Father of German reunification, Helmut Kohl, dies aged 87

Elias Hubbard
June 26, 2017

In the spring of 1945, after surviving a heavy Allied bombing of Berchtesgaden and its environs in the Bavarian Alps, where Hitler had a retreat, Mr. Kohl decided the war was over for him.

He was a proud European and was at the forefront of closer integration through what became the European Union.

The fall of the Berlin Wall gave Kohl a second chance to stay in office by positioning himself as a strong and reliable leader, and he seized the opportunity.

"Future historians will say Europe's 21st century began on his watch", former US President Bill Clinton said in 1999 when awarding Kohl the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She had been profoundly disturbed by his refusal to identify anonymous donors in the party financing scandal that ended his political career, Schwan said.

In a statement Friday, Baker said the undoing the decades-long division of Germany had "brought freedom to millions and has helped make Europe safer and more prosperous". "But in the end, this process was completed and became history, of which Helmut Kohl is a part", Modrow told Sputnik Germany. He entrenched Germany in a wider Europe, in the hope of achieving a unity and peace that the continent had never known before. "He has led me on all European routes and accompanied", said Jean-Claude Juncker, uploading a picture of him and Kohl at his Twitter account.

Despite their differences, Merkel made clear on Friday that Kohl had touched her life deeply when he helped forge a united Germany.

In a poignant gesture of reconciliation in 1984, Kohl held hands with Mitterrand during a ceremony at a World War I cemetery in Verdun, France.

He died at the age of 87.

"He will be remembered for his 16-year tenure as Chancellor, as well as for his role in the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990".

He says Kohl "will be remembered in Russian Federation as a staunch advocate of a friendly relationship between our countries".

Still, the "blooming landscapes" that Kohl promised East German voters during reunification were slow to come after the collapse of its communist economy, and massive aid to the east pushed up German government debt. At its helm are Chancellor Angela Merkel, a protégé and admirer of Kohl, and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble, who was Kohl's top aide when he was chancellor.

Kohl was the chancellor of then West Germany between 1982 and 1990 and the reunified Germany between 1990 and 1998.

Kohl had always shown "a great and deep interest in Russia", he said in a statement on the website of his Gorbachev Foundation.

"The Catholic Church in Germany, said Cardinal Marx, was pained at news of Mr Kohl's death but was grateful for his Christian witness".

Kohl was reluctant to view united Germany as a major power because of the Nazi past.

"I send condolences to the Kohl family and the people of Germany", he added.

"When the Berlin Wall fell, he rose to the occasion, a true European".

"Helmut hated war - but he detested totalitarianism even more", former United States president George H.W. Bush said in a statement of the former German chancellor.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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