November 28 in German History

November 28, 1794

Death of Friedrich von Steuben in Remsen, New York (born in Magdeburg, Germany). Steuben was a Prussian officer who was induced by Benjamin Franklin to come to America on the side of the rebelling colonies. Arriving in 1777 he was placed in charge of the troops at Valley Forge. He retrained the forces and wrote a manual, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. The city of Steubenville, Ohio is named for him.

November 28, 1887

Birth of Ernst Röhm in Munich, Germany. Röhm was a member of the National Socialist Party (Nazi) before Hitler. He organized the SA (Sturmabteilung, storm troops; also called the Brownshirts). By 1934 Hitler began to see Röhm as a rival and began to be concerned about the power of the SA. He had Röhm shot.

November 28, 1989

Chancellor Helmut Kohl presents a 10-point plan for German reunification to the Bundestag:

First: Right away, immediate measures arising out of the events of the last few weeks, particularly the refugee movements and the new dimensions of travel, are necessary.

The Federal Government is prepared to give immediate practical assistance where that assistance is needed now. In the humanitarian sphere and in medical provision we shall help wherever it is wanted…

Second: The Federal Government will as hitherto continue cooperation with the GDR in all spheres of direct benefit to the people on both sides . . .

Third: I have offered to extend our assistance and our cooperation comprehensively when a radical change in the political and economic system in the GDR is bindingly decided and irreversibly set in motion. “Irreversibly” means for us that the GDR national leadership should come to agreement with opposition groups on constitutional change and on a new electoral law.

We support the demand for free, equal and secret elections in the GDR with the involvement of independent parties, including non-socialist ones. The SED’s power monopoly must be removed…

Fourth: Prime Minister Modrow spoke in his government statement of a community based on treaty. We are prepared to take up this idea.

Fifth But we are also prepared to take one further decisive step, namely to develop confederative structures between the two States in Germany, with the objective of then creating a federation, that is, a national federal system in Germany. This necessarily presupposes a democratically legitimated government in the GDR. . . How a reunited Germany will finally look is something no one today knows. But that unification will come if the people in Germany want it, of that I am certain.

Sixth: The development of German internal relationships remains embedded in the overall European process and in East-West relationships. The future architecture of Germany must be fitted into the future architecture of Europe as a whole. For this the West, with its concept of a lasting and just European system of peace, has rendered yeoman service.

Seventh: The European Community’s power of attraction and influence is and remains a constant factor in overall European development. We wish to strengthen it further. The European Community is now being called on to approach the reform-oriented States of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe with openness and flexibility.

We see the process of regaining German unity as a European matter. It must therefore also be seen in combination with European integration. In this sense, the European Community must keep itself open for a democratic GDR and for other democratic States of Central and South-Fastern Europe. The Community must not end at the Elbe, but must maintain openness eastward too.

Eighth: The CSCE process is and remains the core of this architecture of Europe as a whole, and must be pushed energetically forward. For this the existing CSCE forums must be taken advantage of…

Ninth: The overcoming of the splitting of Europe and the division of Germany requires far-reaching, speedy steps in disarmament and arms control. Disarmament and arms control must keep pace with political developments…

Tenth: With this comprehensive policy, we are working towards a situation of peace in Europe in which the German people can regain its unity in free self-determination. Reunification, that is, the regaining of Germany’s national unity remains the Federal Government’s political objective.


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