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

At that time Adenauer believed that an attack from the East would almost certainly be launched in the short or medium term, and therefore pressed with great vigour for the creation of a German force as soon as possible. His approach to the explosive issue of a military contribution was thus relatively straightforward. Fearing an attack by the enemy, he believed that it was essential to re-arm as quickly as possible in the hope that this would deter the attacker. If deterrence failed, then at least the defenders would be prepared for the struggle ahead.

During the domestic political conflict over the defence contribution, Adenauer's pacifist critics on the Protestant and Catholic left saw the problem largely in moral terms: should a people such as the Germans, with the Second World War on their conscience, ever bear to arms again? Adenauer appears to have been either unable or unwilling to understand such thinking, let alone allow himself to be influenced by it. In his view, armed self-defence was one of the natural rights of every people. A military contribution would only become a moral issue if the West or the Federal Republic were to plan an unprovoked war of aggression. This was never a possibility for Adenauer, for whom an armed force had an exclusively defensive function.

The issues which concerned him were predominantly political. What kind of effective defence contribution could best be realised at international level? How could the German people, many of whom had adopted profoundly anti-militarist attitudes, be convinced of the need for a German military contribution? Was it necessary to seek an agreement with the SPD for this change, and at what price? Could he risk the hostility of the Social Democrats instead of seeking agreement? How could he ensure that the officer corps remained under strict political control?

In Adenauer's view, German soldiers or armed police units could not solve the security problem on their own. Of equal, if not more, importance was an immediate reinforcement of the inadequate Allied forces in Germany, plus a formal Western security guarantee. In all his references to the security problem in the two years between the start of the Berlin blockade and the outbreak of the Korean War, whether in confidential discussions or in risky press interviews, this was always his main emphasis.

In this context Adenauer was aware of two dangers, which were connected but could be countered in different ways. The most disturbing in the short term appeared to be the rapid expansion of the garrisoned Volkspolizei ('people's police') in the Eastern Zone. In the longer term, however, he was convinced that the West must correct the imbalance of forces in central Europe between the powerful Red Army and the relatively weak and unco-ordinated armies of the Western Powers.

The Volkspolizei of the German Democratic Republic comprised some 70,000 men in summer 1950, though it was expected to develop into a force of 150,000 men in the near future. For the time being, it was

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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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