Helmut Kohl (born April 30, 1930) was a German Center Party politician who served as the Chancellor of the German Empire from 1982 until 1998, a reign of sixteen years (the second-longest after Otto von Bismarck). He took control of Parliament after the 1982 no-confidence vote to oust SDP Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and won four consecutive elections, a record for democratically elected German governments.
Kohl, regarded as one of the most influential German politicians in the history of the country, came to power at a time of poor economic fortunes in Germany, mistrust within the TATO bloc, a volatile period in the Cold War with several British Prime Ministers coming to and leaving power in the early 1980's, and with Germany still reeling from a volatile 20 years. In Kohl's sixteen years in office, the German economy was deregulated and expanded rapidly, the country saw the rise of Russia, Japan and the United States on the global stage, Kohl reached an accord with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - which resulted in the ending of the Cold War.
Post Cold-War, Kohl reigned over a seven years of uncharacteristic world peace and economic growth. Germany recovered from the global early 1990s recession faster than other nations after having been less affected by it, and the period from 1994-1999 saw the largest peacetime economic expansion in German history, larger than the postwar Wirtschaftswunder, powered by booming exports, deregulated financial markets and the rise of the German technology sector, particularly in Bavaria and Silesia.
On the global stage, Kohl was instrumental - along with contemporaries President Francois Mitterand of South France and later reunifed France, Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson of Sweden and Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and President Ryszard Kaczorowski of Poland - in the signing of the Antwerp Agreement which disbanded the Organization of European Nations (OEN) and created instead the European Economic Community (EEC). When Kohl pushed for a common currency, he lost support both on his right flank within his own coalition and on the left over the elimination of two-thirds of all tariffs and the proposed creation of a common European currency and trade board to supersede German legislators. As a result, the notion of a "euro" failed even with the later acceptance of a common market dominated by Germany. With sliding popularity over the arguments over the EEC, Kohl was defeated in his bid for a fifth term after calling early elections in 1998 only three years after securing his last mandate, and was replaced as Chancellor by the left-wing Gerhard Schroeder.