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Checkbook Diplomacy in 1991 (Retrospective Account, 1995)

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As the most important transfer point for American and British troops, Germany was far more involved in the war against Iraq than was generally realized. We had allowed the United States to use its installations on our territory for their military actions, and Germany allowed U.S. planes to fly over and land in our territory. We further supported the transport of U.S. and British units stationed in Germany to the Persian Gulf. Particularly during the second phase of deployment of allied forces beginning in November 1990, almost 900 German freight trains, 450 Rhine boats, and land vehicles transported the bulk of the U.S. and the British Rhine forces’ equipment to the ports of Bremerhaven, Nordenham, Emden, Rotterdam, and Antwerp within a few weeks. The German air force also served as an important tool in transportation, not only as part of several humanitarian missions but in more than 250 military actions by American, British, and Dutch forces.

Germany’s financial aid to the alliance in 1990–91 amounted to approximately 18 billion Deutschmarks; of that, 10.3 billion Deutschmarks—more than half the total amount—went to the United States. Unlike many other nations, Germany delivered the full amount on the promised date. Included in part of the total sum were contributions of 800 million Deutschmarks to Great Britain and 300 million Deutschmarks to France. By 1993 Turkey, in addition to Germany’s regular contribution to that nation’s defense forces within NATO, received additional aid from German arms reserves worth 1.5 billion Deutschmarks.

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Source of English translation: Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Rebuilding a House Divided: A Memoir by the Architect of Germany’s Reunification, translated by Thomas Thornton. New York: Broadway Books, 1998, pp. 477-79, 482-84. © 1998 Wolf Jobst Siedler Verlag, Munich, in the Random House Publishing Group.

Source of original German text: Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Erinnerungen [Reminiscences]. Berlin: Siedler, 1995, pp. 907-08, 919-21.

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