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Edric O

Thatcher (and Mitterand, and Bush I) opposed German reunification

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...while claiming to support it in public.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6829735.ece

It seems Maggie Thatcher was particularly worried in 1989 and 1990 that the Germans would try to take over the world or something. Yes, there was some precedent for that sort of thing, but Germany in 1990 was not the same as in 1945. These paranoid fears are a testament to the fact that even the most powerful people in the world sometimes act irrationally - and, more importantly, that even the most powerful people in the world are sometimes stuck in the past, unable to recognize how much the world has changed.

Also, it shows that Western politicians were two-faced liars, but we already knew that.

And it's interesting to look at the attitude of Gorbachev and the Soviet leadership in that period. It has always been a mystery to me how a government could screw up so badly. Under Gorbachev, the Soviet Union went from being the second most powerful country in the world to utter and complete ruin in just 6 years. It seems Gorbachev and his associates, like their Western counterparts, simply did not understand what was going on.

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Diplomacy... Thatcher could've expected Gorbachov isn't going to last. By verbally supporting his politics, his opponents in Russia had more tools against him. Thus, she helped to ensure, that his fall will be much more destructive for the Soviet power. Gorbachov's rule ended so, because he did what he was expected to do.

Of course, without Russia overseeing it, things like the Oder-Neisse border or Benes decrees could have been revoked; these debates occured, but weren't watched so seriously as one would expect. So I can't say these expressions are to be taken otherwise than as a manipulative sweet-talk, refined for Gorbachev's team.

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I already knew about this as far as Mitterand and Thatcher were concerned. I didn't know that Bush1 was opposed as well.

Mitterand and Thatcher were both fairly chauvenistic politicians (I don't like either of them), so a more "down to earth" reason was that they didn't like a single Germany because it would be bigger in both population and GDP than both France and the UK. I doubt that either of them seriously expected a unified Germany would be a security threat to them, though it wouldn't surprise me by much.

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Well, to be fair, West Germany never officially recognized the post-war borders of Poland. If reunification had occurred earlier, in the 1950s or 1960s, it would have been very realistic to expect the newly reunited Germany to start making territorial demands on Poland. This was no longer a serious possibility by 1989, but Thatcher and Mitterand would have remembered the West German politics of their youth, in the immediate post-war period, when you could see political posters like these:

NeverOder-NeisselinevoteCDU.jpg

Never Oder-Neisse line [post-war German-Polish border]

Vote: CDU [Christian Democratic Union, the mainstream conservative party]

WiththeSPDfromBonnoverBerlinforafre.jpg

With the SPD [social Democratic Party of Germany]

from Bonn to Berlin

For a free, social, and united Germany

I'm sure present-day members of the CDU or SPD would have a heart attack if you showed them one of those. ;D

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It seems Maggie Thatcher was particularly worried in 1989 and 1990 that the Germans would try to take over the world or something.

I don't know about the UK side' date=' however for the french side fear was that Germany become an unequal partner:

[list']

[*]fear was that german industrial growth would belittle french political influence in EU

[*]another fear was about money, a stronger DM means an even weaker franc, that fear has been adressed by the

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Well, you don't wanna know how many Germans themselves opposed to that reunification and still do.

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Well, you don't wanna know how many Germans themselves opposed to that reunification and still do.

Hm, it would be interesting to know how actual is the theme of Bavaria's separation.

NeverOder-NeisselinevoteCDU.jpg

WiththeSPDfromBonnoverBerlinforafre.jpg

I'm sure present-day members of the CDU or SPD would have a heart attack if you showed them one of those. ;D

wow, I got it nearly ;D  die sind geeeiil

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It seems that Merkel is heading for her second term, this time with a CDU/FDP coalition.

Given the political landscape of Germany I'd personally prefer a "purple" coalition (liberals and social democrats) since I dislike christian democrats, but I'd still take them before the crypto-leninists that make up half of Die Linke so I'm happy.

Those election ads are neat, by the way. Would be better if the maps also included Austria  :D

I don't know about the UK side, however for the french side fear was that Germany become an unequal partner:

  • fear was that german industrial growth would belittle french political influence in EU
While this is understandable coming from France (or even Italy or the UK) I don't really see this as a "valid" argument. How do you suppose us "little countries" feel about French influence in the EU?
german politics is basically social regressions after social regressions, this is bad news for europeans because the european social model is essentially the german model adapted to each particular country
What sort of regression are we talking about, and what "social model"? The European Social Charter?
the germans think they pay too much too high for the EU institutions, up to now that money has bougth expansion to the East, but now that expansion is at end Germany wants to lessen its contribution, that's bad news for everyone else
My impression is that the Germans have always payed their bills without a lot of complaining, wich is remarkable because both the Netherlands and the UK did in fact raise a fuss when they realized they paid consistently more on a per capita basis. I'd say that if they've been complaining, they have every right to do so. And France is probably the last country who can reasonably oppose it, considering their net contribution.
as the expansion goes and Germany faces its own internal difficulties the french political influence is marginalized, plus negociating is more difficult partly because the germans feel they are to be credited for the money stability
Well, they do deserve some of the credit. The monetary system behind the Euro is largely inspired by the system that made the Deutsche Mark such a reliable currency. It's sad that Germany, too, bailed out of the Stability and Growth Pact.
the low german growth makes french (and EU) economy even more dependant to the USA economy
That would be chiefly their own concern, and I doubt they're very happy about it themselves. In any case I don't see how Europe as a whole would be worse off than if East Germany joined the EU as an independent nation.

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Well, i do not mean that reunification was a bad or undesirable EU move.

I just try to expose the reasons behind the Mitterand's reticence (although certainly part of it was irrational) and resignation.

What sort of regression are we talking about' date=' and what "social model"? The European Social Charter?[/quote']

I am talking about the slowly dismantled social protection systems.

While this is understandable coming from France (or even Italy or the UK) I don't really see this as a "valid" argument. How do you suppose us "little countries" feel about French influence in the EU?

You said it' date=' no matter how unfair is the French influence Mitterand certainly didn't want it to fade.

In any case I don't see how Europe as a whole would be worse off than if East Germany joined the EU as an independent nation.

Indeed, a politically divided Germany would be a worse situation.

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Indeed, a politically divided Germany would be a worse situation.

For the EU maybe. For Germany it wouldn't be too bad maybe. Like I said in my previous post, there are a lot of people who would be glad if the borders were still there (people on both sides think that way and it has nothing to do with some kind of "we don't like you" attitude). That doesn't mean anybody wants snipers back on the wall shooting at people who are trying to get out of East-Germany or any kind of suppression like there was in the past. But in many ways both sides would have maybe been better off alone because there a lot of (minor and major) differences between the west and the east side - economically, socially, politically, educationally... And while there maybe shouldn't be two completely seperated countries, two governments or some kind of separation might have been a better solution for everybody.

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