Making Unpopular Decisions?

That was never a problem with this guy. And you don’t see that very much anymore, do you? Here or anywhere else. Sorry to see him go.

Helmut Schmidt

During his two terms as chancellor of West Germany, from 1974 through 1982, Schmidt even had trouble convincing his own Social Democratic party to back him. His insistence on maintaining a balanced budget during an economic slowdown irritated his colleagues who were pushing for a stimulus; his push to station U.S. nuclear missiles on German territory angered the many members of the party’s grassroots who preferred to pursue rapprochement with the Soviet Union. Schmidt, for his part, scorned the inspiration-peddling politicians who stoked the idealism of late 1960s and 1970s Germany — and did so, according to Schmidt, in order to feed their own egos.

“If you have visions, you should go see a doctor.”

PS: One of my favorite sayings of his (regarding the treatment of Germany after World War II) is „Wir sind mit einem blauen Auge davongekommen.“ Meaning, we got out of it with a black eye, as in unscathed.

Better Late Than Never?

81 years of smoking down the drain.
Helmut Schmidt
After a recent stay in a Hamburg hospital, ex-chancellor Helmut Schmidt has finally decided that 96 is the right age to stop smoking. I’ll miss his politically incorrect smoking on talk shows here (or Talkshows, if you prefer). He went out of his way to annoy everybody with it.
Der 96-Jährige war als notorischer Raucher bekannt – selbst in Talkshows durfte er sich einen Klimmstengel anzünden.

Swords To Pflugscharen?

You can stop the import of Mein Kampf in Germany, why not stop the export of expensive weapons systems out of Germany?

Mein Kampf

The Munich Institute for Contemporary History has been working for years on a “scientific edition” of Hitler’s book. In 2012 the state government gave the green light, now it wants to stop the project*.


Meanwhile… On the occasion of his ninety-fifth birthday, Helmut Schmidt has called on the federal government to stop German weapons exports.”It is time to raise an objection,” the former chancellor wrote in the ZEIT. Germany is the world’s third largest weapons exporter and ranks before China, Japan, France and England, directly after the USA and Russia. “A development that displeases me greatly. And one that needs to be stopped by the coming coalition government in Berlin.”

Er habe Verständnis für “die Unlust der heutigen Deutschen”, “Aber ich halte es für abwegig, statt Soldaten Waffen zu schicken.”

Germany does not ban “Mein Kampf,” but Bavaria has used its ownership of the copyright to block domestic publication until now. Late Tuesday, the state premier’s chief of staff, Christine Haderthauer, said that Hitler’s anti-Semitic memoir amounts to incitement and that the state would file a criminal complaint if anyone tried to publish it in the future. In Germany, copyright expires 70 years after an author’s death.

Take A Chill Pill, Angie

What, me worry?


All of Germany is outraged that the US intelligence service eavesdropped on Angela Merkel. But former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has called for more calm. A chancellor must proceed on the assumption that he (or she) is being listened to.

„Das ging so weit, dass meine Gesprächspartner zunächst die Leute begrüßten, die irgendwo mithörten, und erst dann zum Thema kamen.”

Hallo, ist da jemand?

Is there anybody out there?

I like old Helmut Schmidt, and we’re talking old (93). I like that he goes out of his way to smoke in front of everybody, especially there where you’re not supposed to. I also think it’s cool that he doesn’t have a cell phone and prefers writing something called “letters” with something called “paper and ink.”  And I don’t even mind that he thinks the Internet is “menacing.” I mean, why should he be the only one in Germany who doesn’t think that way?

I do wish, however, that he would take that big leap and finally leave the SPD while he still has the time to do so. I don’t think he ever belonged there in the first place. But maybe that’s just me.

„Ich telefoniere überhaupt nur noch selten. Wahrscheinlich habe ich das auch früher nie wirklich gern getan. Ich habe immer die Schriftform bevorzugt, und zwar die briefliche Schriftform.“