Κυριακή, Ιουλίου 01, 2012
Όταν έγινε η ένωση της Γερμανίας, μέλη της Γερμανικής βουλής τραγουδούσαν Ναζιστικά τραγούδια και ναζιστές έκαναν παρελάσεις στο Βερολίνο
Nicholas Ridley had described the EU as ‘a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe’, adding that giving up sovereignty to Brussels was as bad as giving it to Adolf Hitler.
But it emerged yesterday that while his public comments in 1990 cost him his career, similar sentiments were being privately shared by his own prime minister and France’s president Mitterrand.
‘Horror’: German Neo-Nazis march after the fall of the Berlin Wall
Around the same time – amid the euphoria of the fall of the Berlin Wall – Francois Mitterrand told Mrs Thatcher that a united Germany might ‘make even more ground than Hitler had’.
Over lunch at the Elysee Palace, the French leader talked about how reunification would see the re-emergence of the ‘bad’ Germans who had once dominated Europe.
Mrs Thatcher’s deep opposition to reunification and the true extent of Britain and France’s anxieties over a new Germany are revealed today in secret papers released by the Foreign Office ahead of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Shared concerns: In 1990 French President Francois Mitterrand warned Margaret Thatcher of the potential threat of a unified Germany
Controversial: Nicholas Ridley was forced to resign after airing his acerbic view of the Germans
One refers to Mrs Thatcher expressing horror on hearing reports that members of the Bundestag parliament in Bonn allegedly sang ‘Deutschland uber alles’ to celebrate the fall of the Wall.
While the event of 1989 is now regarded as a triumphant landmark in the history of post-war Europe, 20 years ago the imminent emergence of a united Germany raised real fears in London and Paris.
The depth of both leaders’ concerns are documented in memos written by Charles Powell, the then foreign affairs adviser to Mrs Thatcher, detailing discussions between the two leaders. The Berlin Wall came down in November 1989 but Germany was not formally reunited until October 1990.
Just two weeks after the Wall fell, however, West German chancellor Helmut Kohl announced a plan for reunification without consulting his European allies. That blueprint prompted several private meetings between Mrs Thatcher and Mr Mitterrand to discuss the German question.
One night in history: There was joy in Berlin as travel restrictions were lifted, but further afield Mrs Thatcher and President Mitterrand were nervous
At one meeting in Strasbourg on December 8, 1989, Mr Powell writes that Mr Mitterrand said Mr Kohl had no understanding of other nations’ sensitivities and was exploiting German ‘national’ feeling.
At the Elysee Palace lunch on January 20, 1990, he also warned that if Mr Kohl got his way, Germany could win more ground than Hitler ever did – and Europe would have to bear the consequences.
He told Mrs Thatcher that if Germany were to expand territorially, Europe would be back to where it had been one year before the First World War.
Another paper shows that Mrs Thatcher was astonished that Sir Christopher Mallaby, the British ambassador to Bonn, appeared to welcome the prospect of a united Germany.
The memos revealing conversations between Mrs Thatcher and President Mitterrand appear in the book Britain And German Unification 1989-90 – The Untold Story.
A united Berlin: Mrs Thatcher was horrified to hear reports of Bundestag members singing ‘Deutschland uber alles’ to celebrate the fall of the Wall