On a mild morning last April, a band of dignitaries gathered before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. In the place of honor stood a tall old man whose somber mask of a face looked stiffly ahead. Before him, stretching to the hilltop, was an array of granite pillars, blocks and crosses the graves of Americans who had died in two wars with Germany. Behind him fluttered the black, red and gold flag of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The U.S. Army band sounded The Star-Spangled Banner. Then it broke into the measured strains of Deutschland über Alles. "This," murmured the old man, "is a turning point in history."
More dramatically than headline or speech or essay, the music symbolized an amazing story. In 1953, only eight years after the shame, horror and impotence of defeat in mankind's bloodiest war, Germany came back. It was a world power once more. More than any other, the person who brought this about was the stolid old man who stood in Arlington, visibly moved by the strains of his national anthem echoing among the tombstones. He was Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the West German Republic, apostle of United Europe, 1953's Man of the Year.
Konrad Adenauer had already guided the hated land of the Hun and the Nazi back to moral respectability and had earned himself a seat in the highest councils of the Western powers. Though she still lacked a formal peace treaty, and the Iron Curtain fenced her off from half her land and from 18 million countrymen, Konrad Adenauer's West Germany last year emerged as the strongest country on the Continent save Soviet Russia.
Her conquerors wooed her for her favors. Neighbors who had helped defeat her so short a time ago talked fearfully once more of her new strength and her even greater potential. Her economy glowed with health. Her products cascaded into the world's markets. In September came an election which the whole world nervously watched, to see whether the oil of democracy could mix with the vinegar of German authoritarianism. The West German voters swept all their Communists and Nazis out of national office and overwhelmingly put their faith in the dedicated, firm-handed democrat, Konrad Adenauer. No longer the passive object of other forces, Germany in 1953 was again one of the formidable forces of history and Konrad Adenauer one of history's makers.
"This year," said the Man of the Year, "is the year in which the re-emergence of Germany . . . changed the world picture."