Lothar de Maizière

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Lothar de Maizière
Lothar de Maizière 2011.jpg
Prime Minister of East Germany
In office
12 April 1990 – 2 October 1990
President Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
Preceded by Hans Modrow
(as Prime Minister of East Germany)
Succeeded by Helmut Kohl (as Chancellor of Germany)
Deputy Prime Minister of East Germany
(with Christa Luft and Peter Moreth)
In office
18 November 1989 – 12 April 1990
President Egon Krenz
Manfred Gerlach
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
Prime Minister Hans Modrow
Preceded by Günther Kleiber
Alfred Neumann
Succeeded by Klaus Reichenbach
Minister of Church-Affairs of East Germany
In office
18 November 1989 – 12 April 1990
President Egon Krenz
Manfred Gerlach
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
Prime Minister Hans Modrow
Preceded by Klaus Gysi
(as Minister of Church-Affairs of East Germany)
Succeeded by Herbert Schirmer
(as Minister of Culture of East Germany)
Minister for Special Affairs of Germany
(with Rudolf Seiters, Hans Klein, Sabine Bergmann-Pohl, Günther Krause, Rainer Ortleb and Hansjoachim Walther)
In office
3 October 1990 – December 17, 1990
President Richard von Weizsäcker
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born (1940-03-02) 2 March 1940 (age 74)
Nordhausen, Germany
Nationality German
Political party Christian Democratic Union (East Germany)
Profession Musician, lawyer, politician

Lothar de Maizière (German pronunciation: [də mɛˈzi̯ɛːɐ̯]; born 2 March 1940) is a German Christian Democratic politician. In 1990, he served as the only democratically elected prime minister of the German Democratic Republic, and as such was the last leader of an independent East Germany.

De Maizière was born in Nordhausen, Thuringia, and attended the ancient Berlinisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster, where he was one of the last pupils before the school closed in 1958. He next studied viola at the Hanns Eisler College of Music in East Berlin from 1959 to 1965. He played in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra before going on to study law (by distance learning, through the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) from 1969 to 1975.

A longtime member of the East German Christian Democratic Union, de Maizière helped oust the party's pro-Communist leadership after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was elected the party's chairman in December. In the first—and as it turned out, only—free election held in East Germany, de Maizière was elected to the Volkskammer. One month later, he succeeded Hans Modrow as Premier and held this position from 12 April until 2 October 1990. He ran on a platform of speedy reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany (from 1949 to 1990, West Germany). As premier, de Maizière signed the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (the so-called "2+4 treaty"), which ended the four wartime allied powers' rights and responsibilities in Berlin and Germany, and which preceded German reunification. The treaty provided that it would be signed by the four allies and the two Germanies but ratified only by newly reunified Germany and the allies. In accordance with that treaty, East Germany ceased to exist on 3 October, and its territory was reunited with the Federal Republic.

After German reunification, he was appointed Minister for Special Affairs in the CDU government of Helmut Kohl, until his resignation on 17 December 1990 amid rumours that he had worked for the East German Stasi.

De Maizière belongs to a noble family who, as Huguenots, fled France for asylum in Prussia, late in the seventeenth century. He is a son of the lawyer Clement de Maizière. His uncle Ulrich de Maizière was Inspector General of the Bundeswehr (the West German Armed Forces). His cousin Thomas de Maizière is a close advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel and currently serving as the Federal Minister of the Interior (since 17 December 2013) in the third cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Notable quotation[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Hans Modrow
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic
1990
Succeeded by
Post abolished
The territory of the German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany under Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cited in Craig Whitney, "Instead of Barbed Wire, Resentment Now Divides Germans." New York Times, October 14, 1994, p. A6.