RIP Helmut Schmidt Aged 96

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Scepticalscribe, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Scepticalscribe, Nov 10, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #1
    Just spotted the announcement of the death of the outstanding former German (West German) Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, today while travelling.

    Helmut Schmidt was (the Social Democrat) Chancellor of what was then West Germany between 1974 and 1982, and was an exceptionally intellectually gifted, exceedingly brave (morally and physically - having been drafted into the German Armed Forces he ended the war as a highly decorated - he was awarded the Iron Cross - first lieutenant commanding an anti-aircraft artillery battery) decent, firm, individual, and one who was possessed of an integrity and intelligence which made him an extraordinarily impressive political leader of what was then West Germany from the mid 1960s onwards.

    Political leaders - indeed statesmen - such as Helmut Schmidt were the generation that began the gradual political rehabilitation of the postwar West German state in to the European (and world) political order. They did this by embracing and embedding democratic ideals, values and processes in the very fabric of the state, and by facilitating the evolution of an exceptionally close and friendly relationship with France, - unheard of for most of the previous century - without which Europe would not have - indeed, could not have enjoyed an era of postwar economic growth and political stability, and without which the EU could not have come to reach its potential and play the role envisaged for it.

    Unfortunately, Helmut Schmidt's tragedy was that he was never Chancellor in the really good times - instead, Helmut Kohl, his Christian Democrat rival, and successor as Chancellor, less gifted perhaps, but preternaturally lucky, in the Napoleonic sense, - reaped the benefit of that.

    However, Helmut Schmidt was probably the first real person that the postwar German state produced who could have been said to have been both a world class politician and a solid and reliable statesman and his intelligence, stature, judgement, administrative abilities, generous vision, and courage undoubtedly came to enhance the reputation of Germany itself.

    His death, at the age of 96 (and he was lucid, sharply intelligent and insightful, as always - giving interviews, and writing thoughtful pieces - until quite recently) was announced today. RIP.
     
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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  3. Scepticalscribe, Nov 10, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015

    Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #3
    Very nice link; thanks for taking the time and trouble to post it.

    Actually, he was an extraordinarily accomplished man - and a first rate pianist and music critic - someone who could be considered 'cultured' in the best sense of that word which once described the old European intelligentsia.
     
  4. Gwendolini macrumors 6502

    Gwendolini

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    #4
    I had a talk about Schmidt yesterday evening with my colleague at a news station covering this story all day.

    We sadly agreed, that he was one of the last of its kind, that the politics of the late 1960s to early 1980s was lead by ideals and ideas, and that Helmut Schmidt was a very prominent force for those two, still being intellectually active into his 90s, which is astonishing.

    I cannot imagine Helmut Kohl or Gerhard Schröder or Angela Merkel or even Gauck doing the same.

    It was a sad day for Europe.

    Hopefully this will get some "politicians" thinking about others again instead of their own.
     
  5. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Agreed.

    He was a genuine giant - morally, intellectually, politically, yet a pragmatic and extraordinarily gifted administrator who was more than capable of 'doing' things and giving clear-headed, yet cool, courageous (politically and physically) balanced, fair-minded and decent leadership when it counted.

    He was an extraordinarily impressive man, a man who compelled and commanded respect well into his 90s, fluent in several languages (his English - of which he was very proud - was flawless), an accomplished musician, ferociously intelligent and possessed of an integrity and solid moral core that was so clearly evident that there was never a whisper of scandal - ever- associated - or linked - with his name.
     
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    RIP Schmidt. A rare gem!

    At the end of his life he came out about state sponsored terrorism and helped expose the phony global terrorism farce.

    "Ich habe den Verdacht, dass sich alle Terrorismen, egal, ob die deutsche RAF, die italienischen Brigate Rosse, die Franzosen, Iren, Spanier oder Araber, in ihrer Menschenverachtung wenig nehmen. Sie werden übertroffen von bestimmten Formen von Staatsterrorismus."

    http://www.zeit.de/2007/36/Interview-Helmut-Schmidt/komplettansicht
     
  7. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

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  8. ChristianJapan, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015

    ChristianJapan macrumors 601

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    #8
    He sure had some tough decision to made while the RAF attact Germany. Leading to the "execution" of some of this friends/colleagues but also the successful operation of GSG9 in Mogadishu.

    I still remember those times ... The images are burned in my memories.

    And felt really sorry for him as he got "stabbed" in the back from his own coalition partner at that time loosing the power to "Birne" (who later managed quite well the re-integration of east and west).

    Impressive: Schmidt was the only one who was allowed to smoke in public talk shows, via TV. While smoking is generally banned in TV. No one really challenged him anymore.

    rip Helmut Schmidt

    On a funny side node:
    Helmut Schmidt and his wife Hannelore Schmidt
    Then:
    Helmut Kohl and his wife Hannelore Kohl
    Now that is continuity ...
     
  9. olup macrumors 6502

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    #9
    I watched some of the ceremony yesterday and for a second thought that Egon Bahr had come back to life, once Henry Kissinger was on the podium.

    After realizing that, I immediately thought of the Simpsons episode, where Kissinger drops his glasses in the toilet and Homer finds them and wears them for the rest of the episode.

    Schmidt was known to be arrogant, but also for his no bs attitude, which served him well during the flood in 1962 and in dealing with the RAF. His sharp mind and insights will surely be missed.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016

    Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #10
    True, @olup. He was arrogant, but he was straight, had courage, formidable intelligence, integrity, a rough decency at his core, and sound political judgement. I'll take arrogance with that sort of package.

    And, also, @ChristianJapan, yes, I have heard (and read) some of the smoking stories. One German source put it very well remarking that Schmidt 'broke the rules but never sacrificed his principles' - a combination that seems to have perversely delighted the German people, yet won their enduring respect, too.

    Re your comment on being 'stabbed in the back' by his coalition partners, the FDP, even at the time it was viewed as an example of extremely dirty politics. They didn't come terribly well out of it, - which served them right - it was a low and dishonourable thing to have done, and Helmut Schmidt was quite right to have been incandescent with fury at the time; again, it was the fact that it was an issue of principle, not of power that most annoyed him. At the time, I was very sorry, too.
     

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