Konrad Adenauer
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F078072-0004, Konrad Adenauer.jpg

Adenauer in 1952

In office
15 September 1949 – 11 October 1963
Vice Chancellor
Preceded by Position re-established
Succeeded by Ludwig Erhard

In office
15 March 1951 – 6 June 1955
Chancellor Himself
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Heinrich von Brentano

In office
21 October 1950 – 23 March 1966[a]
Bundestag Leader
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Ludwig Erhard

In office
4 May 1945 – 6 October 1945
Preceded by Willi Suth
Succeeded by Willi Suth
In office
13 October 1917 – 13 March 1933
Preceded by Max Wallraf
Succeeded by Günter Riesen

In office
7 May 1921 – 26 April 1933
Minister President
Preceded by Position re-established
Succeeded by Robert Ley

Member of the Bundestag
for Bonn
In office
7 September 1949 – 19 April 1967
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Alo Hauser

Born 5 January 1876(1876-01-05)
Cologne, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died 19 April 1967 (aged 91)
Bad Honnef, Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany (now Germany)
Political party
  • Emma Weyer (1904–1916)
  • Auguste Zinsser (1919–1948)
Children 8
Alma mater
Signature Konrad Adenauer signature transparent

Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (German: [ˈkɔnʁaːt ˈaːdəˌnaʊ̯ɐ]  (Speaker Icon listen); 5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1949 to 1963. He 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.[1] During his years in power West Germany achieved democracy, stability, international respect and economic prosperity ("Wirtschaftswunder", German for "economic miracle").[2] He was the first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a Christian Democratic party that under his leadership became one of the most influential parties in the country.

Adenauer, who was Chancellor until age 87, was dubbed "Der Alte" ("the elder"). British historian Roy Jenkins says he was "the oldest statesman ever to function in elected office."[3] He 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.

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


  1. "Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967)". 
  2. Richard Hiscocks, The Adenauer era (1975) p. 290
  3. He remains the oldest head of government for a major country. Roy Jenkins (2011). Portraits and Miniatures. A&C Black. p. 56. 

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