The early career of Herbert Blankenhorn (1904–1991) illustrates important trends in the transition from Nazi Germany to the Federal Republic. During the 1930s and 1940s he served as a diplomat in the German Foreign Office and also joined the Nazi Party in 1938. After 1945 he would play a very public role in the creation of a new political culture in West Germany. Konrad Adenauer thought that the exceptional political sense of his young personal assistant, who also served as Secretary General of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the British Zone, helped him become chancellor of the Federal Republic in 1949. Through the mid-1950s Blankenhorn remained one of Adenauer's most intimate advisors, especially on matters concerning foreign policy. From late 1949 to mid-1950, he also oversaw the creation of what became the West German Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office), and thereafter he was the head of its Political Division and deputy to State Secretary Walter Hallstein until 1955. He went on to serve as West German ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (1955–1958), France (1958–1963), Italy (1963–1965), and the United Kingdom (1965–1970). After retiring from the diplomatic service in 1970, Blankenhorn functioned as the West German representative in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Council until 1976.