1 Oct 1982: In a no-confidence motion, Helmut Kohl replaces Social Democrat Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Unemployment in West Germany stands at 1.3 million.

6 March 1983: In an early election, Kohl's CDU/CSU centre-right coalition wins 48.8 per cent of the votes and its first mandate.

23 Nov 1983: After mass protests, parliament follows Kohl's urging and approves stationing of US Pershing-II nuclear missiles.

22 Sept 1984: Kohl and French President Francois Mitterrand seal Franco- German reconciliation by holding hands at Verdun.

5 May 1985: Kohl and US President Ronald Reagan controversially visit Bitburg cemetery, where SS soldiers are buried.

7 Sept 1987: Kohl receives East German leader Erich Honecker in Bonn. Kohl insists that Germany's post-war division is still an open question. Honecker disagrees.

9 Nov 1989: East Germans flood through Hungary and Czechoslovakia to the West. The Berlin Wall opens. Kohl interrupts a trip to Poland to rush home.

28 Nov 1989: Kohl announces a surprise 10-point programme to confederate the German states.

9 Feb 1990: Kohl pays lightning visit to Moscow and obtains promise from President Mikhail Gorbachev that Soviet Union will not oppose German reunification.

1 July 1990: Deutschmark becomes legal tender in E Germany.

16 July 1990: Kohl obtains agreement from Gorbachev that united Germany will remain in Nato and Soviet troops will be withdrawn by late 1994.

12 Sept 1990: The "2+4" Treaty granting full sovereignty to the united state is signed in Moscow by both German states and the four wartime allies. Mrs Thatcher signs grudgingly.

3 Oct 1990: The two Germanys merge at midnight with a huge party at Berlin's Reichstag.

2 Dec 1990: Kohl's coalition wins all-German general election.

7 Feb 1992: Maastricht treaty sets 1999 as deadline for European monetary union but fails to launch the political union Kohl says is necessary.

16 Oct 1994: Coalition wins general election with 10-seat majority. Kohl forms his fifth government.

8 May 1995: Kohl hosts 50th anniversary gathering of wartime allies in Berlin.

Sept 1998: Unemployment in western Germany is just under three million.