Twenty-five years on, it is hard for many to remember that nothing about German unification was preordained. Leaders at the time seized an extraordinary moment and created new realities on the ground. The twenty-fifth anniversary of Germany’s unification gives us the chance to remember and celebrate the remarkable outcome. Those reflections should also inspire us to look for opportunities today to make our world better.

When Germany elected a new government on 27 September 2009, it did so not with an eye to the party, economic, or political successes of the previous sixty years. Rather, the election displayed a startling realignment of the party system. This election, occurring as it did in the middle of a celebration of sixty years of the Federal Republic of Germany, can perhaps be seen as the beginning of a new period of German politics, and its impact on transatlantic relations will continue to be seen…