Duels: Helmut Kohl versus Franz Josef Strauß

Documentation, 45 minutes
Written and directed by Michael Wech

For years, the duel “Strauß versus Kohl” … – a conflict between two parties (CDU and CSU) and two men and, moreover, two bullheads – keeps German politics in suspense.
For the first time Franz Josef Strauß and Helmut Kohl clash violently in November 1976. Strauß wants to denounce the alliance between the parliamentary groups of CDU and CSU and expand the CSU …
A declaration of war. But Helmut Kohl gets knowledge of it. His war chest is full. He threatens to expand the CDU in Strauß’ homeland Bavaria, too. Strauss backs out. Four years later, he can pay him back. He wins the struggle for the conservative candidate as German chancellor. Kohl knows about Strauss’ bad chances. He supports his opponent in public – but is he leading him to the trap? On the next election, Kohl is sure of himself, his time will come.

A relationship full of suppressed rivalry, sometimes even hatred. But also full of pragmatism. Again and again, the two party leaders get it all together. They know how much they need each other. They meet to hike together and feed the press with pictures of harmony.  Strauß doesn’t believe in his chancellorship any longer. But he wants to quit his function as Bavarian Länder prime minister and move to Bonn as ‘super minister’, soon. Even under Kohl? Strauß: “I don’t care who is Chancellor below me.”

First Run:


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