What Angela Merkel did when the Berlin Wall came down
The fall of the Wall produced a maelstrom in German politics. Cafe conversations became street protests; movements became political parties; individuals tried to take control of their country for the first time. It was this world that Angela Merkel decided to enter, aged 35.
Merkel, who has a doctorate in quantum chemistry, stood out from the rest in that political world.
"She didn't seem to care about her outward appearance at all," says Lothar de Maiziere, who went on to be East Germany's last prime minister. "She looked like a typical GDR scientist, wearing a baggy skirt and Jesus sandals and a cropped haircut."
To the surprise of many, the East German woman brought up under Communism joined the overwhelmingly male and patriarchal Christian Democrats. In late 1990 she became a member of the Bundestag for the CDU, the largest party in West Germany, and began her rise to the top.