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

within parliament impossible.'1 He got this opposition in full measure from the SPD under the determined leadership of Kurt Schumacher. The Social Democrat leader understood the political climate in which Adenauer had to operate. In its efforts to get the country back on its feet, the federal government would be forced to make highly unpopular decisions. Any economic setback might bring about its downfall; even if recovery was sustained, conditions for large sections of the population would remain so appalling that the Opposition would be bound to prosper.

Furthermore, the Chancellor was in a difficult position as regards his relations with the Western Powers. Though they had replaced their Military Governors with High Commissioners based in a large hotel mansion atop the nearby Petersberg, none of the Western Powers -- neither the British nor the Americans, and certainly not the French -- was prepared to allow the federal government too much autonomy. The Chancellor was thus placed in an extremely awkward situation in which mistakes were virtually inevitable. If he proved too accommodating to the wishes of the Allies and thereby avoided a risky policy of confrontation, it would be easy for the Opposition to dismiss him as the puppet of the High Commissioners. There was thus a particular force behind Schumacher's criticism of Adenauer during the heat of parliamentary battle: 'The Federal Chancellor of the Allies'.

On the other hand, if Adenauer were to mount an effective and public campaign against the Western Powers, as he had often done against the British in the British Zone, then the occupiers would soon cease to support him. It was no secret that the Americans were fickle and unreliable even though they were currently providing him with strong support.

Bevin, the British Foreign Minister, was currently following the U.S. lead, but only because British interests coincided with those of the U.S. It was common knowledge that the Labour government took a sceptical view of the market economy experiment in the Federal Republic. As far as the French were concerned, it was unlikely that Paris would sit tight if the West German government took a stand against the negative aspects of French policy.

Adenauer was well aware of this dilemma. At the same time, however, he was pleased to note that Schumacher's relations with the Western Allies had deteriorated significantly. Though the Allies might be dissatisfied with the Chancellor to varying degrees, none -- not even the British -- wanted to see him replaced by Schumacher. The French regarded Schumacher as an extreme Prussian nationalist, and Adenauer himself took every opportunity to denigrate his rival during discussions with the Allies. The U.S. Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, was astounded by the assertiveness of Schumacher's criticisms during Acheson's visit to Bonn in November 1949. Sure, the Western Allies still continued to feel a strong degree of personal respect for Schumacher's personal courage and his record of per-

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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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