The NYT reports:
Helmut Kohl, a towering postwar figure who reunified Germany after 45 years of Cold War antagonism, propelled a deeply held vision of Europe’s integration and earned plaudits from Moscow and Washington for his deft handling of the fall of the Berlin Wall, died on Friday at his home in Ludwigshafen, Germany, the Rhine port city where he was born. He was 87.
“We mourn,” his party, the Christian Democratic Union, said on Twitter in announcing his death.
With his diplomacy, resolve and readiness to commit huge sums to ending his country’s division, Mr. Kohl was remembered by many as a giant of epochal times that remade Europe’s political architecture, dismantled the minefields and watchtowers of the Iron Curtain and replaced the eyeball-to-eyeball armed confrontation between East and West with an enduring, if often challenged, coexistence between former sworn foes.
Merging a communist and capitalist country together into one country was a massive task, and one that could go wrong in so many ways.
Kohl handled it remarkably well, especially with the fears from some of what a reunited Germany would look like.
The fact Germany is now seen as one of strongest countries in the world in terms of its economy, and not a threat to anyone, is partly a credit to Helmut Kohl.