WEST GERMANY: Elevating the Pilot

There sat West Germany's roly-poly Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard being whipped with birch twigs when the phone rang.

Erhard had taken himself to a Finnish sauna at a Black Forest resort last week to sweat off some of his 240 Ibs. in the steam bath and to be worked over by his masseur. The phone call was from Chancellor Adenauer in Bonn. Wrapping a towel around his midriff, the professor padded to a dressing-room telephone.

Would Dr. Erhard, asked Adenauer, accept the decision of 19 Christian Democrat leaders assembled at that moment in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!