Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (German pronunciation: [ˈkɔnʁaːt ˈhɛʁman ˈjoːzɛf ˈaːdənaʊɐ]; 5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman who served as the first post-war Chancellor of Germany (West Germany) from 1949 to 1963. He led his country from the ruins of World War II to 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 ("Wirtschaftswunder", German for "economic miracle"). He was the first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a Christian Democratic party that under his leadership became, and has since usually been, the most influential party in the country. Adenauer, dubbed "Der Alte" ("the old man"), the oldest leader in a democracy in history was still Chancellor at age 87. He 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. A shrewd politician, Adenauer was deeply committed to a Western-oriented foreign policy and restoring the position of West Germany on the world stage. He worked to restore the West German economy from the destruction of World War II to a central position in Europe, presiding over the German Economic Miracle. He founded the Bundeswehr in 1955 and came to terms with France, which made possible the economic unification of Western Europe. Adenauer opposed rival East Germany and made his nation a member of NATO and a firm ally of the United States. A devout Roman Catholic, he was a leading Centre Party politician in the Weimar Republic, serving as Mayor of Cologne (1917–1933) and as president of the Prussian State Council (1922–1933).