|Konrad Adenauer, the first postwar West German chancellor (1949-1963), began his political career as Lord Mayor of Cologne in 1917. During the dark years of World War II, Adenauer was a staunch opponent of Hitler, fleeing Germany for Switzerland. After the war, Adenauer founded the Christian Democratic Union and in 1948 was elected president of the Constituent Assembly. He was also instrumental in writing the new German constitution. In his later years, Adenauer was viewed as something of a European elder statesman, enjoying the sobriquet of "Der Alte" (the old one).
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