Portrait: Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of West Germany

Wednesday, 27 March 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Portrait

Dr. Konrad Adenauer, 1952 © Bundesarchiv - Katherine Young/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

Dr. Konrad Adenauer, 1952 © Bundesarchiv – Katherine Young/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1949 to 1963. He was co-founder and first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) (till 1966), a Christian Democratic party that under his leadership became one of the most influential parties in the country.

In the early years of the Federal Republic he switched focus from denazification to recovery and led his country from the ruins of World War II to a productive and prosperous nation that forged close relations with France, the United Kingdom and the United States. During his years in power, West Germany achieved democracy, stability, international respect and economic prosperity (“Wirtschaftswunder“, German for “economic miracle”).

Konrad Adenauer's Mercedes at House of History in Bonn © Holger.Ellgaard/cc-by-sa-3.0 Konrad Adenauer's home in Rhöndorf near Bonn © Wolkenkratzer/cc-by-sa-4.0 U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer © Bundesarchiv - Simon Müller/cc-by-sa-3.0-de French President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer © Bundesarchiv - Ludwig Wegmann/cc-by-sa-3.0-de Dr. Konrad Adenauer, 1952 © Bundesarchiv - Katherine Young/cc-by-sa-3.0-de Konrad Adenauer House - CDU headquarters in Berlin Tiergarten © Lienhard Schulz/cc-by-sa-3.0 Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Minister for Economic Affairs Ludwig Erhart © Bundesarchiv/cc-by-sa-3.0-de
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French President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer © Bundesarchiv - Ludwig Wegmann/cc-by-sa-3.0-de
Adenauer belied his age by his intense work habits and his uncanny political instinct. He displayed a strong dedication to a broad vision of market-based liberal democracy and anti-communism. A shrewd politician, Adenauer was deeply committed to a Western-oriented foreign policy and restoring the position of West Germany on the world stage. He worked to restore the West German economy from the destruction of World War II to a central position in Europe, presiding over the German Economic Miracle. He was a driving force behind West Germany becoming the first German state to re-establish a national military (the Bundeswehr) in 1955. He came to terms with France, which made possible the economic unification of Western Europe. Adenauer opposed rival East Germany and made his nation a member of NATO and a firm ally of the United States.

Adenauer, who was Chancellor until age 87, was dubbed “Der Alte” (“the elder”). British politician and historian Roy Jenkins says he was “the oldest statesman ever to function in elected office.”

A devout Roman Catholic and member of the catholic Centre Party, he was a leading politician in the Weimar Republic, serving as Mayor of Cologne (1917–1933) and as president of the Prussian State Council (1922–1933).

Read more on Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Wikipedia Konrad Adenauer (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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