Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

Born: July 17, 1954 in Hamburg, West Germany
Nationality: German
Famous For: First female Chancellor of Germany
Awards: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic 2006, Vision for Europe Award 2006

Angela Dorothea Merkel is a popular German politician. She is a trained physicist who decided to venture into politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Angela has been the chairwoman of Christian Democratic Union Party since 2000 and she is actually the first woman to ever hold this office.

She is also the first female chancellor in Germany and is regarded as one of the European Union’s leading figures. Additionally, Angela Merkel is the first woman to become a leader in Germany since 1871 and the youngest chancellor since the Second World War.

Early Life

Angela Merkel, a chancellor and German stateswoman, was born in Hamburg, Germany, on July 17, 1954. She is the daughter of an English teacher and Lutheran pastor and she has one brother and a sister. She spent her childhood in a rural setting in Templin, north of Berlin, East Germany.

Angela participated in the compulsory communist youth program and attended the University of Leipzig to study physics. She earned her doctorate degree in 1978 after which she took a job at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry working in the capacity of a chemist.

Merkel’s Career in Leadership

When the Berlin Wall fell, Angela saw her entrance into politics. She started by joining the Democratic Awakening Party. She then became a spokeswoman for the first caretaker government, democratically elected in East Germany. Post-reunification, she was elected into the Bundestag.

While being a member of the Christian Democratic Union political party, commonly known as the CDU, Angela was appointed to the position of Minister for Women and Youth in Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s cabinet. She also served as the Minister for the Environment and Nuclear Safety under Helmut.

When Kohl was defeated in 1998, Merkel became the party’s Secretary General and soon rose to the position of chairperson, becoming the first lady to ever hold that position. In the 2005 national elections, she challenged the then-chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, and won narrowly by only three seats. As such, she was declared the chancellor of Germany. She was re-elected for that position in 2009.

In 2008, Angela became the first German chancellor to speak before Knesset, when she spoke during Israel’s 60th birthday.

Current Controversies

Angela Merkel has made headlines recently when she came out to accuse United States National Security Agency of spying on her by tapping her cell phone. Angela chided the US for this breech of personal privacy saying that spying on friends is never acceptable. Reports later revealed that the United States National Security Agency may have been spying on Angela since 2002.

The Future

Angela’s popularity has suffered a few setbacks through her second term as Europe continues to face financial crisis. However, the EU has looked to Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, to lead them through the trouble.

Merkel is known for pulling her government from the brink as well as helping Germany to recover from a recession, achievements that earned her the nickname, “Teflon Angie.” Merkel has held fast to pro-American and pro-Israeli stances and she continues to warn about Iran’s nuclear program.