Schmidt, Helmut


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Schmidt, Helmut

(hĕl`mo͝ot shmĭt), 1918–2015, German political leader, chancellor of West Germany (1974–82). After serving in World War II, he entered politics and joined the Social Democratic party. He was elected to the Bundestag in 1953. Schmidt was Social Democrat leader in the Bundestag (1967–69) and in 1968 became party vice chairman. When the Social Democrat–Free Democrat coalition government was formed in 1969, he became minister of defense under Chancellor Willy BrandtBrandt, Willy
, 1913–92, German political leader. His name originally was Karl Herbert Frahm. Active in his youth in the Social Democratic party, after Adolf Hitler came to power (1933) he fled to Norway and began a journalistic career, soon becoming a Norwegian citizen.
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. In 1972 he was made finance minister. Schmidt was elevated to the post of chancellor in May, 1974, in the wake of Brandt's resignation following a spy scandal. He promoted better ties with East Germany and the USSR and cultivated ties with France and economic cooperation among western European nations while maintaining close relations with the United States. He and French president Valéry Giscard d'EstaingGiscard d'Estaing, Valéry
(Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing) , 1926–2020, French political leader, president of France (1974–81); b. French-occupied Germany.
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 helped establish annual world economic summits of leaders from industrialized countries. In 1982 the Free Democrats withdrew from the coalition, and Schmidt's government was brought down by a vote of no confidence. He was publisher of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit from 1983 until his death. He wrote several books, including a memoir, and numerous articles.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schmidt, Helmut

 

Born Dec. 23,1918, in Hamburg. Statesman of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Schmidt graduated with a degree in political economy from the University of Hamburg in 1949. In 1946 he had joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDPG). Schmidt served as a deputy to the Bundestag from 1953 to 1962 and was elected again in 1965. He was chairman of the Social Democratic faction in the Bundestag from 1967 to 1969; he had become vice chairman of the SDPG in 1968. In a coalition government formed by the SDPG and the Free Democratic Party, Schmidt held the posts of minister of defense (1969–72), minister of economics and finance (1972), and minister of finance (1972–74). Schmidt became federal chancellor in May 1974.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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