Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (German: [ˈhɛlmʊt ˈkoːl]; born 3 April 1930) is a German conservative politician and statesman. He served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 (of West Germany 1982–90 and of the reunited Germany 1990–98) and as the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998.
His 16-year tenure was the longest of any German chancellor since Otto von Bismarck, and oversaw the end of the Cold War. Kohl is widely regarded as the main architect of the German reunification, and together with French president François Mitterrand, he is also considered the architect of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union.
Kohl and Mitterrand were the joint recipients of the Charlemagne Prize in 1988. In 1996, he won the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in International Cooperation. In 1998, Kohl was named Honorary Citizen of Europe by the European heads of state or government for his extraordinary work for European integration and cooperation, an honour previously only bestowed on Jean Monnet.
Kohl was described as "the greatest European leader of the second half of the 20th century" by U.S. Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Concerned about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Soviet superiority regarding missiles in Central Europe, Schmidt issued proposals resulting in the NATO Double-Track Decision concerning the deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe should the Soviets not disarm. He was re-elected as chancellor in November 1980. In October 1981, Schmidt was fitted with a cardiac pacemaker.