Politics Stops at the Border

For months Chancellor Helmut Kohl tried to turn a mere legalism into votes. He insisted that the boundaries of postwar Poland, a third of which comprises former German territory, could be finally accepted only by a unified Germany. Kohl never really questioned Poland's borders; they have already been guaranteed by a treaty between Bonn and Warsaw. It was Kohl's lack of sensitivity that upset so many Germans and foreigners. In his effort to retain political support from survivors and families of some 12 million Germans expelled from the eastern regions of the old Reich, Kohl was willing to stoke an international...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!