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What's said is said!

Volker Wagener / at
September 19, 2015

The pace of reunification surprised many - and led to some misguided predictions. Some feared a "Fourth Reich." Others were enthusiastic about the "most beautiful revolution of all times." We look back in 12 sentences.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa

"Life in the GDR – that means life in the crumple zone. It also means: life under Erich Honecker. The citizens of the other German state show him what almost amounts to a quiet admiration; it always comes across in conversations."

Theo Sommer, Editor-in-chief of Die Zeit in his 1986 book "Travels in another Germany"

"The Wall will be standing in 50 and even in 100 years if the reasons for it are not yet removed."

Erich Honecker, 19 January 1989.

"Now that the Federal Republic of Germany has existed for over 40 years, we should not lie to a generation in Germany about the chances of a reunification. There aren't any."

Gerhard Schröder to the Bild newspaper on 12 June 1989 before becoming chancellor in 1998.

Gorbachev and Honecker six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall
Gorbachev and Honecker six weeks after the fall of the Berlin WallImage: picture-alliance/dpa

"... temporary crisis of growth"

Georges Marchais, head of the French Communist Party, on the state of socialism in eastern Europe just days after the fall of the Berlin Wall

"We beat the Germans twice, and now they're back!"

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the beginning of a European Community summit in Strasbourg

"Reunification? What historical nonsense!"

Oskar Lafontaine, deputy head of the SPD, on 18 December 1989 at a party conference in Berlin

"If the people of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic decide freely and democratically in favor of unity, there is no way of stopping that, short of military action,"

On January 16, 1990, British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd said this to Margaret Thatcher, who had long argued against German Reunification.

Until the very end, Margaret Thatcher preferred the two Germanys
Until the very end, Margaret Thatcher preferred the two GermanysImage: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images

"If we had got together with the French and the English, there would have been a different development. Germany would have become a confederation."

Valentin Falin, a "Germanist" and long-term consultant to Soviet leaders on the 15th anniversary of German Reunification. His Germany memorandum to Gorbachev went unheard, and this angered him for years.

September 1990: Kohl, Genscher and Gorbachev in Moscow
September 1990: Kohl, Genscher and Gorbachev in MoscowImage: Imago/S. Simon

"You are not part of the game!"

Hans Dietrich Genscher to Italian Foreign Minister Gianni De Michelis during a NATO meeting in early 1990 during which misgivings about reunified Germany were expressed openly.

"In my Frankfurt speech, (I) want to make the so-called right to German unity, in the sense of a reunified statehood, founder on the rock of Auschwitz."

Günter Grass in his diary (13.2.1990) ahead of a reading in Frankfurt.

"Unbeatable for years..." But then it took 24 years to win the World Cup againImage: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Kleefeldt

"Because of the Reunification and the GDR's players, Germany will be unbeatable for years."

Franz Beckenbauer, coach of the German team for the 1990 World Cup, straight after the final victory against Argentina that took place in Rome in June.

"Sometimes I don't think that it's so bad that we were not able to prevail then."

Marianne Birthler, Alliance '90/The Greens politician and human rights advocate and former Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, on the elections of March 18, 1990, whose outcome led to the GDR's fate being decided not by dissidents but by a party system imported from the West.

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