Category Archives: History

Germany has got a new Chancellor

Washington Post: Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, takes over as Angela Merkel’s long goodbye has its last act.

“BERLIN — For the first time in nearly 16 years, Angela Merkel is not the chancellor of Germany. Her Social Democrat successor, Olaf Scholz, was sworn in around noon on Wednesday local time, after the Bundestag, the German parliament, voted him into office.
It has been a long road getting here. Merkel, a conservative Christian Democrat, has been treated to send-offs, both formal and informal, at home and abroad. Despite four terms in office — a reign that predates the iPhone — Merkel is leaving less than two weeks shy of the record for longest chancellorship. That’s held by Helmut Kohl, Merkel’s party mentor who oversaw German reunification in 1990.

She is the first German chancellor to retire, rather than lose, and one of the few heads of government to plan her exit from political life. On Wednesday, from her seat in the parliament’s visitor gallery, Merkel received a lengthy standing ovation from lawmakers and other officials before voting began.”

New York Times: Germany Live Updates: Merkel Hands Over Chancellor’s Office to Scholz.

“A dominant era of German politics ended on Wednesday as Angela Merkel handed over the chancellery to her successor, opening a new chapter for Europe’s biggest democracy.

For the first time in 16 years, Germany will now have a center-left government led by a new chancellor. And that leader, Olaf Scholz, finds himself in the difficult spot of trying to live up to the high expectations set by Ms. Merkel, under whose stewardship Germany became Europe’s leading power for the first time in modern history.

For over a decade, Ms. Merkel steered her country and the continent through a series of crises. She leaves power after a drawn-out goodbye — she announced in 2018 that she would not seek re-election — and as the most popular politician in her nation.

On Wednesday, as lawmakers gathered in Parliament to confirm Mr. Scholz as chancellor, Ms. Merkel was greeted with a standing ovation that lasted almost a minute. She then took a seat in the visitors’ gallery.”

BBC: Germany’s Olaf Scholz takes over from Merkel as chancellor.

“Olaf Scholz has been been sworn in as Germany’s new chancellor, formally taking power after Angela Merkel’s historic 16 years as leader.
He promised he would do all he could to work towards a new start for Germany.
As she left the chancellery, ending a 31-year political career, Mrs Merkel told her former vice-chancellor to approach the task “with joy”.”

More at Deutsche Welle:

Olaf Scholz formally sworn in as German chancellor.

Olaf Scholz: Germany’s new chancellor is level-headed and pragmatic.

Opinion: Cool, calm and collected — Merkel leaves but her political style remains.

Mr. Feynman goes to Washington

BBC: The Challenger Disaster. (YouTube, 1.5 hours)

This movie tells the story of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and Richard Feynman‘s work in the Rogers Commission.

By the way, you can watch the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident Hearing of February 25, 1986, on YouTube – all 5.5 hours of it. And here is Feynman’s demonstration that the O-rings lose their flexibility in ice water (YouTube, 1:16min).

Kürzlich lief in der ARD eine deutsche Synchronfassung des Films unter dem Titel Challenger – ein Mann kämpft für die Wahrheit. (ARD Mediathe, 1,5 Stunden, verfügbar bis 28.11.2021 05 Uhr)

9/11 twenty years on

Of course this is all over the news, so I’ll share just a few links.

Fray: Missing Pieces, which was published just a few days after the attacks.

“On September 11, 2001, an unthinkable act of terrorism occurred in New York City and Washington DC. It left holes in our lives, holes in the skyline, holes in our spirit. These are some of the stories of those who were there. These are our missing pieces.”

History: 102 Minutes That Changed America. (YouTube, 1 hour 36 minutes)

“History’s Emmy® Award-winning, and critically acclaimed documentary chronicled the terror of 9/11 in real-time. It is a minute by minute account of the catastrophe unfolding, using footage from numerous sources, including personal camcorder footage, police and fire department recordings, and in-the-moment commentary from first responders and witnesses. This anniversary edition includes interviews and perspectives from those featured in the film, and people who can speak to the events that followed the attack.”

Anil Dash: Twenty is Myth.

“Every year, for twenty years now, I’ve written an observance of this day. Sometimes it’s for myself, sometimes it’s for the small cohort of folks who’ve checked back in with me on this day every year since then, a group which has shrunk a bit over the years. But this was the first year I thought, “maybe I shouldn’t do this anymore”. Because the events of that day are not remembered in society, or honored by our culture, in a way that resembles the feelings that I, and so many others, had in the moment. It’s degenerated fully into myth, some parts good, most of it pretty awful, and even taking part in the observances feels like amplifying this larger, destructive myth that’s been constructed.

It’s impossible to accurately represent the grief, the confusion, the absurdity of that day, let alone the months that followed.”

mRNA-Technologie aus der Krebsforschung für einen Impfstoff gegen das Virus

Der Bundespräsident: Gespräch mit Özlem Türeci und UÄŸur Åžahin in der Reihe #miteinander. (Video, 45min)

“Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier hat am 24. März ein Gespräch mit den Impfstoff-Entwicklern Özlem Türeci und UÄŸur Åžahin auf seinen Social Media Kanälen veröffentlicht. Im Anschluss an die Verleihung des Großen Verdienstkreuzes mit Stern des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland an die beiden Biontech-Gründer sprach er mit ihnen über ihre Erfahrungen in der Forschung und ihre Arbeit als Wissenschaftler und Unternehmer.”