The 30th anniversary of German unification – one to celebrate. 30 years after this donation of history. No matter how one assesses unity and progress in detail, it is a day when what has been created and achieved should be greatly appreciated. That as a necessary prelude to an assessment afterwards. It is pathetic.
No federal president has ever had as many speechwriters as the incumbent president. And yet his speech had failed; for it was only great in the disappointment it left behind.
First, there are these mistakes: we are actually hearing of peace agreements with Warsaw and Moscow. Regardless of the fact that – if – they should have been contracts: no! They would have resulted in reparations that should and should have been avoided under all circumstances. Rather, they were non-violent agreements, and they were controversial enough.
Sufficient legal experts said half of Germany could not have done that. Just read how, for example, in 1970 the so-called Bahr paper was contested, named after Willy Brandt’s adviser Egon Bahr. There should be one or the other in the presidential office who knows that.
Then: No reference to the 2 + 4 negotiations, at the end of which recognition of the Oder-Neisse border was only possible under international law. But not as a special act, to some extent demonstrative, but as a result of the (borderline ingenious, because historically and legally conscious) process to ensure unity.
Steinmeier does not say a word about Helmut Kohl
Dan: The Federal President rightly thanks the US for making unity possible. But suddenly he makes a distinction according to the kind of much criticized identity politics by thanking “this” America, that of these years, as the German head of state. It is as if we Germans were looking for what is comfortable for us, yes, as if we are allowed to, here too: no.
Then: We Germans are celebrating 30 years of unity – and the Social Democratic Federal President does not say a word, not a word about Helmut Kohl, the Chancellor of Unity. Because he was what? Christian Democrat? You don’t have to like Kohl, God doesn’t know, to recognize his contribution (which is incidentally related to it: to European unification) and his undeniable historical status. And on this occasion, as it should be appreciated. Mikhail Gorbachev was mentioned.
Then: 30 years later, it is cheap to summon a memorial to the civil rights activists of the GDR. And look back. It would have been more important on this day to make other proposals on how this country will truly become the best Germany that has ever existed, as the president said for today.
No Richard von Weizsäcker, no Johannes Rau would have made a speech like the Federal President, who in this historic year had the honor of speaking on our behalf Germans.