Today in the afternoon, Helmut Schmidt, who served from 1974 to 1982 as a Chancellor for the Federal Republic of Germany, has died at the age of 96 in his home town of Hamburg.
Mr Schmidt, who was a Social Democrat, is being considered as an architect of the European Monetary System, which linked EU currencies and was a key step on the path to the euro.
In 1979, Schmidt's support of an installation of U.S. medium-range nuclear missiles on German territory after the preceding installation of similar Soviet missiles in East Germany earned him harsh protests from a strong leftist movement, especially from German students fearing that any military engagement between the Cold War enemies could turn Germany into a nuclear desert. Only much later, when the last Soviet leader Gorbachev and U.S. president Reagan signed their Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on the Washington Summit of 1987, it became clear that German Chancellor Schmidt had taken the right decision at his time, as Soviet nukes would not have been removed if there had not been, as well, U.S. nukes installed on German soil.
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was credited with helping to consolidate the country's post-war economic boom. Furthermore, he is seen as one of the most popular German leaders since World War II.
Schmidt at the beginning of his political career
when he was Senator of the Interior in the local
government of Hamburg Fed. State. During the
devastating floodings drowning Hamburg town
in 1962, he proved his consequent management
that earned him respect from all over Germany.
Helmut Schmidt, Herbert Wehner and Willy Brandt
(left to right), the Social-Democrats' leading "troika".
W. Brandt was Schmidt's predecessor in the office
of a Chancellor for the German Federal Republic.
Helmut Schmidt and his wife "Loki"
who died only some years earlier.
While public smoking steadily became restricted,
he could rarely be seen without a cigarette in his
hand and which made of him, even more, some
kind of symbol for a fighting spirit.
Chinese visitor from Guangzhou (Canton) that once became one of the few doors into China
for Western visitors who wanted to know more about the People's Republic of Mao Ze Dong.
Helmut Schmidt was always curious about the changes in China. His personal interest in the country and its 1.4 billion people never ceased. Just a few weeks ago, he was still asking questions about the new China. Nobody would have held it against him if at the age of 96 he had mulled over his experiences with Mao & Co, but Schmidt believed it was important to rethink his impressions of China over and over again. His interest in the country dated back to the 1950s.
At the end of the 60s and in the early 70s, he traveled around China as defense minister. At the time, it was not acceptable for Western politicians to simply travel directly to Beijing. He was chancellor when he met Mao Zedong in 1975.
[Quotation from an article published by Deutsche Welle]