A great man, a great German, a great leader died today.

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Statistikhengst, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Statistikhengst

    Statistikhengst Well-Known Member

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    And it hits me personally.

    Helmut Kohl was the Chancellor of the BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) from 1982-1998, the longest time-period for any German chancellor.

    He was part of the CDU (Union of Christian Democrats), the same party that Angela Merkel is part of. In fact, she was his protege. He used to call her "dat Määädchen" (that girl) in a way of showing his fatherly affection for Merkel.

    He was the force of stability and steady-mind, steady-hand during the reunification of Germany. Germans of all stripes liked and respected Kohl.

    I met him in 1999 and had a long conversation with him.

    He was a fine human being, a true "Mensch". I am truly sad to hear of his passing.

    Flags are already flying at half-mast in many parts of Germany.

    -Stat
     
  2. alexa

    alexa Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    There is a thread in the Latest News you might want to contribute to.
     
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  3. Robert

    Robert Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Konrad Adenauer was in charge when I served in Germany.

    What do you think of Willie Brandt?
     
  4. Statistikhengst

    Statistikhengst Well-Known Member

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    The "Kniefall von Warschau" is something that I think no one will ever forget.
    I'm not a German (I'm an American), but I know the history of that moment of humility from 1970, a German's way of asking for forgiveness from Poland.

    I think he was a very decent guy.
     
  5. Statistikhengst

    Statistikhengst Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the hat tip.
     
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  6. alexa

    alexa Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I really do not know enough about him to say anything but it seems all the people who do really liked him.
     
  7. Caligula

    Caligula Active Member

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    Since the other thread in the 'latest news' section has gone down south, it might be more interesting to comment here.
    I live in Germany and I was around, albeit quite young, when the Berlin wall came down.

    Kohl is usually credited with the German reunification and IMO he proved to be the man of the hour especially during those negotiations with Gorbie in Moscow and in the Caucasus a day later. There are quite a few publications on that topic now and some are very interesting to read.
    The so-called 4 plus 2 negotiations were in fact just Kohl and Gorbie. Bush sen. supported Kohl in every way, France and especially Britain were very skeptical of a reunified Germany.
    Kohl proved to be a good negotiator (and gave Gorbie a 5 billion credit) and he deserves respect for playing a vital role in unifying Germany again.

    However, it was clear from the get go that this whole thing would cost an insane amount of money and that several generations would be paying (most studies say up til now it's been two trillion). Kohl lied to the public brazenly whenever he was asked about the costs. His famous quote of "Blühende Landschaften" (thriving/properous regions) turned out to be rubbish. He claimed that within 3 to 5 years everything in former East-Germany would be great and living standard would be just like in West-Germany. It's 2017 now and it's still not the same. When unemployment started rising dramatically in the early 90s, he just ignored it and turned to his favourite topic: foreign policies.
    He also lied to the public regarding the finances. "Keine Steuererhöhungen zur Finanzierung in die deutsche Einheit" (No tax increase in order to finance the German reunification) is another well-known quote, this time by back then finance minister Theo Waigel. Again utter bs.
    Shortly after the reunification, Kohl's government increased taxes - whoops. And needless to say especially lower and middle income people were taxed.

    Kohl was also largely responsible for having Greece joining the Eurozone (the union of countries that use the Euro), despite experts and advisors telling him that Greece's economy and administrative infrastructure were not even remotely fit for that. Kohl insisted on Greece becoming part of the club. In 1996 Gregor Gysi, well-known politician from the left Die Linke, gave a speech in the Bundestag in which he predicted all the problems we have today (so-called Greek crisis, rise of nationalism, rise of populism, a EU of two classes) based on Kohl's wrong policies.
    Kohl was also the key figure in the illegal CDU donations scandal which came to light in 1999. He clearly put himself above the law and said that his word was more important than the law.

    So, it's not quite as black and white as it might seem but once someone has died the motto often is ... De mortuis nil nisi bene.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  8. Blücher

    Blücher Active Member

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    That's just false, the decision to allow Greece in the Eurozone was made by the Schröder government and the first violation of the Eurozone rules werde also done by them.
     

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