Since its inception in 1962, the mission of the »Kommission für Zeitgeschichte bei der katholischen Akademie in Bayern« (Commission for Contemporary History at the Catholic Academy in Bavaria) includes
research into the period that followed 1945. This mission was inaugurated by the publication of four studies on the personality and politics of Konrad Adenauer, one of the central figures of the post-war
epoch. As long as relevant files remain closed to researchers, any scholarship by historians or political scientists into the »Adenauer Era« necessarily represents only a momentary stock-taking.
That understanding informs this publication, by which the Commission intends to contribute to the historiography on the most recent past. It is part of a series whose continuing installments will be
published at irregular intervals and will include editions of historically relevant source materials.
In the present first volume, the Munich political scientist Hans Maier provides the first complete appreciation of Adenauer’s personality and politics. The historian
Eberhard Pikart offers a comparative analysis of Adenauer’s and Theodor Heuss’s respective conceptions of politics, society, and democracy. These two studies build on previously unpublished
materials, as does Rudolf Morsey’s examination of Adenauer’s political ascent in the period between 1945 to 1949. The volume closes with the Hamburg political scientist Hans-Peter
Schwarz’s critical overview of Adenauer’s foreign policy, as reflected in the ex-chancellor’s four-volume memoirs. These constitute a first-rate source for understanding the foundations
of present-day foreign policy, one that has as yet been only minimally exploited.