(11) Historical Concepts of EU

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Interview with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer

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Konrad Adenauer

 

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Konrad Adenauer

Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) was the first Chancellor (19491963) of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany). He believed strongly in European co-operation and integration, based in particular upon reconciliation between France and Germany.

In 1945 he emerged from retirement, eventually to become the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He led the German delegation to the Congress of Europe at The Hague in 1948.

As Chancellor, he also directed the FRG’s foreign affairs. His foreign policy, known as a ‘policy of strength’, had two main objectives: the rehabilitation and the reunification of Germany. For Adenauer, the FRG had to work hard to be accepted by its Western neighbors as an equal, responsible, and trustworthy partner in both Western co-operative endeavors and security measures in an alliance against the USSR.

The recovery of the FRG and the policy of strength were aimed in the long term at German reunification. Adenauer believed that West German participation in European integration was an essential element of rehabilitation that would remove fears of a renewed German militarism.

He supported all European co-operative developments from the Congress of Europe through to the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC). After 1958, he formed a close relationship with President Charles de Gaulle of France, with whom he was an architect of the 1963 Treaty of Friendship (Elysée Treaty) between the two countries. This treaty established much closer cultural, economic and political ties between both states and became the basis of the Franco-German axis that later came to dominate many of the developments and activities of the European Communities.

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