Angela Merkel was born in Hamburg in 1954 (Federal Republic of Germany). Shortly after her birth, her family made the unusual choice of moving to the East. Her father, a pastor in the Lutheran church, then founded a seminary in the German Democratic Republic and became director of a home for handicapped persons. He refrained from making any public criticism of the regime and enjoyed a privileged social status, having two cars and making frequent trips to the West.
Angela Merkel was a brilliant student, graduating as a doctor of physics. She married a physician, Ulrich Merkel, whom she soon divorced. She then moved in with Professor Joachim Sauer, divorced like herself but already the father of two children. Angela Merkel obtained a research post in quantum physics at the Academy of Sciences.
At the same time, she became politically involved in the Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth), the state organisation for young people. She rose within the organisation to the post of Secretary of the Agitprop department, becoming one of the main experts in political communication in the communist dictatorship. For professional and political reasons, she often travelled within the Soviet bloc, above all to Moscow, particularly since she spoke Russian fluently.
Although for many years hoped and prepared for, the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 nevertheless took all governments by surprise. The CIA attempted to take over by recruiting senior individuals under the old system who were willing to serve the USA like they had previously served the USSR.
One month later, Merkel changed sides from one day to the next and joined the Demokratischer Aufbruch (Democratic Revival), a new movement inspired by the West German Christian Democrat party. She immediately took over the same functions that she had held before, except that the position was now, in West German terminology, “Press spokesperson”.
However, it soon became known that the president of Demokratischer Aufbruch, Wolfgang Schnur, had been a collaborator of the Stasi, the political police under the communist dictatorship. Merkel herself informed the press of this painful news, obliging Schnur to resign and enabling herself to be appointed in his stead as president of the movement.
Following the last parliamentary elections in the GDR, she joined the government of Lothar de Maizière, becoming the latter’s spokesperson, although Demokratischer Aufbruch only picked up 0.9% of the votes. During this period of transition, she was actively involved in the “2+4” negotiations that ended Berlin’s quadripartite status and the allied occupation, as well as in the negotiations aimed at reunifying Germany. In order, as she said, to avoid a mass exodus from the East to the West, she argued strongly in favour of getting the GDR to join the market economy and the Deutschmark zone.
Her partner, Joachim Sauer, was recruited by the US company Biosym Technology, spending a year at San Diego (California) at the laboratory of this Pentagon contractor. He then joined Accelrys, another San Diego company carrying out contracts for the Pentagon. For her part, Angela Merkel was perfecting her English, which she soon spoke fluently.
Once the GDR had been reunified with the Federal Republic and the Demokratischer Aufbruch had become part of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Angela Merkel was elected member of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, and joined Helmut Kohl’s government. Although strict in matters of morals, he selected this young childless divorcee from the East living with a partner as Minister for Family, Youth and Women.
Within 14 months, the communist Agitprop leader of the DDR youth movement had become a Christian Democrat minister of Youth in the Federal Republic. Incidentally, she achieved very little in her first period as minister.
Continuing her career within the CDU, Angela Merkel launched an unsuccessful bid to get herself elected president of the Brandenburg regional party. However, Lothar de Maizière, who had become deputy president of the national party, was convicted of having distant relationships with the East German political police and was obliged to resign, to be replaced by Merkel.
In 1994, Klaus Töpfer, the Minister of the Environment, the Protection of Nature and Nuclear Security, was appointed director of the UN environment programme, following a series of clashes with the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which accused him of underestimating economic reality. Helmut Kohl then ended the crisis by appointing his protégée Merkel as Töpfer’s replacement. Immediately after assuming office, Merkel sacked all the senior officials of her ministry who had remained loyal to her predecessor. It was during this period that she formed a friendship with her French counterpart at the time, Dominique Voynet.
In 1998, Chancellor Kohl informed the USA of his opposition to an international intervention in Kosovo, while the Social Democrats under Gerhard Schröder and the Greens under Joschka Fischer compared Slobodan Milosevic to Adolf Hitler and were calling for a humanitarian war.
The pro-US press then thundered against the Chancellor, accusing him of the economic difficulties that the country was suffering from as a result of reunification. In the September 1998 elections, the Christian Democrats were swept out of power by a wave of red and green, Schröder becoming Chancellor and appointing Fischer his Foreign Minister.
However, Helmut Kohl and his closest associates had apparently accepted money from obscure sources for the CDU, but refused to reveal the names of the donors, arguing that they had given their word. Angela Merkel then published a courageous article in the Foreign Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in which she distanced herself from her mentor. In this way, she forced him to withdraw from the party, with Wolfgang Schäuble, CDU party president, resigning shortly afterwards. Thus, in the name of public morality she grabbed the presidency of the party.
From then on, Angela Merkel was publicly supported by two press groups. Firstly, she was able to count on the support of Friede Springer, who had inherited the Axel Springer group (180 newspapers and magazines, including Bild and Die Welt). The group’s journalists are required to sign an editorial agreement laying down that they must work towards developing transatlantic links and defending the state of Israel.
Angela Merkel can also rely on her friend Liz Mohn, director of the Bertelsmann group, the number 1 in the European media world (RTL group, Prisma group, Random House group, etc.). Ms. Mohn is also vice-president of the Bertelsmann Foundation, an intellectual pillar of Europe-American relationships.
Angela Merkel relies on the advice of Jeffrey Gedmin, specially dispatched to Berlin to assist her by the Bush clan. This lobbyist first worked at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) under Richard Perle and Mrs. Dick Cheney. He enthusiastically encouraged the creation of a Euro with Dollar parity exchange rate. Within the AEI, he led the New Atlantic Initiative (NAI), which brought together all the America-friendly generals and politicians in Europe. He was then involved in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by “discouraging European calls for emancipation.” Finally he became the administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies (CCD), which argues in favour of a two-speed UN, and became director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin. Subsequently he turned down the offer from his friend John Bolton of the post of deputy US ambassador to the UN so as to be able to devote himself exclusively to Angela Merkel.
In 2003, the State Department entrusted Jeffrey Gedmin and Craig Kennedy with a huge programme of “public diplomacy”, in other words propaganda, including the clandestine funding of journalist and opinion formers in Western Europe.
In 2003, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opposed the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. Angela Merkel then published a courageous article in the Washington Post in which she rejected the Chirac-Schröder doctrine of European independence, affirmed her gratitude and friendship for “America” and supported the war.
In May 2004, she established a new situation by pushing through the election as President of the Federal Republic of the banker Horst Köhler, main author of the Maastricht Treaty and creator of the Euro, later president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and director of the IMF. She then began a “patriotic” campaign against radical Islamism.
Throughout the 2005 electoral campaign she criticised the increase in unemployment figures and the Social Democrats inability to deal with it, gaining for the CDU a lead of 21 percentage points in public opinion polls. It was then that her mysterious adviser, Jeffrey Gedmin, published an open letter to her in Die Welt. After criticising the German economic model, he wrote: “Before advancing the country, you need to defeat intellectually those nostalgic individuals who are dragging their feet. If Sarkozy succeeds Chirac, France might experience an upswing. It would be regrettable if Germany continued to decline.” In reply to this invitation, Merkel finally revealed her solutions. She promoted one of her advisers, the former Constitutional Court judge Paul Kirchhof, and entrusted him with the Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (Initiative for the New Social Market Economy). She announced the abolition of graduated income tax, proposing that the rate should be the same for those who only just have what is necessary and those who live in luxury. The outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, severely criticised this proposal in a televised debate. The CDU’s lead was decimated, and in the actual election, the CDU polled 35% of the votes and the SPD 34%, the remainder being spread amongst a number of small parties. The Germans didn’t want Schröder any longer, but nor did they want Merkel. Following long and laborious negotiations, a Grand Coalition was agreed, with Merkel, although Chancellor, obliged to surrender half of the minister posts to her opponents.
She pushed through the participation of a German contingent in the multinational force under US command in Afghanistan. Then, when Israel intervened in Lebanon, she successfully achieved the involvement of the German navy in the FINUL, arguing that “if Germany’s raison d’être is to guarantee Israel’s right to exist, we cannot say, now that this existence is threatened, that we will do nothing.”
As of 1 January 2007, Angela Merkel is the president of the European Union. She has never made any secret of her intention to force France and the Netherlands to accept the equivalent of the Constitutional Treaty project that they both rejected in referendums, nor of her intention to relaunch the proposed merger of the North American Free Trade Area and the European Free Trade Area, thereby creating a “great transatlantic market” to use the words once pronounced by Sir Leon Brittan.