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Month Day
November 22

Angela Merkel becomes Chancellor of Germany

Angela Merkel is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany on November 22, 2005. The first woman to hold the position, Merkel emerged as one of the strongest forces in European politics over the subsequent decade. During her tenure, she was frequently called the most powerful woman in the world and the de facto leader of the European Union.

Merkel was raised and educated in East Germany. She earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry and worked as a research scientist, only entering politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall. After serving as a spokesperson for the caretaker East German government, she was elected to the Bundestag in the first election after unification in 1990. Helmut Kohl, the first chancellor of the reunified state, appointed her to successive cabinet positions and championed her career. When Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union was voted out in 1998, Merkel became the party’s Secretary-General and then its Leader. After a tight election and two weeks of negotiations with the CDU’s coalition partners, Merkel became Chancellor in 2005.

Merkel’s tenure was been characterized by her desire for a strong EU and by the crises it has faced. Governing from the center-right, by European standards, she drew criticism from the left after the 2008 financial crisis due to the perception that Germany was imposing severe austerity measures on Greece. In 2015, she made the controversial—but ultimately lauded—announcement that Germany would process asylum applications for Syrian refugees who had arrived elsewhere in Europe, including those being forced out of Hungary by far-right prime minister Viktor Orban. Merkel was close with American presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama but questioned the United States’ commitment to Europe after meeting with Donald Trump. She was also an outspoken critic of Britain’s decision to leave the EU and of Vladimir Putin.

Merkel stepped down as leader of her party in 2018 and did not run for re-election as Chancellor in 2021. She was succeeded as Chancellor by Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party. 

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Stealth bomber unveiled

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Margaret Thatcher resigns

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Blackbeard killed off North Carolina

Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, is killed off North Carolina’s Outer Banks during a bloody battle with a British navy force sent from Virginia. Believed to be a native of England, Edward Teach likely began his pirating career in 1713, when he became a crewman aboard a more

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated in 1963 while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas more

Soviets encircle Germans at Stalingrad

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First B-52 shot down over North Vietnam

The United States loses its first B-52 of the war. The eight-engine bomber was brought down by a North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile near Vinh on the day when B-52s flew their heaviest raids of the war over North Vietnam. The Communists claimed 19 B-52s shot down to date. more

Mike Tyson becomes the youngest heavyweight champ in history

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First Mercedes goes for a test drive

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John Hanson, so-called first president, dies

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