Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt 
Author: Hans Schafgans, 1977

Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt was born in 23rd of december, 1918, in Hamburg, Germany. He was a social democratic politician, specifically a Chancellor of West Germany between 1974 and 1982. Schmidt succeeded as a Chancellor of West Germany after the resignation of Willy Brandt. He served the German Army during World War II. After the war, in 1946, Schmidt joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD), reaching the role of Party Vice President in 1968. As a student of economics at the University of Hamburg, Schmidt worked in the sector in the city’s municipal government from 1949 to 1953 and in 1953 he was elected to the Bundestag (German parliament) where he remained until 1961. Between 1961 and 1965, he returned to Hamburg, when he was reelected to the Bundestag. He was Minister of Defense and Finance in the different governments of Chancellor Willy Brandt between 1969 and 1974.

After the resignation of Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt was elected Chancellor of West Germany and held this role until 1982, when he resigned after losing the majority of votes in the Bundestag. His successor was Helmut Kohl, of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). During his tenure, he gained international respect, although he did not have the charisma of his predecessor, Willy Brandt, and also did not benefit from the parliamentary majorities and diplomatic opportunities of his successor, Helmut Kohl. Schmidt remained a member of the Bundestag until 1986, when he retired from political life. He has written several books about German political affairs and European international relations. From 1983 until his death, Schmidt was also co-editor of “Die Zeit” newspaper. Helmut Schmidt passed away on 10th November of 2015, in Hamburg.