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

small proportion of German voters. According to the latest opinion polls, his approval rating had fallen to 20 per cent.3

A similarly depressing picture was provided by the regional elections in West Germany. Adenauer was fortunate that the Landtag election in North Rhine-Westphalia took place a week before the outbreak of the Korean War. The CDU and SPD share of the vote there did not change, but the FDP vote increased from 6 per cent to 12 per cent while the Communist Party share fell from 14.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent. Between June and August 1950, despite many other claims on his attention, Adenauer was preoccupied with the attempt to force minister-president Karl Arnold out of office in Düsseldorf. To his chagrin he did not succeed, although the creation of a CDU-Centre coalition ensured that the federal government could still count on the votes of North Rhine-Westphalia in the second chamber. Adenauer would have preferred a CDU-FDP government to strengthen the national coalition. Thereafter, however, the government sustained a number of serious setbacks in the regional elections.

Shortly after the damaging departure of Heinemann from the cabinet in October 1950, regional elections were held in Hesse and Württemberg- Baden, followed by others in Bavaria a week later. Everywhere the Union did badly. In Hesse the CDU share fell below 20 per cent -- a loss of 12 per cent of the vote compared with its showing in the Landtag election of 1946. Adenauer regarded this setback as bearable; he had never liked the relatively left-wing CDU regional association there and the SPD was already the sole governing party. He hastened to inform von Brentano of the Hesse CDU that the appalling result was due to internal feuds within the party 'more than anything else'. 4 This was the old Adenauer, responding to problems by launching an immediate attack on someone else.

The result in Württemberg-Baden was much worse. In North Baden and North Württemberg, where Protestant voters were in the majority, the CDU did particularly badly and its share of the vote fell from 38.4 per cent to 26.3 per cent. The Bavarian election was the final straw: the vote share of the CDU's sister-party, the CSU, collapsed from 52.3 per cent to 27.4 per cent. Not surprisingly, Kurt Schumacher began to call for fresh national elections to the Bundestag even though such a move would not have been in accordance with the Basic Law (which laid down fixed-term legislative periods).

If the regional elections were a true barometer of the national mood, then most of the damage had been sustained not by the government as a whole, but mainly by the CDU -- and, above all, by Adenauer. On the other hand, the FDP, with its blend of national-liberal and national-conservative policies, had made significant advances: it doubled its vote in North Rhine- Westphalia and even made gains in Bavaria. The FDP's share of the vote also increased in Wüttemberg-Baden, though this was already its main stronghold where it had the support of some 20 per cent of the voters.

-555-

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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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