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Founding fathers of the EU: Konrad Adenauer

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The first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, who stood at the head of the newly-formed state from 1949-63, changed the face of post-war German and European history more than any other individual.
Like many politicians of his generation, Adenauer had already realised following the First World War that lasting peace could only be achieved through a united Europe. His experiences during the Third Reich (he was removed from office as the Mayor of Cologne by the Nazis) served to confirm this opinion.
In the six years from 1949-55 Adenauer realised far-reaching foreign policy goals to bind Germany’s future with the western alliance: membership of the Council of Europe (1951), foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community (1952), and Germany’s entry into NATO (1955).
A cornerstone of Adenauer’s foreign policy was reconciliation with France. Together with French President Charles de Gaulle a historic turning point was achieved: in 1963 the one-time arch-enemies Germany and France signed a treaty of friendship, which became one of the milestones on the road to European integration.

Type: HISTORY   Reference: I-072668   Date: 09/05/2012   Duration: 00:58
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