Konrad Adenauer was one of the founding fathers of the European integration. His hard work and determination helped Germany to become the free and democratic society it is today. He is one of the most influential and important people in European history. Europe as we know it, would not have been possible without his determination and the influence he has on other European states by means of his foreign policy.
So who is he?
Konrad Adenauer was born on January 5th 1876 in Germany. His family was Roman Catholic and they lived a simple and frugal life. He studied law and politics at three different German universities. He was recruited into the army but failed the physical exam because of his chronic respiratory problems. He then went on to work as a lawyer in Cologne. He ended up marrying Emma, the daughter of an influential cologne man who put him in contact with local politicians, enabling him to get a start in politics.
He eventually became the mayor of Cologne in 1917. Whilst he was mayor he was involved in various large projects such as building the first highway in Germany. He was responsible for many other improvements to the city including the reestablishment of the university.
He headed Cologne during World War 1, and worked closely with the army to maximise the city’s role as a rear base of supply and transportation for the Western Front.
He also became president of the Prussian state council, which made him one of the most powerful voices in Germany.
He was a catholic and his ideology put him at odds with the Nazi party. His opposition to hitler and the nazi party lef to his dismissal of mayor in 1933 when the Nazis were elected.
He had to keep a low profile during the 1930s and early 1940s trying to escape persecution from the Nazis. After the failed bomb plot of 1944, he was arrested and interned at a concentration camp near bonn. He survived the war and was temporarly placed as cologne mayor again.
He was dismissed again by the british commander for alleged incompetence.
Hhe set up a new political party, the Christian Democratic Union. He formed this as a way for Protestant and Roman Catholic Germans to unify and stand against Nazism and promote Christian values in government.
After the war, he once again became Mayor of Cologne, which had been heavily bombed. Being the leader after the second world war would have been a huge task for anyone. Germany was in a worse state than any other country given its small size and being bombarded from all surrounding countries. It was literally in ruins. There was lots of starvation, unemployment issues and all the infrastructure was ruined.
In 1949, at age 73, he was elected the first Chancellor of West Germany. His main aim was to make sure that West Germany transitioned to a soverign, democratic state.
He led Germany to become a stable democracy and earnt it a lasting reconciliation with its neighbouring countries. He was able to regain some sovereignty for west Germany.
He served until 1962...