Helmut Schmidt

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Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F048644-0030, Dortmund, SPD-Parteitag, Helmut Schmidt.jpg

Helmut Schmidt (German pronunciation: [ˈhɛlmʊt ˈʃmɪt]; 23 December 1918 - 10 November 2015) was a German Social Democratic politician who served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982.


  • If you look closely, you'll see that the political journalists actually more belong to the political class and less to journalism.
  • One is left, the other is right. But comparable populists are Lafontaine and Le Pen already.
  • Of course, nuclear power has its risks. But there is no power and nothing in the world without risks, not even love.
  • [Intelligence services] are poor pigs suffering from two mental illnesses: The one disease is because they never get public recognition for what they actually do. This is inevitable, as they have to work in secret. This deformes the soul. The other disease bases on the fact that they have the tendency to believe they understood the national interests of their own country much better than their own government. This latter disease is the reason that I do not trust them.
    • DIE ZEIT, 30. August 2007, Zeit.de
  • The rule of law does not have to win, it does not have to lose, but it has to exist!
    • DIE ZEIT, nr. 36/2007, 30. August 2007
  • Nothing is more important than pastoral care for people in need. [...] For me, nothing is less important than theology.
  • If we continue on for decades as before, then I have to be pessimistic about our country.
    • in conversation with the authors of the series of documentaries "Der Fall Deutschland", statcion Phoenix, 12. February 2006, phoenix.de
  • With a democratic society, the concept of multiculturalism is difficult to reconcile. Maybe in a very long term. But if you ask, where multicultural societies have so far worked, you can get very quickly to the conclusion that they only work there peacefully where there is a strong authoritarian state there. So, it was a mistake that we picked up at the beginning of the 60's guest workers from foreign cultures into the country.
  • It is an irony of history that the public sector union, my union, in which I am a member for over 50 years, that imagines that the public service should be the pacemaker in the wage increase. One must be crazy.
    • speech "The catch-up process of the East has gone to end in 1996 - What to do?" at the 10. May 2004 for the "Erfurt Dialogues", thueringen.de
  • What troubles me is that we will see in Germany no approximation of the East German income to the West German income anymore, because productivity stays so far behind.
    • speech "The catch-up process of the East has gone to end in 1996 - What to do?" at the 10. May 2004 for the "Erfurt Dialogues", thueringen.de
  • The multicultural society is an illusion of intellectuals.
  • The snail's pace is the normal pace of any democracy.
    • DIE ZEIT, 19. Oktober 2003, zeit.de
  • Do we want also to be world champion in moaning?
    • in "Because Germany has to change" DIE ZEIT 22/2003 22. Mai 2003
  • In the basic questions, one have to be naive. And I think that the problems of the world and of humanity cannot be solved without idealism. However, I also believe that one should be realistic and pragmatic at the same time.
  • Today, the most important is to learn to understand other people. And not only their music, but also their philosophy, their attitude, their behavior. Only then will nations can get along with each other.
  • It is true that the politician at the moment of his actions or if he explains his actions and justifies them cannot provide at the same time also great philosophy. But if he acts without philosophical and ethical foundations, he is in danger of making mistakes. He is in danger to sink into opportunism. He is even in danger of being a charlatan.
  • The more direct decisions by all the people, all the more ungovernable is the country!
  • I think that the idea that a modern society would be able to establish itself as a multicultural society, with as many cultural groups as possible is absurd. One cannot make out of Germany with at least a thousand years of history since Otto I subsequently make a crucible.
  • Whoever has visions should go to the doctor.
  • It seems to me that the German people can - pointedly - tolerate 5 percent price increase better than 5 percent unemployment.
    • Interview with Helmut Schmidt on the 27. July 1972 in Bonn, partly printed in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of 28. July 1972 (nr. 171), p. 8
  • Science and future, that is a contradiction.
    • "Politics commemorates former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt" from the Kleine Zeitung

Quotations referring to Helmut Schmidt[edit]

  • Helmut Schmidt continues to speak of a sense of duty, predictability, feasibility, firmness [...] These are secondary virtues. Simply put precise:.. So you can also run a concentration camp with them.
    • Oskar Lafontaine on 15. July 1982 in STERN to the discussion about the NATO Double-Track Decision (here: shortend citation of BILD)