• A Quora - Adenauer & Germany's rise from ashes

    From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Mon Oct 11 10:06:11 2021
    XPost: alt.economics, alt.war.world-war-two

    Alex Piascik
    Studied at State University of New York at FredoniaUpdated Fri
    Who are some of the most unknown, yet interesting leaders in history?
    Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of West Germany:

    The former mayor of Cologne, he was fired from his job shortly after the
    Nazis came to power in 1933. He was imprisoned twice during the Nazi
    regime, briefly during the Night of Long Knives in 1934, and again after Operation Valkyrie, the most famous assassination attempt on Hitler, in
    1944. In-between he tried his best to live under the radar in retirement.

    His lack of direct connections to the Nazis made him a favored
    leadership candidate after the war. He founded the conservative CDU
    party (Christian Democratic Union), which went on to dominate post-war
    German politics. In West Germany’s first postwar election, in 1949, his
    party won the most votes at 31%, just edging out the resurrected Social Democratic Party (SPD). As the leader of the CDU, Adenauer became
    chancellor at age 73.

    It was assumed at the time that Adenauer would act as a “caretaker” chancellor until the next generation of leaders became ready. However,
    Adenauer would remain at the helm for 14 years, and his policies
    determined post-war West Germany’s direction & role in the world.
    Adenauer pushed the country towards rearmament and integration with NATO
    rather than neutrality as happened with Austria. He did this despite the
    offer made by Stalin in 1952 of reunification with East Germany in
    exchange for German neutrality.

    Controversially, he denounced the denazification process & sought
    amnesty for lower-ranking Nazi bureaucrats, understanding that, if taken
    too far, denazification would rob West Germany of capable people to run
    the government. However, his government was also one of the first to
    recognize the state of Israel, passed laws allowing former victims of
    Nazi persecution to file claims for restitution, and in 1951 he became
    one of the signatories of the Treaty of Paris, which established the
    European Coal & Steel Community, the precursor of the European Union.

    Adenauer & his Economics minister, Ludwig Erhard, revived the West
    German economy. They pursued an ordoliberal growth model, which combines classical liberal policies including tax cuts, deregulation & sound
    monetary policy with a large welfare state offering benefits such as
    universal healthcare to encourage higher levels of productivity from
    West German workers. These policies and others created the social market economy that Germany has today, leading to high levels of economic
    growth for the next 30 years, a phenomenon referred to as the
    Wirtschaftswunder (tr. “economic miracle”).

    Adenauer finally stepped down as chancellor in 1963 at the age of 87,
    but didn’t retire until 3 years later. He turned out to be exactly the “anti-Hitler” that his country, and the world, needed. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his leadership enabled Germany to rise
    phoenix-like from the ashes of destruction.

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