Latest Issue

Germany moves on

Helmut Kohl's former speechwriter explains how the Kohl system worked, and why it was doomed

By Michael Mertes   March 2000

The weimar republic lasted no longer than 14 years. Helmut Kohl was German chancellor for 16 years. The Federal Republic is now over 50 years old. For half of that time-from 1973 to 1998-Kohl was chairman of the CDU. This is how he came to embody the stable prosperity for which the second German democracy has become known. His centrist-conservative party was also strong enough to neutralise the fringes on the right. Far-right parties as we know them from Italy, France, Belgium and, of course, Austria, have not entered the German national legislature. This was good for Germany, a country…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect