At the end of Theodor Heuss’s second term as German federal president in 1959, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s withdrawal of his own candidate for the office instigated a »crisis of the
presidency.« Contemporary observers considered this crisis a severe blow to the chancellor’s authority. It was widely seen as a turning point and the beginning of the end of the
»Adenauer Era«. On the basis of extensive interviews with Adenauer’s associates, politicians, and civil servants, Wolfgang Wagner’s study, written in 1959/60, comprehensively
reconstructs events and the protagonists’ motivations. A newly added notes section updates the work to the status of current scholarship.
Wagner demonstrates how a very well-informed journalist can craft a historically accurate reconstruction of proceedings, without allowing the premature assessments of daily
politics to influence his own interpretation. Not the least enticing aspect of this well-written study is the possibility of comparing it with memoirs and documents released since its publication,
especially Adenauer’s memoirs. In a new chapter »Looking back on the Crisis,« Wagner analyzes and evaluates the controversial proceedings, hotly debated at the time, from the perspective of
today's historical awareness.