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

tics, along with the other party leaders, the minister-presidents, and the heads of the central administration. Yet the future shape of Germany was still unknown, as was the fate of the infant political groups of 1945, under the names Christian Democratic Union, Christian Democratic Party or Christian Social Union. Would these groups, originally autonomous, be able to form a coherent and united party? Which political approaches and regional centres would make a lasting impact? In 1945, and even in 1946 and 1947, these questions had still to be answered. Until the Bundestag election of 1949, no German or foreign observer could be certain of the role the 'Union parties' would play in the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany -- the leading role, as one party in a coalition, or an opposition party making attacks on a government in which it played no part. Even in the days of the Parliamentary Council, perceptive observers of the Bonn scene regarded it as unlikely that the CDU would provide the new Chancellor and become an Adenauer party. Although he was now becoming familiar to journalists at home and abroad, in 1949 Adenauer was still relatively unknown among the general public.

In the British Zone he was definitely a man to be reckoned with since 1946, at least among CDU activists and sympathisers who admired his tough campaigning style. Naturally enough, after that date all Germany's leading politicians regarded him as an important factor in future political calculations. The majority of Germans, however, were taken by surprise by his election as Chancellor. Thereafter, there was much astonishment and wonder at the mixture of dynamism and good fortune that had marked his rise between 1945 and 1949. Over the years, there have been several interpretations of his success. Some observers maintain that Adenauer had been the driving-force in the CDU from the outset, even during the foundation of the Christian Democratic Party in Cologne. However, his less successful rivals and their journalistic contacts have painted a less flattering picture, of a coldly Machiavellian politician who waited for the right moment to remove his rivals within the party.

With the papers of almost all the participants now available, the period has been the subject of intensive research. It is now possible to provide a reliable account of Adenauer's journey to the chancellorship and to assess his significance for the success of the CDU.

Adenauer's first comments on political reconstruction after the war were made to the OSS officer Just Lunning on 28 March 1945. At that stage the fighting in the Ruhr was continuing, Hitler was directing the defence of Berlin from the Reich Chancellery, and fanatics had been mounting stiff resistance for months in the face of inevitable defeat. When asked about his ideas for political life in post-war Germany, Adenauer was therefore extremely cautious, arguing that there could be no political life in Germany for a long time. He also recommended that the military government should suppress all political activity for the time

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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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