Adenauer in Moscow, September 1955


Prussian Feldmarschall
Jun 10, 2003
Schleswig- Holstein. Germany
Dr. Konrad Adenauer was the first West German chancellor. West Germany claimed in this early days to be the only serious heir of the German Reich, which still exists. The "regime of Pankow", as the leadership of the so called German Democratic Republic was called in that days (Pankow was the quater of Berlin in which the GDR government was), was never really recognized until the end of the Cold War, although much changed later. But that´s another topic.
However Germany was parted, and still thousands of Germans were still cought in captivity. Another point was the exchange of diplomats. There was in other words much to discuss with the Soviets, which were the victors in ww2 but also the new enemy of the Cold War. Nevertheless with the death of Stalin much changed in the Soviet government.
To the first point of the list, the reunification many hopes died as a few month before Adenauer went to Moscow, the Soviet government was publishing the two states theory. However there were no discussions with the Soviets yet and perhaps the last word was not spoken. However options and positions had to be secured, if a breakthrough was not possible
Another point were the PoW. Nevertheless the Soviets denied to have any PoW but 9626 war criminals. I don´t have to say that most of these "criminals" had no fair trial nor that they even commited any crimes. So here problems existed.
The third is the most interesting: the exchange of ambassadors. The Soviets wanted to get the acceptence of the status quo. Therefore they needed negotiations and ambassadors. Also economical and scientific reasons could have played a role, although this was never said. But there was more, remarkeable more: The superpower was nearly insatiate of gestures of recognisation from the Federal Republic. This repeated in 1970. Infact the Kreml was not so aware about the reality of a splittered West Germany which had to be rebuilt but of a Germany which had still potential, potential as central European power. They overestimated the young federal republic by far but they indeed saw the Bundeswehr as the main enemy in Central Europe. But this was a bit later. The reason therefore is not known but perhaps the huge efforts needed to win ww2 was one of them. Nevertheless the respect was much bigger than anyone could expect.
This was the situation before on the 8th of September a special train left West Germany en route to Moscow, a six day odyssee into the Unkown (Hans Peter Schwarz). 2 Super Constellation of the Lufthansa followed the train which also was the base and hotel for the German delegation as there was no German ambassy in Moscow anymore.
The Delegation was wellcomed with all honours. But the discussions were at the beginning only monologues, in which Adenauer and Chrushtshov were fighting loud and hard, especially about ww2 and the consequences, about the cruelity of Germans and Russians. Too new the contacts were, too fresh the blood of the victims. There was no healing time nor any negotiations before, so the discussions were hard and very serious. And although the typical Russian evenings in that time in diplomatic circles with Alcohol, Bolshoi, Sergeji Prokovjew´s Romeo and Juliett was played, and secret discussions, the whole conference was in a crise. The Kreml didn´t move a jota in the discussion of a German reunification. Adenauer only managed that the Soviets took (and receipted) the German memorandum with the German positions. This was repeated later in 1970.
The West German chancellor didn´t want to make clear gestures to open ambassies as it was dangerous. As demanding the only one to talk to in things regarding to Germany as whole the West German govenrment did not open ambassies in countries which recognized the "GDR", but they closed them (Yougoslavia) as well as made boykotts of West German goods and other things which were allowed (Hallstein Doktrin). To open an embassy in Moscow could have been the end of that hard policy. Everyone was aware of that and many politicians said, it would better to return home. The West German delegation was nearly decided to declare the conference was failed.
But Adenauer did not yet discussed a third point, the PoW. He was willing to accept a loss in this question if he was successful in the third. But also here nothing moved for days. Finally he ordered the planes to come to Moscow. This signal borught a movement in the Soviet positions. On a banquett the Kreml leaders gave him their word that soon the PoW and other captured Germans would return home. Against the advise of his delegation Adenauer accepted.
In the Foreign office German diplomats tried everything to avoid the horror. They wanted to isolate the "GDR". This was in danger. But with the only exception made, they argued becuse of the situation and special relations to the Soviets, as Grewe, the head behind the so called Hallstein- Doktrin said. A Doktrin which was doomed a decade later and finally ended with Brandt. More ironical is that the scenaries of that time and the strong policy lead to the end of the "GDR" 34 years later...
However 9626 PoW returned home. Not 10.000 of 100.000 still missing. Much more than one million Germans, soldiers and civilians, one of them my Great grandfather, were vanished. However this was one of Adenauer´s finest victories as chancellor. He kept the life of so many higher than his own policy.


Source: Prof. Dr. Andreas Röder: Bundeskanzler Adenauer in Moskau, in Damals 9/2005


Gleeful Holoco$t Denier
Jul 17, 2002
Adler17 said:
However this was one of Adenauer´s finest victories as chancellor. He kept the life of so many higher than his own policy.

Something the current US president could learn from...oh wait, he can't read. :rolleyes:


Jan 13, 2003
I've always read that the prisoners from Stalingrad weren't released until 1955 but I never knew how it came about. I wouldn't be surprised if the remaining 90,000 MIAs were all dead by then due to typhoid and over work by their captors.


Mar 25, 2002
Not sure if "victory" is the right word...


May 28, 2004
"Achievement". Also, there are numerous spelling mistakes which I couldn't be bothered to pick at. At least you're not at Xen's standard though. :p

Quite a good article.
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