic fate; Soviet troops were advancing on Warsaw. Within Germany, Operation 'Gitter' was launched on 23 August 1944. On the basis of ancient lists, including the names of many individuals who had since died or even become prominent party members, the decision was made to arrest large numbers of former members of the Centre Party, the SPD and other democratic parties, and the churches. Adenauer was taken to SD headquarters in Bonn, where he was held with two hundred other detainees, before being moved along the Rhine to an internment camp on the exhibition grounds in Cologne. Here he joined an army of political prisoners, convicts and Russian prisoners of war. On 23 August, the Swiss consul-general reported to Berne that 'a marked mood of terror' was perceptible in the Rhineland.2

Even in his misfortune, Adenauer had a stroke of luck. His camp senior was the Communist Eugen Zander, a long-term detainee who had spent nine years in Siegburg prison but had earlier been a municipal worker in Cologne. He even knew Adenauer personally, since he had worked in the garden at Max-Bruch-Straée from time to time. Zander now tried to protect his former boss who, though stoical, was now sixtyeight, tormented by insomnia, and unwell; he spent his days sitting quietly or pacing inside the barbed wire fence. At first, Adenauer was moved to the clothing section, which -- like the camp as a whole -- was infested with lice. When Zander discovered that Adenauer's card in the index of prisoners had been marked 'return not wanted', he knew that his former boss would be taken to a concentration camp. He therefore advised Adenauer to pretend to be ill. Two doctors certified that he had a 'pernicious anaemia' and he was transferred to the Hohenlind hospital in Cologne, where his family had found sanctuary in 1933. In theory Adenauer's imprisonment was now at an end, since he had been released on the advice of the camp doctor as 'unfit for camp and imprisonment'. However, Adenauer was not confident that his reprieve would last: 'intentions on the subject could change, after all.'3

In summer and autumn 1944 it seemed that the war would end that year. On 23 July 1944, Adenauer had already written, in one of the letters seized by the Gestapo, that he hoped the war would end that year -- though, with sensible caution, he had added 'thanks to our new weapons'.4

-281-

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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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