Helmut Kohl, Chancellor Who Reunited Germany, Dies at 87

Mr. Kohl held the post for 16 years, from 1982 to 1998, longer than any German leader since Bismarck.

Comments: 106

  1. R.I.P.

  2. Kohl is the guy who forced H. W. Bush into officially recognizing the unnegotiated independence of Croatia from Yugoslavia, triggering the greatest mass murders in Europe since Hitler ruled Germany.

  3. nonsense

  4. So you refert to him, in a single sentence with a negative tone, with Hitler. Not very nice, bud 1. Kohl does not deserve that.

  5. Kohl's Nazi background was included in the obit. Beyond that, what happened in Yugoslavia is important to remember because it served as a template for George W Bush's invasion of Iraq - false news accounts and demonization.

  6. A leader and visionary, who ignored the experts and reunified his country, in some ways brought World War II to an end for Germany, and set it back on a leadership path. RIP.

  7. Go in Grace Mr Kohl.

  8. As a student and teacher of European history, Mr. Kohl's legacy allows me to reflect on a pivotal time in the late 20th century when I was growing up between Germany and the United States. While post-wall politics still influence German society and identity today, I remain optimistic that unity or even compromise, whether there or here, is not out of reach.

  9. History will be kind to Helmut Kohl, who exhibited great leadership in uniting Germany quickly and peacefully.

  10. Helmut Kohl can be criticised, but to me he reunified Germany taking courageous steps to assure there would be one Germany. This is how I will remember him.

  11. Thank you Helmut Kohl for reuniting Germany. I will never forget the day when I watched the joy of the Berlin Wall coming down. I cried because I was so happy for those in the East. I have stood along that wall before it came down and shivers ran down my spine. It was evil and it destoyed people's lives on both sides. Even when it came down it took decades of healing for everyone. Because the wall was physical but the emotional scars of such a wall take so much longer to heal.

    Rest in peace.

  12. Like many great men, Kohl's achievements are mixed.
    However, reuniting Germany is a towering achievement that cannot be overshadowed.

  13. Genuine statesman and a true leader, may he rest in peace.

  14. Kohl did a herculean job reuniting West and East Germany and paved way for expansion of EU which included Poland. Thank you Chancellor Kohl and may you RIP.

  15. Never was in favor of him and he never got my vote, but certainly on a personal level this seems to be a relief as his health was quite obviously not the best in the past years, so R.I.P.

  16. He made some terrible economic decisions in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall (1:1 exchange between East German and West German mark and most of all the introduction of the Euro) but he grasped the opportunity to reunite Germany when the vast majority in West Germany (me included) somehow thought the German divide was a just and eternal punishment for WWII and couldn't either imagine a reunification or seriously thought a reunited Germany would lead straight to the next war.

  17. I fondly remember the joy and optimism the world experienced when the Berlin Wall came down. And I always associate that with Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

  18. A great european Leader is gone . Father of the German reuniting. Father of the Euro. I had the honor to work for him a short time. It was a impression for my further life.
    The hole world should say " Thank you ..you have done a great Job "

    RIP

  19. The Euro was an emotional project against any good economical sense. Youth unemployment of 50% and above in Italy, France, Greece is NOT an achievement.

  20. Helmut Kohl, like numerous strong leaders, could soar to the peaks and then to the valleys. I salute him for being such a dynamic post-Cold War leader who seized the opportunity, with President Bush, to reunify Germany. This has positively altered the landscape of Europe, which is far more significant than his human frailities.

  21. This was a man with a defining vision. He wanted an united europe to end the age of nationalism for once and all, the EU is his legacy.
    François Mitterrand is already waiting for him to have a glass decent wine.

  22. He contributed to ending the age of nationalims so effectively that the Germany we know will be a thing of the past in 20 year's time

  23. Mr Kohl's unabashed love of good food was endearing.
    when interviewed in a fine restaurant he patted his corpulent middle and said proudly "You can see I enjoy good food."

  24. Hannelore Kohl's regional German cookbook is the best I've seen in English.

  25. RIP Dr. Helmut Kohl.
    I am generation Kohl and although I never voted for him, shared his political convictions or saw him as my "chancellor", I will remember him as an influential statesman of the 20th century and would like to thank him for his service for Germany and Europe.

  26. A tremendous European, a grandiose master of his fate, an incomparable captain of his dynamic brave brilliant and generous soul. Germany found itself with the right man at the right moment.

  27. "Gnade des spaeten Geburts" is better rendered as grace or mercy than absolution. What Kohl meant is that he was spared the moral dilemmas of those slightly older. While I had my differences with the man, I am grateful for his efforts toward a united Germany and a peaceful united Europe. And while I'm at it, let me commend George Bush the Elder for his support of Kohl's unification efforts, in contrast to leaders like Margaret Thatcher.

  28. Well said.

  29. You're right, he meant he lucked out in having been born so late, therby avoiding responsibility for what happened. The original German, by the way, is "Gnade der späten Geburt."

  30. Coming of age in the 80's, "Gnade der späten Geburt" always comes to my mind first when talking about Mr. Kohl. In school, we had endless discussions about the concept and generally saw it as a poor excuse to avoid ongoing "Vergangenheitsbewältigung" or coming to terms with the past. To this day, my mother, of Kohl's generation, can't understand if I read yet another book about the Nazi era. I remain leary of any display of nationalism.

  31. Great leader. Great politician. Todays Germany is based on his european arcitecture.

  32. He was one of the few politicians to leave an everlasting mark on the political map of Europe without having to fight a war. His determination to push for German reunification in 1989 and his instinct to accomplish it despite massive opposition from various corners will forever be a credit to him and his political judgement. He saw a historical window of opportunity and used it - all Germans have reasons to be grateful to him - and to mourn his passing away.

  33. Well said!

  34. Well said and I am grateful indeed.

    Unfortunately the Germany that we all knew and that he fought for will be gone in 20 years.

  35. Wow. That name resonates with me. What an awesome time 1989 was! Communism collapsed and the world was our oyster. No peace dividend though- just Intelligence manufactured scare stories like ""iSIS" and "al Qyeda". And other assorted fake nonsense so spooks can keep their jobs.

  36. @Mr Dowd - So Boston Marathon bombing back in 2013 never happened?

  37. Another one of the Generation with an accurate world view.

  38. On the issues that mattered - greatly - Helmut Kohl understood global politics at a time when we really needed leaders who did. The collapse of the Soviet Union. The end of the Cold War. What a time it was. What an opportunity it was and we squandered it. Expanding NATO to Russia's borders after promising - verbally -- to Yeltsin we wouldn't do it THUS paving the way for Putin. Things could have been so different. Russia was talking about joining NATO. Leaders like Kohl knew the direction we should be going in but ... Now its history. BTW his political life and his geopolitical decisions were what was important to have in his obituary not a clumsy and too harsh examination of his private life. The world was lucky to have had him when we did. Not sure who is up to this kind of task these days.

  39. He was the right man at the right time for Germany. His legacy is a reunited, peaceful Germany. His foibles pale in importance to his great achievements.

  40. He always wanted to built a european Germany, never a german Europe. He had success in that. Despite his weaknesses, thank you Helmut Kohl.
    RIP.

  41. This obituary focuses far too much on Kohl's faults and foibles than on his immense contributions to history. He was a firm friend of the West in the late days of the Cold War and then, when the Wall fell, he pursued first the peaceful reunification of Germany and then, more important, its embedding in the broader European community. His goal was to leave a Germany surrounded b friends, for the first time, and he achieved that goal. He was a tough and wily party pol, a wheeler-dealer, comfortable in the political trenches, but also a visionary who spent his boyhood in the war his country caused and used his political power to assure, to the best of his ability, that that tragedy would never happen again. Not bad. Not bad at all.

  42. I was In Warsaw when the Wall came down in Berlin. The Poles had just won independence from the Soviet Union, and the joy in Warsaw and festivities about East German freedom were something to behold. Having led a sheltered life under democratic institutions, I realized for the first time what "freedom, liberty of speech" meant for an average citizen. And here I was a PhD in political science!

  43. The end of an era. Apart of the unification of Germany, he has done more than anyone for the change in the traditionally hostile Franco-German feelings. The picture will live forever of Kohl and the socialist French President Mitterrand holding hands in front of the Verdun Memorial and saying, "We have us reconciled".

  44. The re-unification of Germany was one of the greatest accomplishments of the latter 20th Century.

  45. As an American, I resided 7 years in the 1970's in West Berlin under the Wall, where two of my sons were born. All three sons studied in the German system from pre-school through University, under a social system of high taxes accompanied by high benefits.
    I was working in Hamburg when the Wall fell and that Christmas when my sons visited me their request was to visit West Berlin.
    It is truly sad the politicians with the stature of Kohl, Bush and Gorbachev are no longer present on the world stage. Compare these to Maye, Trump and Putin and you understand what I mean.
    As a modern European History major, I truly valued the courage of their counterparts in the late 1980's who brought a true enlightenment for the future of Europe. Now it appears that the lights are not only going out in Europe, but also in the U.S. and I am afraid they will not be lit again in my lifetime.

  46. I lived in (West) Germany during the early Kohl years. Despite his counter-intuitive support for European integration and a common currency, late in life he came down on the wrong side of history on Greece (pro-austerity), and Russia (pro-appeasement, anti-sanctions).

  47. I'm puzzled by Mr. Whitney's take on the Deustchmark/Ostmark exchange rate policy. Yes, it condemned East German industry to demise through lack of competitiveness(arguably, they wouldn't have been able to compete at any exchange rate, look at the other Warsaw pact countries and Russia) but it was a huge subsidy to any East German with any savings in Ostmarks or any other assets.
    It makes Kohl's severe stance later in life vis a vis support for Greece all the more sadly ironic. He wouldn't do for fellow EU citizens what he was willing to do for Germans.

  48. Kohl's strong/early for reunification should be acknowledged.

    But also the fact that reunification became very quickly the *only*
    choice after the wall opening.
    East Germans were fleeing their country (the slogan was
    "either D-Mark or we're leaving") and flooding West German states,
    the former 'leaders' were stealing whatever fortunes were left in offices,
    banks and factories, and public safety quickly deteriorated.
    East Germany was spiraling out of control very rapidly and without
    West Germany taking responsibility and the prospects of economic unity
    would have become a major liability for all surrounding countries.

    In the end there was no real choice to made regarding reunification.

  49. I wish the 1984 photo of Helmut Kohl and François Mitterand at Verdun used in this article, had been the iconic one showing the two leaders solemnly holding hands as they commemorated the tens of thousands of French and German First World War dead. Mitterand had held out his hand to Kohl, Kohl took it and the hand clasp lasted for several minutes. It was an extremely moving and significant moment symbolizing French and German reconciliation.

  50. My thoughts. Thank you Susan.

  51. Chancellor Kohl came to speak at the Greek Theater at UC Berkeley in 1990 (or so). As a student there at the time, I was so busy with my academic work, but heard he was speaking and walked over to the theater (no security to speak of) and sat down and listened to this amazing man talk about the extraordinary and generous efforts his nation committed to reuniting the east and west and the hopes for the future for reunited brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. To almost inadvertently sitting down and being able to listen to history in the making is something I will never forget. Long live the peace and unity of the German people that Chancellor Kohl shepherded.

  52. I (being from Germany, living since 15 years in the US) did not give him the respect he deserved while he was in office, and regretted that many times later.

    When Helmut Kohl initiated the reunification of Germany rather quickly after the wall came down I screamed: "No, no, not so fast!" - and only much later I realized that his speed prevented many more difficulties as there were anyway due to the reunification.

    In the last 10 years I hoped every year that he would get the Peace Nobel Price. He would have deserved it; I actually think it is a true shame that he did not get it.

    Dear Helmut Kohl, you did great, thank you, I hope you are doing well wherever you might be now.

  53. I lived in Germany from 1987 to 1999, so he was "Der Bundeskanzler" for almost that entire period. He seemed steady and not that bright, yet shrewd beneath a jovial demeanor. One must credit him for the Reunification, which despite many difficulties, has been a success.

  54. it was the perpetual under estimate by the political left in Germany that allowed Kohl to stay in office for so long.

  55. I was born the old West Berlin just before the wall went up and have lived to see it torn down. As a teenager I went back, peered over the wall, went for a day across Checkpoint Charlie and saw first hand the terrible realities a forced separation brings. In the late 90's I toured a unified Germany and heard the bitter western complaints who somehow failed to be amazed and proud of the massive infrastructure and investments in the old East. As a visiting professor last year in Berlin I loved listening to the perspectives of my students who grew up in a unified Germany but whose parents were from the old east.

    One man's stubborn belief brought about this transformation. Surely he could not have known the full extent of the pain and hardship involved across several generations. But the idea of bring people together be it German or Europeans was something worth bullying everyone to accomplish.

    Helmut Kohl like all of us had his flaws but this accomplishment puts him above par in post war Germany and Europe. The world needs more men of such vision and determination.

  56. He showed courage when it was required. RIP

  57. Kohl's "reunification" of Germany is intellectually dishonest. He actually bought East Germany, the former DDR and agreed to sign away forever historical German lands of East Prussia, Silesia, & Pomerania and spit in the faces of millions of displaced Germans. Had Kohl waited a mere 24 months, he could have truly reunited Germany with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the massive redrawing of European maps that followed. Kohl had no sense of timing and right vs. wrong.

  58. >> agreed to sign away forever historical German lands of East Prussia, Silesia, & Pomerania

    That was already done by Willy Brand's Ostvertraege (1970 - 73) and the Einheitsvertrag 1990 merely confirmed the status quo. And by the way: the US, UK and France would have never agreed to a "redrawing of European maps" to enlarge Germany further to the East.

  59. The Germans lost the war, that's all there is with the lost lands. The allies had every right to rip Germany apart. They did it with a scalpel not with scythe. Today's borders are okay.

  60. Sure about that? Didn't Willi Brandt officially renounce German claims to the German territories handed over to Poland? I know the story of "die Vertriebenen" and it is a very sad one, but do you really think it would have been possible for the land to be returned to Germany in 1990? At Poland's expense?

  61. A genuine stalwart ! Not at all one of those media manufactured paper tiger leaders of the modern era !God bless him !

  62. How fortunate the Germans were to have a leader like Kohl to bring them together again. We are supposed to be a unified country here in the U.S. and yet our "leader" seems to enjoy his attempts to divide us.

    And, yes, Kohl (German for cabbage) liked his food. I recall a time when he and Bill Clinton feasted on a gargantuan lunch at a German restaurant in Milwaukee. If I remember correctly, Clinton held his own.

  63. Kohl rose to prominence by doing every difficult job for his party and he did them well. From the bottom to the top he knew what was going on. Sad finish but a lot of accomplishments.

  64. One's ultimate legacy should tilt toward the good they did for others over their personal weaknesses. Mr. Kohl undoubtedly did more to benefit humanity for all of time than the mistakes he made for his own enrichment. The global leader is the man who should be remembered.

  65. >> the mistakes he made for his own enrichment.

    He never enriched himself and that charge was never on the table. He enriched the CDU party by illegal means because he was convinced that the "reds" (i.e. the SPD) had an unfair advantage over the CDU because of their better financial situation (large corporate properties etc...)

  66. This is a misunderstanding he collected money secretly for his party , illegally , but not for his own enrichmemt.
    And he did not speak of the absolution of late birth, but of the Mercy of a late birth , meaning , i was to young to commit crimes as the adults did. Kohl was 15 at the end of the war. He recognized the guilt, but he did not intend to set himself morally above his parents generation.

  67. NM: you are correct, recognize the good, but that is not what humanity does. Because we ourselves are not perfect, we project our own imperfections onto others who stand out. A sad state of affairs but not new. The opening of Anthony's speech at Ceasar's funeral is instructive.

    What we all need to remember is that all humans have feet of clay. That is why our Soul-Self is here, to learn to learn and learn to love. Be forgiving and compassionate. Doing that will make for better sleep.

  68. During the time of German reunification, someone wrote to a German newspaper to suggest a new name for East Germany: Kohlrabien. Not a bad pun for a country of people who are alleged to be humorless.

  69. Khol had a capacity for self-deprecation that was strangely endearing. His name means cabbage & I remember him joking about having a round head like his namesake.

  70. RIP, Herr Kohl.

    He truly was a historic figure.

    He was an ordinary German in many respects, from an ordinary family, thrust into historic times. I think it was a good thing he acknowledged his participation in the Hitler Youth and the military activities of family members during the Nazi era - these were the typical experiences of German families and there was no reason to hide them or claim a nonexistent contribution to the resistance as so many French politicians tended to do.

    I fondly remember reading about the massive repasts enjoyed by Kohl and Clinton during the Clinton presidency. Epic meals of men unashamed of their appetites, and a worthy challenge to the finest chefs of D.C.

    It's the end of a generation, and it makes me sentimental - I just lost my father a few months ago, and he was almost exactly Kohl's age, and suffered from similar infirmities. I enjoyed hearing my father's recollections of his wartime experiences as a Jewish American from the northeast and his formative years growing up in the immediate postwar years. I'm sure Kohl's family heard similar stories from him.

  71. Three years younger than Kohl, I grew up in what was later to become East Germany. I escaped induction into the"people's army" just barely, because of my age. Kohl was not so lucky, but he managed to survive this experience. Just like his belonging to the Hitler youth, he had effectively no choice in the matter.

    His diplomatic skill, cleverly disguised by his down to earth demeanor, resulted in one of the greatest achievements in the post WW2 world: the uniting of Germany and the strengthening of the European union.

    To a large extent, his efforts cemented the nascent democratic traditions in the post war German nation, resulting in a country of strength firmly based on the democratic philosophy first introduced by the USA in Germany at the end of the war. A rare win-win situation that all participants can be proud of.

    RIP Helmut

  72. Well put, Herr "Rosentrekker"...well put! God bless you Helmut Kohl. Whatever your weaknesses, your strengths helped guide a nation through a turbulent time and into a far more democratic and competitive future. It is sad how many will always choose the negative over the positive, but here in America, similar, newsworthy situations continue to lead in our daily lives. If only people would/could give their elected officials the time to prove or disprove themselves, perhaps there could be far less turbulence in the world? Aaaah, probably not. I fear that human beings simply aren't geared towards giving or helping one another or supporting those who choose to try and lead us any more. If this is true, then our time slowly comes to an end...

  73. There's no doubt Germans will look at the passing of Helmut Kohl in a different light than Americans might. But then, Germans look at him as more than the "Vater der Deutschen Einheit" -- the father of German Unity.
    Granted Mr. Kohl did much to help bring about the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall, but his involvement in a scandalous financial affair, and regretable treatment of his ailing wife, Hannelore, is what still sticks out uppermost in most German's minds.
    And while his longevity as Chancellor has been likened to Otto Von Bismarck, that didn't erase the discomfort many felt at his refusal to distance himself from the country's, and his own Nazi past.
    As a member of the conservative CDU party, Helmut Kohl was not very popular in West-Berlin; a long-time SPD (Socialist) stronghold, and I remember well how his visit to the Bitburg cemetary with Ronald Regan, resulted in violent clashes and demonstrations that brought the city to a standstill.
    But in the end, it's Helmut Kohl's careful grooming of Angela Merkel that he will probably be best remembered by.
    That, and of course the Wall.
    Ruhe in Frieden, Herr Kohl.

  74. Kohl was born in 1930. How could he possible have a "Nazi past"?

  75. His own Nazi past? He was 15 when the war ENDED, for heavens sake! And some, for sure including himself, thought that grooming Merkel was one of his bigger mistakes.

  76. What a contrast to leadership in the United States at present. Inclusive, with an eye towards history.

  77. Helmut Kohl was interested in being the leader of a whole country, not only for his electors. He wanted to make Germany and Europe a better place for all - not for him. And he brought friendship back to Germany: the French, the Americans, and even the British people learned that his country totally changed since WWII. He opened the door for Jewish people coming back to Germany, especially from Russia, established contact to a friendly Turkey and finally established a strong relationship to Russia.

  78. It was rather nostalgic reading this article. I remember visiting family in East Germany who ended up on the wrong side of the wall after the war. I remember driving through the check-points, having the border guards rip out the back seat of our car and insert long metal sticks into our gas tank, to make sure we were not sneaking something in, or someone out. I remember visiting our family who lived in a dark, dreary world, unable to leave -- wondering what life was like on the other side of that wall. I was young, but vividly remember thinking that the ink used on posters, and the paint used on houses in the East was drab and dull -- no glisten, depth, sparkle or shine. That perception played a large role in my perception of the Soviet Union of the time.

    Kohl helped accomplish what we all thought would never happen in our lifetimes.

  79. Seems quite odd to write about German unification without once mentioning Hans-Dietrich Genscher, usually regarded as the principal architect of that reunification.

  80. Kohl was the principal architect of German reunification. Genscher helped, but his most important contribution was pulling his party out of the previous coalition and making Kohl leader. He did succeed in destroying the unity of Yugoslavia.

  81. Hopefully present and future world leaders will do as well or better.

  82. I am surprised to see so much praise in the comments here for a politician who, despite some laudable instincts in the way he negotiated with Reagan, Thatcher, and Gorbachev in 1989, was a deeply flawed character. Kohl was known a shrewd manipulator, ruthless in his reach for power, and after all was willing to hold on to his secrets about the illegal financial operations of his party until his death. This fact alone shows the phoniness of his constant rhetoric about a moral renewal of Germany which rang in German ears for decades.
    Second, it is too easily forgotten that Mr. Kohl's party strenuously opposed the rapprochement between the two German states which made the detente and the opening of the Berlin Wall possible.
    And his handling of German reunification was problematic, too: By prioritizing the return of properties expropriated by the communists over compensation for former owners, the Kohl administration significantly contributed to an economic paralysis of the eastern part of the country from which it still hasn't fully recovered.

  83. Thank you, NYTimes, for the long political part about the unification process. It shows that it was never easy - it was Kohl's skill, vision and determination that ensured the unification be as quick and peaceful as it was. There might be a lesson in here, for political turmoils in both Europe and the US, who knows? Time will tell whether we will one day remember a man as towering as him.

  84. Kohl's strong/early for reunification should be acknowledged.

    But also the fact that reunification became very quickly the *only*
    choice after the wall opening.
    East Germans were fleeing their country (the slogan was
    "either D-Mark or we're leaving") and flooding West German states,
    the former 'leaders' were stealing whatever fortunes were left in offices,
    banks and factories, and public safety quickly deteriorated.
    East Germany was spiraling out of control very rapidly and without
    West Germany taking responsibility and the prospects of economic unity
    would have become a major liability for all surrounding countries.

    In the end there was no real choice to made regarding reunification.

  85. I won't miss him. One of the reasons for the breakup of Yugoslavia was Kohl recognizing Slovenia and the former German wartime ally, Croatia. Of course there were other factors, but when he did this there was no chance of keeping the country whole with more decentralized authority.

  86. There are many Slovenes who are glad to have gained independence from Yugoslavia. Perhaps you should recall that the secret Treaty of London and the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) gave Italy more than 1/4th of Slovene land and with it some 300 thousand ethnic Slovenes out of a population of 1.3 million. You might remember that Slovenia is the only part of the former Yugoslavia and the only present-day nation that was completely absorbed into Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Hungary during World War II. You might consider the Stalinist repression in the late '40s and the subsequent heavy-handed treatment of Slovenia by Tito and the Serbs.

    Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Ukraine, Belorus, Iceland, and Sweden recognized Slovenian independence in 1991. On 15 Jan 1992, Canada and on 16 Jan, Australia recognized its independence. Germany did so on 15 Jan 1992; the US on 7 April. Chancellor Kohl's Germany was but one country among many. Please don't be too hard on him.

  87. What little I know my ancestry is that the Croats allowed the Nazis to march through, so did the Swedes, The Vichy government, etc. anyway Tito was probably the only good communist resisting the Sovs & non-Warsaw pact

  88. Thatcher's comment about Germany is a reminder of the tensions in Europe, but also the critical difference between the UK and Germany. The UK is struggling with Brexit, while Germany is the leader on the continent. One really needs to examine the development of these countries over the past 70 years. This is worth a book!

  89. The last time Germany was the leader of the continent was 1939-1945. The Brits were the only European nation to remain independent. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

  90. I saw Helmut Kohl eating in his favorite Italian restaurant in Berlin/Grunewald in the late 1990s: the gigantic man was able to consume food with an appetite unseen since Bismarck. The waiter served dish after dish in a seemingly endless procession of pasta, more pasta, fish, entrecote and dolci. The restaurant watched him like an emperor of gone times had arrived for a baroque state dinner. It was a spectacular event larger than life, similar to his political achievements in the 1990s. Seeing this lust for life and good food made him utterly human. Where are these politicians today?

  91. Kohl was the right man at the right time. The political leaders today, not just in Germany but in all the West, are pygmies compared to him. The Cold War was won, repeat won, because of Reagan, Bush, Thacher and Kohl. But German reunification is because of Kohl. We could use leaders like him today.

  92. I chuckled at your writers' accusing Helmut Kohl of "inflicting" his region's dish of stuffed sow's belly on foreign visitors. For the record, Saumagen may not sound enticing but it is delicious. Much better than the Weisswurst served in Munich!

  93. But how does it compare to Haggis?

  94. RIP, Chancellor Kohl, a great man not only in Germany but in the world.

    On a lighter note, I have heard about an idiom “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Chancellor Kohl made a delicacy out of “sow’s belly.” I will go to Germany soon, and hope to taste it.

    If Merkel was right in asking him to quit the political scene, I was wondering if she should ask herself the question of if she should give a younger generation a chance. I have no problem with her, but just enjoy irony.

  95. Helmut Kohl was one of the visionaries you become when you are a historian, and not a lawyer.

  96. One of the great moments of my life was to see the wall go down. The Winds of Change crumpled it without a war.

  97. The Germans have no room to talk when it comes to terms for a Chancellor. Merkel is running for her fourth term.

  98. Helmut Kohl was truly a larger than life figure in a time of historic change in Europe and the world.

  99. Kohl one of the greatest leaders who united Germany along with Gorbachev and his hard labour is realised now Germany one of the main economic locomotive.Rip

  100. June 17, 2017

    Just a very smart politician that brought solidarity and hope to Europe and we must all be thankful for his leadership and as now on full display in modern Germany - yet forever to hold to account historical events for great lessons learned in the arts of recovery to humanity's tolerances in our complex world that surely our leader Mr. Trump would be well to study history and the arts of how historical narratives navigate towards the ideals of greatness relatively and with hope and audacity as our Noble Obama gave his seal of wisdom to history for all times....

    jja Manhattan, N.Y.

  101. Everybody who travels to and within the Schengen area (and marvels at the ease of doing so), has Helmut Kohl and François Mitterand to thank.

    So, thank you Mr. Kohl, and goodbye. Rest in peace.

  102. In the late 80s I accompanied a class of 16-year-olds to Bonn, then the seat of the German government. When we were passing the chancellor's office, Helmut Kohl was standing at the entrance and asked us if we wanted to come inside for a tour. Of course we did. After being shown some rooms by a member of his staff, Kohl himself invited us into the cabinet room and his personal office. Some students could even sit down in his chair for a photo, while he talked to us about his work. Later we were also shown Adenauer's old office building Palais Schaumburg, which was in the park behind the newer office building. Great memories!
    Imagine that anywhere in the world today.

  103. The stunt Kohl pulled re Reagan's visit to Bitburg should not be forgotten, nor should Elie Wiesel's famous speech to Reagan prior to the visit which can be found on YouTube. To forget what Kohl did, an arguably unrepentant Hitler Youth, would be to forget history.

  104. Helmut Kohl, as most men his age, belonged to the Hitler Youth. Of course membership in that organization was required of all youngsters in NAZI society. I raise this fact, because in today's political climate, especially here in America, membership in such an "alt-right" organization would be the source of much political consternation, ridicule, condemnation, vilification, and isolation.

    Kohl was perhaps Germany's greatest leader of the 20th century he reunited a nation that had been divided politically and ideologically for nearly 50 years following WIIl; he brought a nation which, if not outright started, had contributed to the start of two World Wars back into fold of European nations. Not only a German leader, he was European leader, a world leader. RIP Helmut Kohl.

  105. MR. Gorbachev...REBUILD that wall!