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A cynical German

A new biography of Konrad Adenauer - an unpleasant man, but a statesman who learnt the lessons of history

This vivid portrait of Konrad Adenauer, published in the year Germany’s capital returned to Berlin, is a timely assessment of the first post-war chancellor (1949-1963) and the man who created the Bonn Republic.

Adenauer was born in 1876, only five years after Bismarck’s creation of the Wilhelmine Empire and he died in 1967, living long into the age of Germany’s post-war division. Throughout that time he scarcely travelled outside its frontiers. His experience of foreigners was largely confined to dealing with the British forces which after the first world war occupied Cologne, of which he was mayor. The only significant…

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