Back in the Day: a picture of Franco-German reconciliation

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Back in the Day: a picture of Franco-German reconciliation

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September 22, 1984. French President François Mitterand and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl join hands during a World War I memorial at the Douaumont cemetary near Verdun. It was on the fields of Verdun 68 years earlier that more than 300,000 German and French soldiers were killed in an inconclusive battle for just a few kilometres of land. For the memorial ceremony the two leaders stood in the rain and Mitterand – who had fought near Verdun in World War II – extended his hand to Kohl, whose father had also served in the same area during WWI. Kohl and Mitterand forged a close working relationship during the 1980s and the pair were instrumental in developing ambitious pan-European projects such as Europcorps, the Maastricht Treaty and the Euro. The Franco-German partnership is still regarded by many as the engine of European integration.

Also on September 22: Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (1862); Italian-American Italo Marchiony applies for a patent for the ice cream cone (1903); first broadcast of US television sitcom ‘Friends’ (1994).

Born on September 22: Michael Faraday (1791), Ségolène Royal (1953), Andrea Bocelli (1958), Chesney Hawkes (1971).