“We choose freedom!”

John Otto Magee – It’s been said many times that Konrad Adenauer – West Germany’s great chancellor from 1949 until 1963 – was a master of communicating the complex simply.

I understood this about Adenauer many years later, during research on my Master‘s thesis about the disagreements between the Kennedy and Adenauer administrations during the Second Berlin Crisis, 1961-63. Through my studies I had become quite familiar with Chancellor Adenauer.

His extraordinary ability to communicate with the “average Joe” was particularly effective in the early post-War years in West Germany. During one of the great national debates in the Bundestag about West German foreign policy Adenauer contrasts starkly his policy to that of the opposition Social Democrats by shouting: Wir wählen die Freiheit! Between slavery and freedom, we choose freedom!

If you understand German, and if you are even only somewhat familiar with the history of modern Germany, and the history of West Germany after the Second World War, then you should listen carefully to this extraordinary interview with Konrad Adenauer from the year 1965 with the highly-respected political journalist, Günter Gaus: