One of the greatest German politicians, ex-West German Chancellor (1974 to 1982) and respected elder statesman Helmut Schmidt has died today in his hometown of Hamburg aged 96.
The Guardian describes Helmut Schmidt’s importance and his perception within Germany well:
“Although Schmidt was sometimes criticised during his time in power, which included eight critical years during the cold war, for his aloofness, vanity and rudeness, in retirement he became a hugely loved and respected elder statesman whose popularity seemed to grow from year to year.”
Helmut Schmidt was a far-sighted strategist who lived to see his ambitions for Germany fulfilled in 1990, the BBC's Jenny Hill in Berlin reports.
Until a few years ago, Helmut Schmidt was often on German TV, seldom on political talk-shows, often in one on one interviews during times of political and other crisis of the country. No matter to which studio he was invited to, he has always been allowed to smoke his menthol cigarettes on cam. He was known for many memorable thoughts and is often quoted. Realpolitik was his thing, as you can gather from the Schmidt quote in the title of this article, and the older he became, the fewer he cared about political correctness. At times, this was very refreshing. Bild.de has today reminded of some of his most lucid thoughts, and we have a few of those sentences for you below.
“He, who doesn’t study the past, will repeat mistakes. Whoever studies the past, will find other ways to be wrong...”
“Politicians and journalists share the fate, to speak about things today, which they will only fully understand tomorrow.”
“The speed of the snail is the normal speed of democracy.”
“Whoever resents criticism has something to hide.”
In the spirit of the thoughts above, German satiric magazine “Der Postillon” bid farewell with the following title: “Helmut Schmidt has definitely quit smoking”.