Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Europe Remains "A Question of War and Peace"

Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl warns today's crop of European leaders not to forget the lessons of Europe's bloody past.

"The current discussion in Europe and the crisis in Greece mustn't lead us to lose sight of or even question or retreat from the goal of a united Europe," Kohl wrote in a guest commentary published in Germany's best-selling daily, Bild, on Tuesday. 

Kohl repeated his mantra that the euro was about nothing less than preventing war. That view, he argued, still applied despite the decades of peace Europe has enjoyed.
"The evil spirits of the past have by no means been banished, they can always return. That means: Europe remains a question of war and peace and the desire for peace remains the driving force behind European integration," wrote Kohl.

He made a swipe at the new generation of European leaders who, unlike him, were born after World War II.

"For those who didn't live through this themselves and who especially now in the crisis are asking what benefits Europe's unity brings, the answer despite the unprecedented European period of peace lasting more than 65 years and despite the problems and difficulties we must still overcome is: peace."

Kohl served as German Chancellor for 16 years, the longest term since Otto von Bismark.   He presided through the end of the Cold War and the reunification of East and West Germany.  Kohl lost a brother in WWII.  He was drafted in the final weeks of the war.

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