The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is on Sunday, Nov. 9. The fall of the wall quickly led to the reunification of East and West Germany, after 45 years apart.
But what many people don't know is that as the Soviet Union lost control over East Germany, a series of political events dramatically accelerated the construction of the euro.
Records held by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation show just how rattled other European leaders were. Below is a memorandum of a conversation between Thatcher and French President Francois Mitterrand, produced by British government staff:
The sudden prospect of reunification 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. They were behaving with a certain brutality and concentrating on reunification to the exclusion of everything else...
He had said to them that no doubt Germany could if it wished achieve reunification, bring Austria into the European Community and even regain other territories which it had lost as a result of the war. They might make even more ground than had Hitler.
In the end, Mitterrand realised that reunification was not really optional, but that the quick integration of Germany into a shared monetary system would blunt any lingering nationalism that a large, strong Germany might have.
West German chancellor Helmut Kohl had been dragging his feet on negotiations for what was then the European Monetary Union, the precursor to the eurozone.
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