Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Konrad Adenauer

Konrad Adenauer (January 5, 1876 - April 19, 1967) was a German statesman.

Adenauer was Mayor of Cologne from 1917 to 1933. In 1933 he was imprisoned for his opposition to the Nazis.

He was first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949-1963, a period which spans most of the preliminary phase of the Cold War. In this period, West Germany was politically separated from East Germany. Adenauer was a co-founder of the CDU party.

He lead the rebuilding of West Germany and helped turn the nation into an economic powerhouse. He is also notable for directing Germany's reconciliation with France and other allied powers. Under Adenauer West Germany was allowed to rearm and to join NATO. Adenauer also opened diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and the rest of the Eastern bloc. In 1955 he managed to secure the release of the last German prisoners of war.

In 1962 a scandal erupted when police under cabinet orders arrested five Der Spiegel journalists. Adenauer was forced to resign and was succeeded as Chancellor by Ludwig Erhard.

Adenauer received marriage proposals up into his eighties. He used to tell his secretary, "Put them in the non-aggression pact file."

In November 2003, he was voted in a German television poll as the greatest German of all time.

Preceded by:
Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk
Chancellors of Germany Succeeded by:
Ludwig Erhard