France opens its archives on Germany's unification

28th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

France opened its 1989 archives Tuesday, giving a glimpse of the momentous events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall which confirm French wariness and British hostility to German unification.

PARIS - With the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall on November 9, the archives, which will be on display in full next month, show the belated realisation in Paris of the imminence of unification.

In October 1989 an analysis of the "German question" by the French foreign ministry judged that reunification "does not appear realistic at this moment".

In a letter dated November 24, 1989 from Francois Mitterrand to East German leader Egon Krenz, the French president envisaged "perspectives of development in relations with the German Democratic Republic and the European Community".

Four days later West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl presented his 10-point plan for unification.

The French archives also confirm reports by the BBC in September on archives published by the British Foreign Office that showed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's hostility to unification.

In a March 13, 1990 telegram, held in the French archives, Thatcher is quoted by the French ambassador in London describing Chancellor Kohl as being "capable of anything. He has become a different man, he does not know who he is anymore, he sees himself as the master and is starting to act like it".


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