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Sunday Late Night: Iron Lady Feared One Germany

The next time you hear an American commentator blathering on about the tough and resolute will of Great Britain’s Iron Lady Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who showed steel against the British unions and those dirty Argentinians (breaking the unions and humiliating a faraway islands’ defense force) take time to remember this: Maggie feared the Krauts.

And she did not fear them alone. Even the man who said Thatcher had "the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe" shared her fear of the Hun:

President Mitterrand [said] the sudden prospect of re-unification had delivered a sort of mental shock to the Germans – its effect had been to turn them once again into the bad Germans they used to be…

I’m sure Thatcher’s adviser Charles Powell, writing up that account of his boss’s lunch with the French leader, meant the Germans of the late nineteen-eighties, with their dreaded synth-pop "Dieter" music and distasteful commentary about touching monkeys. Surely there are no examples of Germans behaving badly from the more distant past that Mrs Thatcher might have been referring to (my emph)?

The reunification of Germany is not in the interests of Britain and Western Europe. It might look different from public pronouncements, in official communiqué at Nato meetings, but it is not worth paying ones attention to it. We do not want a united Germany. This would have led to a change to post-war borders and we can not allow that because such development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security.

Mrs Thatcher was talking one way publicly and another to the Soviets — when she asked that the taping of the meeting be turned off. If she was so unhappy about German unification, then what wall was her buddy St Ronnie talking about?

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Teddy Partridge

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