Helmut Kohl celebrates ten years as German Chancellor on Friday (October 1), a decade that has seen the re-emergence of Germany as one of the most influential players on the world stage.
BERLIN (OCTOBER 3, 1990)
1. CROWD AT BRANDENBURG GATE FOR RE-UNIFICATION CEREMONY/ GERMAN FLAG RAISED/ FORMER CHANCELLOR WILLY BRANDT, FOREIGN MINISTER HANS-DIETRICH GENSCHER, CHANCELLOR HELMUT KOHL ON DAIS/ CROWD SINGING ANTHEM, FIREWORKS GOING OFF BONN, WEST GERMANY (OCTOBER 1, 1982)
2. KOHL SWORN IN AS CHANCELLOR, PARLIAMENT APPLAUDS BONN, WEST GERMANY (OCTOBER 4, 1982)
3. KOHL AND GENSCHER AT FORMAL MEETING OF COALITION MANNHEIM, RHINE AREA, WIESBADEN (1981)
4. TRAFFIC IN STREETS OF MANNHEIM/ FACTORIES IN RHINE AREA/ PEOPLE IN STREET IN WIESBADEN EAST BERLIN, EAST GERMANY (MARCH 1984)
5. PART OF WALL NEAR BRANDENBURG GATE BEING REPLACED (MARCH 1986)
6. BRANDENBURG GATE WITH EAST GERMAN FLAG FLYING/ BERLIN WALL, VIEW OF REICHSTAG WITH WEST GERMAN FLAG FLYING/ BRANDENBURG GATE WITH EAST GERMAN SOLDIERS PATROLLING/ VIEW OF WEST GERMAN MEMORIAL FROM EAST SIDE VIENNA, AUSTRIA (OCTOBER 15, 1983)
7. GENSCHER ARRIVES AT AIRPORT/ GENSCHER IN TALKS WITH SOVIET FOREIGN MINISTER ANDREI GROMYKO HANOVER, WEST GERMANY (JANUARY 1987)
8. KOHL ELECTION POSTER, GENSCHER POSTER AT ROADSIDE DORTMUND, WEST GERMANY (JANUARY 3, 1987)
9. KOHL WITH SUPPORTERS KASSEL, WEST GERMANY (JANUARY 3, 1987)
10. FRANZ JOSEF STRAUSS ADDRESSING CDU RALLY (GERMAN) BONN, WEST GERMANY (JANUARY 26, 1987)
11. KOHL ENTERS COALITION MEETING MOSCOW, SOVIET UNION (OCTOBER 24, 1988)
12. KOHL MEETS GORBACHEV AUSTRIA/WEST GERMANY BORDER (SEPTEMBER 11, 1989)
13. EAST GERMAN CARS WAITING TO CROSS BORDER/ EAST GERMAN CARS DRIVING ACROSS BORDER
14. GORBACHEV AND HONECKER SING INTERNATIONALE AT CELEBRATIONS FOR EAST GERMANY'S FORTIETH BIRTHDAY EAST BERLIN, EAST GERMANY (NOVEMBER 8, 1989)
15. ANTI-COMMUNIST DEMONSTRATION/ 'REFORMIST' COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER EGON KRENZ ADDRESSES CROWD DRESDEN, EAST GERMANY (NOVEMBER 6, 1989)
16. ANTI-COMMUNIST DEMONSTRATORS INCLUDING REFORMIST HANS MODROW EAST/WEST BERLIN BORDER (NOVEMBER 9-10, 1989)
17. YOUNG MAN ON TOP OF BERLIN WALL HOLDING UMBRELLA AS HE IS HOSED WITH WATER
18. MAN CHIPPING WALL WITH PICKAXE EAST/WEST BERLIN BORDER (NOVEMBER 10, 1989)
19. CROWDS AT AND ON BERLIN WALL/ KOHL AND GENSCHER ACKNOWLEDGE CHEERING CROWD FROM PODIUM NEAR WALL KARL MARX STADT, EAST GERMANY (MARCH 1, 1990)
20. KOHL CAMPAIGNING FOR PRO-UNIFICATION CANDIDATE LOTHAR DE MAIZIERE WEST GERMANY (1990)
21. NEWLY-MINTED DEUTSCHMARKS EAST BERLIN, EAST GERMANY (JULY 1, 1990)
22. MAN THROWING AWAY EAST MARKS, WOMAN TEARS UP EAST BANKNOTE BERLIN, GERMANY (OCTOBER 4, 1990)
23. ALL-GERMAN PARLIAMENT CONVENES IN REICHSTAG FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1933 - KOHL ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT, TALKING ABOUT WIPING OUT 45 YEARS OF DIVISION (GERMAN) LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY (DECEMBER 2, 1990)
24. KOHL VOTES BONN, GERMANY (JANUARY 17, 1991)
25. KOHL RECEIVES FLOWERS, IS CONGRATULATED BY CDU PARTY CHAIRMAN HANS-JOCHEN VOGEL AND FORMER CHANCELLOR WILLY BRANDT BITTERFELD, EAST GERMANY (JANUARY 1990)
26. VIEWS OF EAST GERMAN INDUSTRIAL PLANTS HALLE, GERMANY (MAY 10, 1991)
27. KOHL VISITS FACTORY WORKERS/ KOHL IS PELTED WITH EGGS MAASTRCHT, NETHERLANDS (DECEMBER 9, 1991)
28. KOHL ARRIVES/ MITTERRAND ARRIVES/ MEETING IN PROGRESS/ KOHL SEATED/ BRITISH PRIME MINISTER JOHN MAJOR SEATED LA ROCHELLE,FRANCE ( MAY 22, 1992)
29. KOHL AND MITTERRAND WALKING THROUGH STREETS FRANKFURT, GERMANY (APRIL 29, 1992)
30. PICKETS OUTSIDE BUS DEPOT/ STATIONARY BUSES/ RUBBISH LYING IN STREET OFFENBACH, GERMANY (APRIL 29, 1992)
31. STRIKING WORKERS AT RALLY BONN, GERMANY (APRIL 27, 1992)
32. GENSCHER MEETING BELGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WILLY GLAES ON DAY OF HIS RESIGNATION FRANKFURT, GERMANY (SEPTEMBER 14, 1992)
33. EXTERIOR OF BUNDESBANK /BUNDESBANK PRESIDENT HELMUT SCHLESINGER PARIS, FRANCE ( SEPTEMBER 22, 1992)
34. INTERIOR OF PARIS BOURSE VARAZDIN, CROATIA (AUGUST 1992)
35. BOSNIAN REFUGEES BOARD TRAIN FOR GERMANY ROSTOCK, GERMANY (AUGUST 24-25, 1992)
36. YOUTHS NEAR BURNING HOSTEL SHOUTING NAZI SLOGANS/ RIOT POLICE CHARGE YOUTHS
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Background: Helmut Kohl celebrates ten years as German Chancellor on Friday (October 1), a decade that has seen the re-emergence of Germany as one of the most influential players on the world stage.
When Kohl took office in 1982, few could have imagined that he was to become leader of a united Germany - a role coveted by every post-war West German leader.
He came to power as the post-war economic miracle was faltering and the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) decided to swap political allegiance. The FDP, led by Hans-Dietrich Genscher, pulled out of the ruling coalition with Helmut Schmidt's Social Democratic Party (SPD) and formed a new alliance with Kohl's right-wing Christian Democrat Union (CDU).
Faced with rising unemployment and a budget deficit, Kohl immediately promised a stringent financial programme and firm commitment to the Western Alliance. Kohl helped expand West Germany's affluence during his first eight years in office and deepened Bonn's friendship with the United States. At a time when the Cold War still ruled international relations, West Germany was most vulnerable to any perceived threat from a hostile Soviet Union. Attempts by Foreign Minister Genscher to pursue a quiet policy of detente achieved little concrete result and incurred the criticism of Kohl's right-wing ally, Franz Josef Strauss of the Christian Social Union (CSU).
Kohl managed to maintain the allegiance of both his coalition partners, winning two general elections in 1983 and 1987. The second poll returned his government to power with only a small majority. But history was too poised to reverse the downward turn in Kohl's political fortunes. The succession of Mikhail Gorbachev to the Soviet leadership would create the opportunity Kohl needed to reclaim the hearts and minds of an increasingly disillusioned electorate.
Even as Gorbachev stood beside East German leader Erich Honecker at the communist state's 40th anniversary celebrations in October 1989, the Kremlin was preparing to loose its hold on Eastern Europe. Hungary and Czechoslovakia opened their borders to east and west, allowing a flood of East German refugees to reach West Germany. In cities across East Germany protesters took to the streets demanding reform and on the night of November 9-10, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. When Honecker's government collapsed, Kohl seized the moment and began laying the groundwork for unification. He campaigned on behalf of pro-unification candidates in East Germany's first free elections and pushed for early monetary and political union. Kohl judged the mood of the east and west German populace correctly, riding the unification fervour to election victory in December 1990, two months after German unity was sealed.
But Germany woke up from its re-unification party with a massive hangover. In the cold light of day, a united Germany was fraught with problems, both economic and social. Huge capital outlay was needed to overhaul East Germany's antiquated industry. As factories were modernised or simply closed, thousands in the east lost their jobs. Eastern Germans, who once lionized Kohl, began to turn against him, unhappy with the slow pace of their region's reconstruction. People in western Germany saw a drop in their living standards when Kohl's government called for low wage settlements and raised taxes to pay for unification. With the resignation of his oldest ally, Genscher earlier this year, Kohl must confront his falling popularity alone.
European states gathered to formalise their economic and political community in Maastricht, with the new Germany now a dominant force. Germany's economic problems have had a significant effect in the European arena. Many believe the determination of German financiers to keep interest rates high and hold down inflation has damaged the weaker European economies. With European currency markets now in turmoil, the future of a European monetary system as envisaged by the Maastricht Treaty now seems less certain. However Kohl and President Francois Mitterrand of France still share a vision of a United States of Europe, which both leaders believe will allay fears about German power by binding the country to its European neighbours.
As old (western) Europe seeks to steady its own course, it is faced with even greater instability in the new (eastern) Europe. At the border between old and new, Germany is the first to feel the tremors of military conflict and economic hardship in the former Yugoslavia and Eastern Bloc. Prosperous-looking Germany has been a magnet for asylum-seekers from eastern Europe and thousands fleeing war in the Balkans have swelled the number of refugees. Kohl has been unable to stop frequent attacks by right-wing radicals against foreigners and a growth of German xenophobia.
As Kohl enters his second decade in power, he faces a new set of perils and challenges thrown up by the Germany he helped to unite. German re-unification may be Kohl's greatest achievement but it is far from certain that his political career will survive in a united Germany.