Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman who served as the first chancellor of West Germany from 1949 to 1963. From 1946 to 1966, he was the first leader of the Christian Democratic Union, a Christian democratic party he co-founded, which under his leadership became the dominant force in the country.
A devout Roman Catholic and member of the Catholic Centre Party, Adenauer was a leading politician in the Weimar Republic, serving as Mayor of Cologne and as president of the Prussian State Council.
In the early years of the Federal Republic he switched focus from denazification to recovery, and led his country from the ruins of World War II to becoming a productive and prosperous nation that forged close relations with France, the United Kingdom and the United States. During his years in power, West Germany achieved democracy, stability, international respect and economic prosperity.
Adenauer 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.