West German Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger today (Tuesday) gave a State of Nation speech in Bonn's Bundeshouse (Parliament) on the anniversary of the abortive East German uprising of June 17, 1953.
West German Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger today (Tuesday) gave a State of Nation speech in Bonn's Bundeshouse (Parliament) on the anniversary of the abortive East German uprising of June 17, 1953. The date is a national holiday in West Germany and the occasion prompted the Chancellor to take stock of the relations between East and West Germany.
In his speech, Chancellor Kiesinger said that West Germany's position remained unchanged in demanding self-determination for the whole German nation and in their refusal to recognise East Germany as a second German state. He argued that 17 million Germans had had a regime forced upon them and he could not recognize a state of affairs where the people concerned did not see themselves as a separate nation-state.
He did, however, renew his offer to the East German Communist government to meet for talks on ways of lessening the personal hardship caused by the country's division.
Although today's date is the nearest thing to a National day in West Germany, last year the government decided that a working day would be more fitting than picnics and visits to the zoo as a tribute to the East German workers who died when Soviet tanks and troops crushed the revolt 16 years ago. As a first step to breaking with tradition, the session at which the Chancellor spoke today, was a full-working day for Parliament.