1945 - 1952: Beginnings of a literary career

The Bölls return to Cologne and, for a short period, live in a half-destroyed house.  Heinrich enrols again at Cologne University in order to obtain a ration card; he works as an assistant in the carpentry workshop now run by his brother, Alois. Annemarie has a teaching job at a secondary school and is thus able to provide for the family. The same year, Böll takes up writing regularly. Initial works are novels such as the unpublished "Kreuz ohne Liebe" (Cross Without Love) and "Der Engel schwieg" (The Silent Angel), published posthumously in 1992, as well as numerous short stories, fragmentary plays, essays and poems. Many of these works draw upon his experience of the Nazi era, the war, and the post-war period.

In March, Böll submits his first short stories to magazines and newspapers. On 3 May one of them, "Vor der Eskaladierwand" (Before the Escalading Wall), is published, much abridged, in the Rheinischer Merkur newspaper under the title "Aus der Vorzeit" (From Pre-Historic Times). Böll's son Raimund born.

Böll's son René born.

Böll's first publishing contract; publication of "Der Zug war pünktlich" (The Train was on Time). The family is in financial straits as fees from publications are insufficient. Böll seeks a staff position in radio or publishing and thinks of giving up writing.

Son Vincent born. For the 1950 census, Böll takes a temporary job with the Cologne city government.  A volume of short stories is published "Wanderer, kommst Du nach Spa..." (Stranger, Bear Word to the Spartans We...).

Böll is invited to a meeting of West Germany's most important literary forum, Gruppe 47, and is awarded their prize for the short story "Black Sheep".  Publication of the novel "Adam, Where Art Thou?".

Heinrich Böll's work focuses increasingly on the current problems of the Federal Republic. He writes essays about the political situation, suggesting that moral standards are increasingly being sacrificed to economic, social and political concerns.