Iain Martin: Margaret Thatcher Had a Point about GermanyRoundup: Media's Take
tags: Telegraph (UK), Germany, Margaret Thatcher, Iain Martin
Iain Martin is one of Britain's leading political commentators. A former editor of The Scotsman and deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, he's currently writing a book about the financial crisis.
...In Graham Stewart's superb history of Britain in the 1980s (Bang!), he captures the sense of outrage when Margaret Thatcher expressed grave reservations about the reunification of Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall....
When Charles Powell, Thatcher's private secretary, summoned a group of leading historians to Chequers, on 24 March 1990, to discuss the implications of reunification, the news leaked. Powell had prepared a paper for the occasion which summarised the German national characteristics as "angst, aggressiveness, assertiveness, bullying, egotism, inferiority complex (and) sentimentality." The historians were generally appalled. In her public and private utterances the Iron Lady, a creature of the Cold War, seemed incapable of adapting to historic changed circumstances. Many Tory MPs were horrified that their leader and her inner circle seemed so out of step with mainstream continental opinion....
Conditioned by the aftermath of the Second World War and the Great Power interplay of the decades that followed, Thatcher missed that Germany had become a largely pacifist nation which rejected its martial past. But the idea that unification, followed by European monetary union, would strengthen Germany to the point that it would again dominate the continent looks pretty prescient now....
comments powered by Disqus
- Historian Tom Engelhardt Revisits His First Piece of Critical History – 48 Years Later
- Heather Cox Richardson: Trump isn’t the first president to compare himself to Jesus — the last one who did ‘planned to lead his white supremacist supporters to victory’
- Historians' archival research looks quite different in the digital age
- Senate Historian Daniel S. Holt Featured on Political Theatre Podcast
- The Way We Do the Things We Do: Making History-Making Visible