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

as if the fate of the government was at stake. In a cabinet meeting in Bonn, where, as often, the heads of the parliamentary parties were also present, Adenauer therefor attempted to delay the impending Bundestag debate on the Saar. He was unable to prevail over his own party and the FDP and DP ministers. Some Cabinet ministers, including Jakob Kaiser and Thomas Dehler, still hoped that the SPD could be won over to the idea of a defence contribution. Jakob Kaiser argued that it was essential to build bridges to the Opposition, whose leader Schumacher was again seriously ill.

During these passionate exchanges, Adenauer observed that U.S. public opinion was currently more important to him than German. He hoped to persuade the Americans to put pressure on the French. However, he was also aware that Washington was perfectly prepared to play down the Saar question, since the U.S. regarded the sham autonomy of the Saar as a form of consolation prize for France. Still, the State Department had begun to work for a European solution to the Saar question. It was not long before the French High Commission also made tentative inquiries regarding Bonn's willingness to accept the 'Europeanisation' of the issue. In the West German cabinet itself, there was some sympathy for the idea of making Saarbrücken a European territory and the headquarters of the High Authority of the Coal and Steel Community.

In the Bundestag debate on 7 and 8 February, which Adenauer attended with a fever and in poor health,1 he insisted that one day, sooner or later, Germany should become a full member of NATO. Abroad, there was an almost universal sense in these weeks that Germany had begun to state its demands strongly and without the former restraint. This attitude was reflected in a Bundestag resolution, which demanded 'sovereignty for the Federal Republic', though with certain limitations. Yet in the end, only 48 votes were cast for this resolution of the coalition parties. The mood in the government camp was poor and depressed.

In the French National Assembly the opponents of the EDC had been marshalling their forces and passed a resolution which tied the hands of the government: there was to be no German membership of NATO. As NATO was a purely defensive alliance, it was argued, no members who made territorial claims against other countries could be accepted. German recruits for the European army could only be accepted after the ratification of the treaties, and there should be no more than gradual progress in the build-up of military units.

On this occasion, Robert Schuman seemed resigned to the course of developments. Almost all the French parties were affected by fears of Germany, and the European impulse was scarcely perceptible. The EDC appeared primarily as an elaborate organisation to muzzle German soldiers. In many places, in fact, there was a widespread view that the EDC was a dead letter even before the treaties were signed.

-650-

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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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