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Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe is one of the more controversial figures in Africa. He rose to prominence in the 1960s as the leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) during the conflict against the conservative white-minority government during the Rhodesian Bush War (also known as the Zimbabwe War of Liberation) and was a political prisoner in Rhodesia for […]

The Ivory Coast’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny – “A Master Manipulator and Destabilizer”

The late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) did not look like a “strong man.” He was small of stature, and he spoke softly. Nevertheless, during his 33 years as head of state (1961–1994) he was one of Africa’s most powerful leaders. He brought prosperity to his farmers and interfered in the internal […]

Dealing with a Reunified Germany

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the long-awaited reunification between East and West Germany began. A mere two weeks after the fall, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl announced a 10-point program calling for enhanced cooperation between the two sides, with a view toward eventual reunification. While no timetable was proposed, events began […]

Managing a Massacre: The Ramifications of Tiananmen Square

The Tiananmen Square Massacre of June 1989, and the subsequent months of intimidation, deception and violence, shattered the façade of Chinese political solidarity and severely damaged Sino-American relations. The crackdown followed weeks of protests after the death of reformist leader Hu Yaobang, when tens of thousands of peaceful protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square to demand […]

Nelson Mandela’s Road to the Presidency

May 9th, 1994 marked one of the most significant – and previously unimaginable – milestones in modern African history as Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa. A key figure in the African National Congress (ANC) since the early 1950’s, Mandela  was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, […]