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

From the outset Adenauer had been unhappy with the manner in which the Opposition had attempted to make the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag, under the chairmanship of Carlo Schmid, into a foreign-policy alternative government. He was also aware that certain influential members of the CDU / CSU, led by von Brentano but also including Eugen Gerstenmaier and Kurt Georg Kiesinger, were dissatisfied with the failure to involve them in most decisions. Even fifteen years later in his memoirs, Adenauer did not hide his opinion of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the sub-committee established to deal with the Western treaties: 'The Bundestag was a very young parliament, and many of its members tried to get involved everywhere in the executive, where they had no business. In our view the federal government had to take great care that the executive and legislative branches remained separate. That was particularly true of all matters affecting relations with the High Commission and the Allied powers.'1

In view of the struggle waged against the treaties by the SPD, this can be seen as simple good sense; subsequent West German governments were to behave in the same way when engaged in highly controversial treaty negotiations. However, this determination to avoid giving the Opposition any ammunition to use against the treaties before it was necessary also meant that influential frontbenchers in the coalition parties were kept in the dark. Not even the cabinet was fully informed about the progress of negotiations.

This was certainly deliberate, even though Adenauer knew that he would face difficulties as soon as he revealed the explosive contents of the treaty. However, he believed that his policy would be destroyed if he kept his own side fully informed. Too many of his coalition had reservations about either all or part of it, and might easily wreck everything if they were given the opportunity. Adenauer was aware of the profound objections of the 'all-German' wing of his party; he also knew that deputies with an interest in the budget were anxious that he might accept heavy financial burdens in the interests of his foreign-policy objectives. Fritz Schäffer, though a firm advocate of ties with the West, did not trust the Allies or Adenauer where the budget was concerned, and was determined to limit the damage as much as possible.

Adenauer was particularly alarmed by the internal tensions and divisions within the FDP. Some of its Land associations had plans to transform the FDP into the great party of the right in time for the federal election of 1953; by contrast, the south-west German liberals, under the influence of Reinhold Maier in Stuttgart, were engaged in forming a coalition with the SPD. Though the right wing of the FDP was a vital pillar of the federal government, there was inevitably opposition to Adenauer's approach on the issues of reunification, the Saar, and various points in the treaties. Equally, the DP -- which would be competing with

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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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