According to Helmut Kohl, who served as Chancellor of (west-) Germany between 1982 and 1998, the late George. W Bush was a “Glücksfall” (godsend, stroke of luck) for the German people. Following the death of the former President, this sentiment has been reiterated in a statement given by Angela Merkel. In a letter of condolence, Merkel refers to Bush as ‘a true friend of the German people.’
Merkel and Bush in 2006. Photo: Paul Morse via Wikimedia Commons
The 41st President of the USA was, according to an article from the Aachener Nachrichten, the first western statesman to utter the word: Reunification (Wiedervereinigung). His presidency began at a crucial time for the citizens of both East and West Germany; Bush’s inauguration in the January of 1989 proved to be, in the eyes of many Germans, an early victory for those who supported Germany’s reunification.
In 1989 a united Germany faced many obstacles, not least from the then leaders of France and the United Kingdom. Mitterrand and Thatcher both looked sceptically at the idea of a reunified and re-strengthened Germany in the centre of Europe. Having a “superpower” on their side ultimately proved invaluable in turning the tide of opinion in favour of Einheit.
On the day that the Berlin Wall fell in November of 1989 Bush and Chancellor Kohl had a telephone conversation, in which the American President wished Kohl and the German people “all the best and good luck.” Just under a year later, on the 3rd of October 1990, the German Democratic Republic ceased to exist, and Germany was reunified.