New files shed light on Thatcher's anti-German fears | DW News - Dec. 30, 2016 |
Thatcher was warned of Germany's aggressive character in the run-up to German reunification, newly-released files show. The British PM famously wanted to slow down Helmut Kohl as he "bulldozed" his way to a new state.
The Germans' less flattering attributes, conscientiously listed in alphabetical order by the British prime minister's influential private secretary Charles Powell, include "angst, aggressiveness, bullying, egotism, inferiority complex, and sentimentality."
This is what Margaret Thatcher, already skeptical about a quick German reunification, was told by a round of preeminent UK and US historians she gathered at her country retreat in March 1990 as she attempted to find out "what makes the Germans tick" during the precipitous year between the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.
Files released by the UK's National Archive unearthed a host of new details about the apprehension in Downing Street as Chancellor Helmut Kohl drove through German reunification in the face of misgivings from London to Moscow.
Helmut Kohl did much to develop German-Russia relations --- ex-president Yeltsin's widow
Bonn Pledges Broad Help to Yeltsin : Germany: Kohl treats the Russian leader as a chief of state. The two vow industrial, economic and cultural cooperation | LA Times - Nov. 22, 1991 |
BONN -- Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin won broad pledges of German aid for his republic as he met with Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl to launch "a new era" of cooperation.
With police escorts, an honor guard and a military band playing his federation's new anthem, Yeltsin received from Bonn the full protocol honors usually reserved for heads of state on an official visit.
Yeltsin said his four-hour talk with Kohl covered a broad range of issues and marked the beginning of closer relations "between the new Germany and the new Russia."
Among other things, their joint agreement pledged cooperation in environmental, scientific, industrial, economic and cultural matters. It also laid the groundwork for German experts to help Russia build a market economy.
Yeltsin planned to meet with key politicians and business leaders, visit Daimler-Benz headquarters in Stuttgart and review Soviet troops in eastern Germany before ending his visit.
As president of the crumbling Soviet Union's biggest and richest republic, Yeltsin is eager to lure foreign investors to help build a market economy in his nation. Through cooperation, Germany and Russia, he said, "hold a powerful development potential."
At the Foreign Ministry in Bonn, a spokesman agreed that investment, rather than cash handouts, offers the best chance for Russia's long-term recovery. "We feel in particular that there's a good chance for investment in the raw material sector in Russia, especially in oil and minerals," said the official.
The 12-page cooperation agreement, which was signed on Yeltsin's first official trip abroad since the failed Kremlin coup in August, underscored the new respect for him in the international arena. Germany is the Soviet Union's biggest trading partner and most generous donor.
Yeltsin's rise in stature here is especially impressive since German unification would not have been possible without the blessing of Mikhail S. Gorbachev; Kohl feels particularly indebted and fiercely loyal toward the Soviet president, who is Yeltsin's longtime rival.
Russia and Germany, 1992-1997
Russians and Germans are the two largest
nations in Europe. Their relationship is
decisive for the fate of the entire continent.
(Boris Yeltsin, April 1994)
Relations between Russia and Germany are
today tension-free, trusting, and friendly. This
is Boris Yeltsin's achievement. We want to
build on these relations in both sides' interest
and confidently proceed from the hope that a
free, democratic, and market-oriented Russia
will remain a peaceful, predictable and stable
partner for Germany and our neighbors.
(Helmut Kohl, March 1993)
For Bonn, Moscow is a Janus-faced partner.
Should it look to the future? Or should it look
back in anger? It is going in both directions at
the same time.
(Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 1994)
Russia: From Rebirth to Crisis to Recovery
The IMF's approval of the Russian program put the ball back in the G7's court. Two days later, on April 1, 1992, President Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl announced that the G7 had approved a one-year financial support package for Russia totaling $24 billion. That figure, however, was just a headline number that disguised how little money was actually being offered directly by the G7 coun- tries. Of the total, $6 billion was earmarked for a ruble stabilization fund, modeled on the fund established for Poland two years earlier, to be administered by the IMF upon satisfaction of the as-yet unspecified preconditions.
Germany and Russia -- Strategic Partners? | SWP Berlin - Fall 2007 |
Germans and Russians fought together against Napoleon, they both divided Poland between them, they found one another after the tricks of diplomacy had placed them on different sides in the First World War and made common cause against the Western victorious powers with the Pact of Rapallo. Blinded by Hitler's ideology of blood and soil the Germans then launched a war of destruction against the Soviet Union and had to be liberated from their own regime by the Red Army, with atrocities on both sides. The pride of victory replaced hatred of the Germans. For many members of the Soviet armed forces, the German Democratic Republic became the very model of a new, friendly Germany. However, the Russian population considered the division of Germany to be unnatural and therefore, for the Russians, reunification drew a conciliatory line under what both Germans and Russians considered an incomprehensible mistaken development in relations between the two countries.
Russia's Strategic Geopolitical Pursuits
Euroland's Secret Success Story
thanks bob for this post, and for the links (which I cannot get access to for now...)
There is indeed a propadanda and ideological war going on, and you should always take anything written in English about the French and German economies with a grain of salt...
One of my intentions with this site is to bring out a less gloomy vision of continental Europe (while obviously trying not to be blind to the very real problems that exist).
As I wrote elsewhere, Eurolande has a much more sustainable economy, not being propped up by a giant credit bubble and a huge corporate-subsidising war spending spree, and having a much more equal sharing of the wealth being created.
In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Sun Jul 17th, 2005
Germany's Surprising Economy | Aug. 2005 | [reign of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder]
West-Germany's Trillion Euro Bet
Eastern Germany is western Germany's trillion euro bet | DW News - Sept. 2010 |
Good timing for the West
Actually, reunification came at a good time for West German industry. Prior to reunification, Germany was running a huge current account surplus, meaning it was investing more abroad because it couldn't find enough profitable investments at home, according to Tim Stuchtey, a fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the John Hopkins University. That quickly changed.
"From 1990 to 2000, Germany ran a small current account deficit because of the sucking demand from the new states, so the country was now consuming more than it was producing," he says. "And if you consider the conversation we're having now with U.S. economists who blame Germany for exporting too much and having too big a current accounts surplus, you'll see that for 10 years, Germany pursued a huge Keynesian domestic investment program, which kept investments in the country."
NATO Russia Founding Act - A Dead Letter
Related reading ...