Sixty years on from the outbreak of the second world war, that could have been the response to last week’s elections in ­Germany which saw the centre-right take power in a coalition led by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the free-marketeering Free Democrats (FDP).

At the same time the Social Democrats (SDP) – the closest equivalent to our Labour Party – were not only defeated but marginalised by Die Linke, a new left-wing cabal which includes old-style east German communists.

In a year which has seen the collapse of many of our economic certainties, the result has created a new political alignment in Europe. Under president Nicolas Sarkozy the balance has shifted to the right and now in Germany Merkel seems to have begun the transformation that could see her morph from “Mutti” to “Eiserne Lady”. Even so, there will be no room for David Cameron in the cosy new set-up – on Friday the CDU downgraded its links with Britain’s Tories.

The new iron lady will be in a happy frame of mind this week when she sits down with her new FDP friends to stitch together a fresh alliance. Gone is the necessity to find common cause with the increasingly troublesome SDP, and in will come some consensus-busting tough love: simpler and lower taxes; a harder line on welfare benefits; and a return to the progressive conservativism which seemed to have become extinct under the previous CDU-SPD coalition.

That’s what the centre-right is looking for and that’s what they will probably get in the first heady days of the honeymoon.

Forget that the CDU won only 35% of the vote (a smaller proportion than in 2005): Merkel’s people say that she has been reinvigorated by the turnaround, and that she is delighted to be freed from what she saw as the shackles imposed by the SPD.

In the months ahead, there is still ample room for disagreements with the FDP whose leader Guido Westerwelle is likely to be appointed deputy chancellor and foreign minister, but for the time being Merkel is determined to forge a cast-iron coalition, the better to celebrate next month’s 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

That too makes sense. In the two decades since that momentous event which helped to define the modern age, Germany has been a country which gained unification but lost something of its soul as consensus stultified rigorous thinking. Under Merkel Mark Two, all that could change.

Always a committed European, she is keen to see Germany take centre-stage once more and finding an accommodation with Sarkozy at the heart of the European Union. When history looks back at the creation of the centre-right coalition, that will probably be the lasting outcome.

Although there will be tinkering with the German economy and the welfare system, Merkel will fight to stay where she says she belongs – “in der Mitte”.

So, as a centrist she will change things only when they are necessary in order to keep things pretty much as they are. She was the leader, remember, who outfoxed everyone by committing a huge amount of state funding to ensure the survival of Opel when General Motors went belly-up.

A new cross-Rhine nexus with France will suit her perfectly but, as ever in the freshening-up of new alliances, there will be losers, and the country most affected by Merkel’s new domination looks certain to be Turkey whose application to join the EU is more or less certain to be blackballed.

Merkel has already let it be known that she is prepared to offer a loose alliance but not full membership, and one of her first foreign policy decisions will be to swing Germany behind France and Italy to block Ankara’s application to join the European club.

She’ll have Westerwelle’s support – he believes that Turkey fails the economic test – and there will be a good deal of public sympathy for her stance. Although there are three million ethnic Turks living in Germany, there has always been concern that a new round of Turkish immigration would have a deleterious effect on the fragile German economy.

It smacks of xenophobia, but Merkel is insistent that her opposition is based on sound political and economic reasoning. She also has EU policy on her side – no deal until Cyprus is resolved – but in her case the main stumbling block has gone with the demise of the SPD which always blocked moves to join France and Italy in rejecting Turkey’s application.

Faraway Ankara will now pay the penalty for the unexpected realignment in Berlin.