The Westbindung by Konrad Adenauer

In 1949, Germany was rid of the international occupying power and had to stand on its own democratic two feet again. This was not an easy process and Adenauer carried it out very controlled. He did this through a policy we call Westbindung or Western integration. By joining the EGSK, EEC and NATO, Germany became a full-fledged player on the stage of world politics.


  • Old Konrad Adenauer
  • Westbindung and European cooperation
  • EGSK, NATO and other important treaties


Old Konrad Adenauer

After the Second World War, Germany was in ruins and there was no longer a sovereign state. The country was kept under the control of an occupying Allied force. Little by little, it was Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who tried to integrate the Federal Republic into the Western democratic world and the associated market economy. The Realpolitiker Adenauer had become Chancellor in 1949 and would remain so until 1963. The way in which he did this was given the name Westbindung or Western Integration. His goal was to obtain sovereign status and lay a foundation for a democratic and prosperous Germany.

Westbindung and European cooperation

Konrad Adenauer had resigned himself to the division of Germany and was one of the first to do so. His plan for the future of Germany was Westbindung. In his view, only a European and Western orientation, in which Germany would integrate into many European institutions, could save Germany from the next devastating war. The condition was that the other Western countries would accept Germany as a sovereign state and as a serious partner. Only if these were met could Germany truly democratize and have a good future.

Adenauer was supported by the United States of America in his plans for Western integration of the FRG. It was also important to them to get Germany into the camp against the communist threat. England and France were a little more cautious with their support, but also gave in quite quickly. If Germany were a full-fledged democracy, the Democratic Peace Theory would probably also apply to this country. Never before had two full-fledged democracies gone to war, and so the chance of a new war with Germany became considerably smaller. The threat of the Cold War made them throw away their last bit of doubt.

EGSK, NATO and other important treaties

When the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded in 1951, West Germany joined, thus confirming its will to participate in Europe. A year earlier, a plan had already been put forward for the establishment of the European Defense Community (EDG). France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and also West Germany would cooperate militarily. In this way, Germany was prevented from building a large and powerful army again. But at the very last moment France decided to abandon this. Adenauer definitely considered this a loss for the FRG. But this was forgotten again in 1955 when Germany gained NATO membership. Germany largely regained its lost sovereignty, as well as the right to have its own army. The Bundeswehr nevertheless remained under NATO supervision, but it was certainly a victory.

In 1957, Germany moved up another step when it signed the Treaties of Rome together with France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and started working together in the European Economic Community (EEC).

In 1963 the Elysée Treaty was also concluded by Adenauer and De Gaulle. With this friendship treaty it was agreed that France and Germany, the eternal enemies, would coordinate their foreign policies more closely and would foster diplomatic relations.

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