Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Mitterrand and Kohl at Verdun

with 6 comments

In the entire Europe there is no battlefield more blood-stained than Verdun, where in 1916 nearly 800,000 French and German soldiers were killed or wounded in an inconclusive fight over a few square miles of territory. On 22 September 1984, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met the French president François Mitterrand at the Douaumont cemetery in Verdun. In front of the charnel house in which the remains of 150,000 French soldiers rest, two leaders stood in rain. Mitterrand extended a hand to Kohl, which the latter held in minutes-long gesture which became a symbolic gesture of reconciliation as much as Willy Brandt’s Warsaw Kneefall.

The German Press described the scene as, “A picture that will go down in history”. It was made more powerful by the fact that Kohl’s father during WWI and Mitterrand himself during WWII had fought in the surrounding hills. As Europe’s leading statesmen during the 80s, Mitterrand and Kohl forged close personal ties despite their political differences — there were even allegations that Mitterrand supported secret donations to help finance Kohl’s re-election campaign. Together, they laid the foundations for pan-European projects, such as Eurocorps, Arte, the Maastricht Treaty and the Euro.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 29, 2010 at 3:10 am

Posted in Politics, War

Tagged with , ,

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. In the entire Europe there is no battlefield more blood-stained than Verdun, where in 1916 nearly 800,000 French and German soldiers were killed or wounded in an inconclusive fight over a few square miles of territory. On 22 September 1984, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met the French president François Mitterrand at the Douaumont cemetery in Verdun.

    nike official site

    August 28, 2011 at 9:24 am

  2. [...] declaration that European construction had provided a durable alternative to war was made by Mitterrand and Kohl at Verdun in 1984. The Union’s largest expansion came in 2004, when most of the old Warsaw Pact [...]

  3. […] Mitterand en de Duitse bondskanselier Helmut Kohl mocht Jünger, de antidemocraat van weleer, in 1984 bij het monument van Douaumont een loflied op het verenigd Europa aanheffen. Wijsheid komt, […]

  4. […] where 700,000 German and French soldiers were slaughtered during the Great War, these two men stood hand-in-hand commemorating the friendship of two proud […]

  5. […] dingen die volken elkaar hebben aangedaan. Pas in 1984 kwamen Frankrijk en Duitsland – Mitterand en Kohl – tot een moment van verzoening over wat er in Verdun was gebeurd in de Eerste Wereldoorlog. […]

    Gedenken | Aico's weblog

    September 18, 2013 at 10:56 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,303 other followers

%d bloggers like this: