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

Then they would have had to look for someone else, perhaps someone better, perhaps someone worse; there were candidates.'1 Only weeks after his dismissal he wrote philosophically to Heinrich Weitz: 'Whether it was a good thing that happened to me or a bad one, who can say?'2

The event itself was often described by Adenauer. Though Brigadier Barraclough has denied that there was ungentlemanly conduct on his part, in 1980 Adenauer's story was confirmed in all of its details by Colin Lawson, then deputy city-commandant and later a foreign correspondent.3

Trouble was clearly brewing between Adenauer and the representative of the Military Government for the city of Cologne, Major J. Alan Prior, when the British appointed a city council to reflect a wide range of views within the city. When this assembly convened on 1 October, Prior did not mince his words:

Every day I hear the following complaints about the city administration:
a. it is a purely party organisation and not the representation and the expression of actual public opinion ...;
b. former National Socialists are being appointed again, while members of anti-fascist parties are still without responsible posts ....

For the coming winter, the following emergency measures must be planned and implemented without delay: the building of homes and emergency repairs of houses; mass feeding and provision of fuel; health care.4

Prior's coldness was probably influenced by his knowledge that there was much dissatisfaction with the mayor in high places. In any event, he offered no word of recognition for the mayor's efforts over the past six months.

Adenauer did not comment on this fact in his reply. Nor, at the same time, did he give any sign of a sense of obligation towards the occupying power. Certainly he condemned the 'execrable people' who had brought about the misery. As so often in the spring of 1945, he alluded to Hitler's orders for the destruction of Germany; these orders had been particularly wicked, he argued, because they sought to increase the misery of the German people, thereby encouraging new thoughts of revenge and retaliation against the enemy. However, his remarks contained no trace of a sense of collective guilt or collective shame. Adenauer told his audience that 'We, you and I, are not to blame for this misery.'

Adenauer's description of the situation in Cologne also contained a hidden anti-British message:

Standing on the right bank of the Rhine, in the midst of the ruins, among hundreds of people who are returning daily and who are pale, tired, careworn, hauling with them the few belongings they still possess, seeing the ghostly ruins of our once-beautiful bridges in the river, and there, on the left bank of the Rhine, an endless sea of shattered houses in which happy people once lived, of buildings and churches that stood for almost a thousand years, and seeing the cathedral above in lonely splendour, our cathedral, also desecrated and partly destroyed -- then whose heart does not almost stop beating?

-321-

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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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