An address at The National Press Club Luncheon by West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer during a visit to the United States on November 5, 1961
November 10, 2010

Konrad Adenauer -Portrait of a man in the middle of a firestorm.

It's been almost fifty years since the Berlin Wall heightened the tensions in an already tense Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. At the center of it stood West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. In November of 1961 Adenauer paid a visit to President Kennedy, during a time when flash points were erupting around the world. Cuba was heading towards crisis with the question of nuclear missiles being installed on the island nation. War broke out between India and China and Berlin stood more or less in the middle of it.

On November 5, 1961, Adenauer was asked to address the National Press Club during one of their regular luncheons:

Konrad Adenauer: “I’m not a prophet and I never claimed to be one. And in politics in particular you should never try to make any predictions whatsoever, and therefore I remain patient, and I maintain what I have found to be true and correct and right. And even if something takes a long time and before it is achieved you have to stick to what you have recognized to be right and true. That of course requires patience and that is, in my view the only policy which can be successful, vis-à-vis Communism. I’m convinced that the reunification of Germany will come, because each nation and each people has the right of self-determination. And this right is granted to small nations, in Africa. And that is a right to which the German nation is entitled and the German’s will wait and wait and wait and wait until they’re given this right.”

Sadly, Adenauer wouldn't live to see reunification (he died in October of 1963) - but at the time, any thought of that seemed as unlikely as finding life on Mars. Here is his complete address to the National Press Club and a number of questions from the audience afterwards.

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