Now that Helmut Kohl has died, the German people and their longest-serving chancellor will never be able to make their peace.
Mr Kohl felt under-appreciated until the end and even those Germans who respected him never found a place in their hearts for him.
"Germany has much to thank him for," Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2014, when her predecessor turned 85.
She clearly felt an ungenerous country needed reminding.
Emotional bond Helmut Kohl was a man of the moment, a brilliant tactician, ready to grasp what was coming.