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Helmut Kohl
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Helmut Kohl

Helmut Kohl

Order: 6th Federal Chancellor
Term of Office: October 1, 1982-October 27, 1998
Predecessor: Helmut Schmidt
Successor: Gerhard Schröder;
Date of Birth: April 3, 1930
Date of Death:
Political Party: CDU

Dr. Helmut Kohl (born April 3, 1930) was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998.

Born April 3, 1930 in Ludwigshafen, Germany, Kohl participated in the late stage of the WWII as a teen age soldier. He joined the Christian-Democratic Union (CDU) in 1947. He then went on to earn a dr. phil. (ph.d.) degree in history. From 1969-1976 he was Minister President of the Rhineland-Palatinate state, after which he became a member of the Federal Parliament to be the leader of the CDU opposition against the government led by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of the time.

On October 1, 1982, he succeeded Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor by means of a Constructive Vote of No Confidence, the only one in post-war German history that was successful to date. Kohl holds the record of being the longest-serving Chancellor of Germany since Otto von Bismarck, until being succeeded by Gerhard Schröder on October 27, 1998 after a landslide victory of the SPD in the 1998 federal elections.

Helmut Kohl also was the leader of the CDU party from 1973--1998.

He was married to Hannelore Kohl and has two sons.

Kohl is widely recognized even by his political adversaries for managing the process of German reunification that started with the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, and formally completed on October 3, 1990. Then on December 2 that year, a coalition led by Chancellor Kohl won the first free all-German elections since 1932. While not all has been well economically in Germany during and since his government, most people would agree that he managed to convince international leaders that a unified Germany would represent no threat to its neighbors by tying German reunification with the tighter integration of Germany into the European Union.

Kohl's political heritage has been damaged by a massive party financing scandal starting in 1999, when it was discovered that the CDU had received and maintained illegal funding under his leadership. Investigations by the German Parliament into the sources of illegal CDU funds, mainly stored in Geneva bank accounts, revealed two sources: 1. Sales of German tanks to Saudi Arabia (kickback question), 2. Privatisation fraud in collusion with the late French President François Mitterrand who wanted 2,550 unused allottments in the former East Germany for the then French owned Elf Aquitaine. In December 1994 the CDU majority in the Bundestag enacted a law that nullified all rights of the current owners. Over 300 million DM in illegal funds were discovered in accounts in the canton Geneva. The fraudulently acquired allotments were then privatised as part of Elf Aquitaine and ended up with TotalFinaElf after amalgamation.

Helmut Kohl himself claimed that Elf Aquitaine has offered (and meanwhile made) a massive investment in East Germany's chemical industry together with the takeover of 2,000 gas stations in Germany which were formerly owned by national oil company Minol. Elf Aquitaine is supposed to have financed CDU illegally as ordered by François Mitterrand, as it was usual practice in African countries.

In 2003 it became known that Helmut Kohl was paid 300,000 € (then 600,000 Deutsche Mark) by private television mogul Leo Kirch for an advisory contract. Rather delicate, reckoning the fact that only through reforms championed by Helmut Kohl in the Eighties Leo Kirch had been put into the position to build his private television empire.

Table of contents
1 See also
2 Kohl's First Ministry, 4 October 1982 - 29 March 1983
3 Kohl's Second Ministry, 29 March 1983 - 11 March 1987
4 Kohl's Third Ministry, 12 March 1987 - 17 January 1991
5 Kohl's Fourth Ministry, 18 January 1991 - 15 November 1994
6 Kohl's Fifth Ministry, 15 November 1994 - 27 October 1998

See also

Kohl's First Ministry, 4 October 1982 - 29 March 1983

Kohl's Second Ministry, 29 March 1983 - 11 March 1987

Changes

Kohl's Third Ministry, 12 March 1987 - 17 January 1991

Changes

Kohl's Fourth Ministry, 18 January 1991 - 15 November 1994

Changes

Kohl's Fifth Ministry, 15 November 1994 - 27 October 1998

Changes
Preceded by:
Helmut Schmidt
Chancellor of Germany
1982-1998
Succeeded by:
Gerhard Schröder