Walter Hallstein was a German academic, diplomat, and politician. He was the first president of the Commission of the European Economic Community and one of the founding fathers of the European Union.
Hallstein began his academic career before World War II, becoming Germany's youngest law professor at the age of 29. During the war he served as an officer in the German army in France. Captured by American troops in 1944, he spent the rest of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp in the United States. After the war he returned to Germany and continued his academic career until, in 1950, he was recruited to a diplomatic career, becoming the leading civil servant at the German Foreign Office, where he gave his name to the Hallstein Doctrine, West Germany's policy of isolating East Germany diplomatically.
A keen advocate of a federal Europe, Hallstein played a key role in European integration and in West Germany's post-war rehabilitation, clashing with the Economics Minister, Ludwig Erhard, on the path of European integration.