Konrad Adenauer

Article

August 19, 2022

Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (born January 5, 1876 in Cologne, † April 19, 1967 in Rhöndorf; actually Conrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer) was the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963 and also the first Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1951 to 1955. The lawyer and member of the Catholic Center Party already had a political career during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic: He was mayor of Cologne, a member of the Prussian House of Lords and President of the Prussian State Council. During the National Socialist era, he was relieved of his posts and imprisoned for a time. Adenauer was one of the founders of the CDU, whose party chairman he was from 1950 to 1966. As President of the Parliamentary Council and as the first Federal Chancellor and Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, he shaped an entire era. The 73-year-old when he took office campaigned for Bonn as the federal capital, stood for a policy of western ties and European unification and an active role for the Federal Republic in NATO. In terms of economic policy, Adenauer stood for the system of the social market economy. He pursued an anti-communist course at home and towards the Soviet Union and its satellite states.

Life and work

Origin and Childhood

Konrad Adenauer was the third of five children of Johann Konrad Adenauer (1833-1906), the judicial secretary at the Court of Appeal (now the Higher Regional Court of Cologne) and later the clerk's office, and his wife Helene, nee Scharfenberg (1849-1919). His family was Roman Catholic. His siblings were August (1872–1952), Johannes (1873–1937), Lilli (1879–1950) and Elisabeth (1882, died three and a half months after birth).

Empire, Weimar Republic and time of National Socialism

Studies and career start

On March 5, 1894, Adenauer passed his Abitur at the Apostelgymnasium in Cologne. After only 14 days of an apprenticeship at the Seligmann Bank in Cologne in April 1894, he enrolled in the same month at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, then in Munich and Bonn for the subjects of law and political science, which he completed in 1897 with the state examination. In Freiburg he joined the Catholic student association K.St.V. Brisgovia Freiburg in the Cartel Association of Catholic German Student Associations (KV), then in the K.St.V. Saxonia in the KV to Munich, the K.St.V. Askania-Burgundia Berlin and in the KStV Arminia in the KV in Bonn, to which he remained closely connected throughout his life. He passed his first state examination in law in 1897 with the grade "good", his second in 1901 with "sufficient". Then in 1902 he became an assessor at the District Court of Cologne. From 1903 to 1905 he was a representative of Judicial Councilor Hermann Kausen, a lawyer at the Cologne Higher Regional Court. In 1906 Adenauer joined the Catholic Center Party, was a member of its Reich Executive Committee until 1933 and was elected Deputy of the City of Cologne on March 7, 1906. On July 22, 1909, he became First Deputy First Deputy Mayor Max Wallraf, who was the uncle of his first wife. It was thanks to Adenauer's open-mindedness and initiative that the Cologne Werkbund exhibition opened in Cologne-Deutz in 1914. During the First World War, Adenauer was responsible for supplying the city's population with food, which was becoming increasingly difficult due to the British naval blockade. He began to hoard food and successfully introduced various substitute products, such as a "Cologne bread" made from rice and corn flour that he invented himself, Jerusalem artichoke instead of the potatoes that were in short supply after a potato blight crop failure in 1916, and last but not least pearl barley. On May 2, 1915, he received a patent for this “Rhenish black bread”. He also invented the so-called Kölner Wurst u