Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was born on January 5th, 1876, in Cologne, the German Empire. He grew up in a Roman Catholic family. The family was humble and focused on duty, order, and thrift. So, he had more conservative values. After studies at the universities in Freiburg, Munich, and Bonn, he became a lawyer just like his father was.
Further, Konrad Adenauer joined the Centre party – a German catholic party formed in 1870. In the local elections of 1806, the citizens of Cologne elected him a member of the city council. Three years later, he became the vice-mayor of the city. So, his political career began.
During World War I., he became the major of the city. He held the office for the next sixteen years. He was very successful during those years. His party, Centre, even nominated him for the chancellor of the country in 1926. But, he rejected the chance due to some personal issues.
Building West Germany
However, things changed for the worse soon. In 1933, the emerging Nazi regime stripped him from the major’s office and even prisoned him for a short while. In 1944, During World War II., he was in prison once again for allegedly taking part in a bomb attack on Hitler.
After the war ended, Germany split into four occupation zones – three on the west (French, British, and American) and the east by Soviets. Adenauer took part in rebuilding the country. He joined the recently founded party – CDU (Christian Democratic Union) and later became its chairman. Besides, he was in charge of drafting the new constitution for the western part of Germany.
On September 15th, 1949, Konrad Adenauer became the first chancellor of Western Germany. His first and most important goal was to transform the country into a democratic and sovereign nation. That definitely happened in 1955, when the international community officially recognized the country.
Staying in the chancellor’s office until 1963, when he was 87 years old. That gave him the nickname der Alte – meaning the old one. He was married twice and had eight kids. Konrad Adenauer died April 19th, 1967. He was 91 years old. The EU highly value him for his belief in a unified Europe.
“History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.”Konrad Adenauer