Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer ( ; 5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman. As the first Chancellor of Germany (West Germany) from 1949 to 1963, he led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that forged close relations with old enemies France and the United States. In his years in power Germany achieved prosperity, democracy, stability and respect. He was the first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a coalition of Catholics and Protestants that under his leadership became and has since remained the most dominant in the country.
Adenauer, dubbed "Der Alte" ("the old one"), belied his age as the oldest elected leader in world history by his intense work habits and his uncanny political instinct. He displayed a strong dedication to a broad vision of democracy, capitalism, 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, and to rebuild its army and come to terms with France, which made possible the 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.
A devout Catholic, he was a leading Centre Party politician in the Weimar Republic, he served as Mayor of Cologne (1917–1933) and president of the Prussian State Council (1922–1933).
The 1968–1969 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour.
Famous quotes related to konrad adenauer:
“... So damn your food and damn your wines,
Your twisted loaves and twisting vines,
Your table dhôte, your à la carte,
. . . .
From now on you can keep the lot.
Take every single thing youve got,
Your land, your wealth, your men, your dames,
Your dream of independent power,
And dear old Konrad Adenauer,
And stick them up your Eiffel Tower.”
—Anthony Jay (b. 1930)