Comment: Bush’s death Germany loses a real friend


The funeral service for George H. W. Bush paid tribute to the life of the last President that served in the Second world war. His death marked a turning point for Germany and the USA, writes Michael Knigge.

About two hours in the morning all of the living presidents in the National Cathedral in Washington to honor one of their own, gathered on this cold December. High-ranking guests from abroad were present, among them German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who delivered a speech at the funeral.

US President, Donald Trump was invited this Time – in contrast to the memorial service for the Republican Senator John McCain three months ago. It speaks for the character of George H. W. Bush and his family, that they wanted the Land. At least for that one Moment, the current political conflict, the party affiliation and the deep social cleavages should be pushed aside. And all this despite the fact that Bush had hidden his disdain for Trump and his style of politics never.

A Part Of Success

On the surface, is also managed. All living presidents were present and no one has openly made reference to Trump and the poisoned political climate. This success cannot hide the deep political and personal rift between Bush and Trump.

It was also unspoken, clearly, as important aspects of Bush’s life, personality, and presidency were retold. For example in his support for the German reunification. Many other international heads of state at the time, hesitated or against a United Germany. George Bush has supported forces.

Support for Germany

Particularly moving is his attitude is if you consider that he had lost as a soldier in the Second world war almost all his life. In retrospect, the fall of the Berlin wall, the peaceful end of the Cold war and German unity appear almost unavoidable like. But they weren’t. Just imagine how things are with the current US President could have. Bush supported German unity, because he was convinced that the country had successfully put in place with his past. And because he believed in the strength and stability of German democracy.

DW correspondent Michael Knigge

The re-United country, the US President even offered a unique partnership, a leadership role in the world. Something that can’t understand the German, probably, even today, really. All subsequent presidents have seen in Germany an important Partner and ally. In the case of Bush, the ties went deeper. He was a true friend of Germany.

Cross-Party Domestic Policy

Thanks to his foreign policy, Bush is often regarded as a successful President. He can also boast of internal political successes of. He signed the “Americans with Disabilities Act”, of the prohibition of discrimination of people with disabilities. In times of a democratic-dominated Congress, Bush fought promise against his Republican party and his own election and reached an agreement that the taxes were raised in order to control the inflated budget.

That cost him probably his re-election, was later regarded as a crucial first step to a policy of economic responsibility. And after his defeat in the election against Bill Clinton, he developed close personal relations to his successor and to Hillary Clinton, who were detested by the majority of Republicans.

President of all Americans

These character traits seem nostalgic, almost bizarre in a time in which it seems the policy only to arrive, to win at any price against the other side.

In the process, Bush’s record was certainly not spotless. There are many aspects of his presidency that are deeply controversial. Including a racist fall campaign, the invasion of Panama, his reaction to the AIDS crisis, or the pardon of persons who were involved in the Iran-Contra affair advertising.

Nevertheless, George H. W. Bush was the last US President that has been accepted by most Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, as “their” President. Therefore, his death and his legacy really will mark a turning point in the history. Not only for Germany, also for the USA.