The old chancellor, alert and sarcastic to the end, died at the age of 96. Portrait of one of the architects of contemporary Germany.
Turbulent period of German history
In recent years, this very old man warning and sarcastic, sassy and without embarrassment, put her two cents in the world. The cigarette resting on permanently lips, chest upright in his wheelchair, Helmut Schmidt did not want to retire from public life. The future of his country, the fate of Europe too concerned. He still had his say. He did not hesitate to do so. Who was a member of the Bundestag until 1987 to continue to shape the strategies of German politics they had nothing to lose and we loved the freedom that is given only to those who are retired and current affairs that is no longer in the running no function.
And his opinion was expected, respected as a wise old man a bit 'on the sidelines of this turbulent and complex world that is so difficult to make sense. Helmut Schmidt was one of the most beloved characters of the Germans. His latest books have sold like hotcakes. His public appearances were becoming increasingly rare ovationnées with standing. Hamburg, the city where this northern German was born December 23, 1918, in its own way has governed the affairs of the nation. In addition to his compatriots they called him with affection and respect their "Altkanzler" their old clerk, this term designating their former court clerks when they are still alive.
Craftsman of Europe
Helmut Schmidt began a militant part of German youth to back. Supported nuclear energy and in the face of great events anti-atom. During the Cold War, allowing the planting of American Pershing missiles on German soil. It made many enemies in the ranks of the left. And 'this discontent that the Greens will be born. In 1982, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt sold his chair to Helmut Kohl and his conservative coalition CDU-FDP.
Helmut Schmidt was a leading architect of Europe. Couple welded formed with Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is legendary. Elected three days after his friend Helmut Schmidt as the French President, Giscard d'Estaing weave with its German partner of close and friendly ties. The Franco-German motor then runs at full speed: promote the economic and cultural development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (Lomé Agreements); Federt creation of the European Regional Development; election in 1979 of MEPs by direct universal suffrage; the development of the EMS, the European Monetary System; the birth in 1979 of the ECU (European Currency Unit), the precursor of the euro.
In recent years, the old man was watching with a keen eye on the evolution of Europe that is so expensive. On several occasions, launched warning shots, the voice of a centaur, "There is no crisis of the euro, liked to say. There is a crisis of European institutions." Co-editor of Die Zeit great, Schmidt often used this platform to give advice to his successors. His editorials "From the state of the nation" are legendary. Helmut Schmidt was one of the great supporters of the euro, which it considers a cornerstone of European integration. This former Finance Minister critical applications still too rigid with the Maastricht criteria. Visionary sure, but not idealistic. Helmut Schmidt will remain a pragmatic for life. "Whoever has visions should go to a doctor," he with his deadpan humor.
He does not hesitate to expose his private life. The symbiotic pair has formed with his wife Loki for 68 years is dissolved by death in 2010. Helmut Schmidt collapsed. And 'there in his wheelchair, right next to the coffin of the woman he met on the benches of the elementary school and was his girlfriend of a lifetime, and crying, his face buried in his handkerchief. "We do not love each other, he said, when telling their meeting. We were good friends." He pleads for a marriage of convenience. Her for separate beds. Some time after, to everyone's surprise, he announced that it has a new girlfriend. At 95 years! And in his biography entitled What is left me tell you, he confesses to the whole country that he had an affair and who went on to deplore the trouble it caused to his wife.
It is a legend of postwar Germany, a man admired by several generations of Germans who disappears. Helmut Schmidt, heavy smoker, died in Hamburg at grand age of 96. "I'd said quite simply, we are remembered as someone who was able to recognize and fulfill his duty." This man of duty, when the constraints of power weighed him, sat down at the piano, was mowing the lawn the his garden or smoked a cigarette with taste politically incorrect. This former Wehrmacht officer detested pathos, great vocal sound that reminded him of Imperial Germany and the Third Reich. Her weighted vote, his humble opinion, his comments trivial, his caustic humor and cigarette around will miss the Germans