blends primary research and interviews with key actors in France and Germany to take readers behind the scenes of world governments as a new Europe was formed. Schabert had unprecedented, exclusive access to French presidential archives and here focuses on French diplomacy not only to dispel the notion that Mitterrand was reluctant to accept reunification but also to show how successful he was in bringing it about.
Although accounts of U.S. officials regarding the reunification of Germany boast of American leadership that guided European affairs, Schabert offers a Continental perspective that is far more complex. He reveals the constructive role played by France as he re-creates not only French cabinet meetings but also communications between Mitterrand and George H. W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, Margaret Thatcher, and other world leaders. Along the way, he provides new insight into such major episodes as the fall of the Berlin Wall, European Council summits, the German-Polish border dispute, Germany’s membership in NATO, and the final settlement of reunification.
Schabert’s work is a major piece of scholarship that clearly shows the decisive role that France played in the orchestration of German reunification—by making the “German question” a European question. A primary source in its own right, this book dramatically reshapes our understanding of not only reunification but also the end of the Cold War and the construction of a New Europe.