Photo Gallery Helmut Schmidt's Life in Pictures

Helmut Schmidt was chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982, but he grew to mean so much more to the country. In the decades since his term at the top, he became Germany's beloved elder statesman and a truly incisive commentator on current events.
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Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has passed away in Hamburg. He was 96 years old.

Foto: Wolfgang Kumm/ picture alliance / dpa
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Schmidt was chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982 and went on to become a respected elder statesman. Here, he is seen consulting with Gerhard Schröder in 2007.

Foto: MARCO-URBAN.DE
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Helmut Schmidt as a baby. He was born on Dec. 23, 1918.

Foto: imago
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During World War II, Schmidt served in a tank division on the Eastern Front and, later, on the Western Front.

Foto:

Associated Press

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This image shows Schmidt early on in his political career, as a West German parliamentarian for the Social Democrats (SPD), his life-long political home.

Foto: DER SPIEGEL
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Helmut Schmidt first gained renown as the city-state of Hamburg's internal affairs senator, particularly for his pragmatic and effective response to the catastrophic floods of 1962.

Foto: Blumenberg/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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Helmut Schmidt together with senior SPD members Herbert Wehner, right, and future Chancellor Willy Brandt, left, in 1966.

Foto: Wolfgang Weihs/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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Schmidt jumping from the stage at a 1968 congress of young SPD members in Frankfurt.

Foto: Roland Witschel/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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Schmidt was a passionate sailor in his freetime. This image shows him aboard the training ship Mistral in July 1971.

Foto: Wulf_Pfeiffer/ picture-alliance / dpa/dpaweb
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Schmidt became West German chancellor in 1974 after it was revealed that Günter Guillaume (center), a close confidant of Chancellor Willy Brandt's, was an East German spy. Brandt was forced to resign.

Foto: EDWIN REICHERT/ AP
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Schmidt was Germany's most famous cigarette smoker, puffing until shortly before he died. But he also enjoyed snuff. This image shows him with NBC moderator Lawrence E. Spivak, who is enjoying a bit of snuff himself, in 1974.

Foto: Corbis
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Schmidt together with his successor Helmut Kohl at the Presseball in Bonn in 1974.

Foto: KLAUS SCHLAGMANN/ AP
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Listening intently? Here, Schmidt is shown in July 1975 at the European Security Conference in Helsinki.

Foto: Corbis
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Helmut Schmidt was also a great fan of chess, as seen in this image from his office in 1975. But he rarely had a chance to play during his political career.

Foto: Kuchars/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Schmidt was supposed to lip synch an old speech of his at his annual summer party in 1977. But he got a bit distracted.

Foto: Anonymous/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Chancellor Schmidt greeting French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing at the Strasbourg airport in 1977. The two had a very solid working relationship.

Foto: ARCHIVES/ AFP
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The most difficult decision of his career was his 1977 refusal to exchange prisoners with the Red Army Faction to save the life of business leader Hanns Martin Schleyer, who had been kidnapped by the left-wing terrorist group. This image shows him giving a statement on Schleyer's kidnapping on television. Schleyer was ultimately murdered.

Foto: B2360 Sanden/ dpa
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Here, Schmidt offers his condolences to Schleyer's widow, Waltrude Schleyer, at her husband's funeral.

Foto: Heinz Wieseler/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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In the late 1970s, the RAF presented a real threat to public officials. Here, Schmidt gets into his car under heavy police protection in Essen, West Germany.

Foto: Corbis
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Schmidt during a 1978 meeting in Bonn with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko (left) and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev (center), who had difficulties getting to his feet following a photo session.

Foto: Corbis
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Schmidt during a press conference with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

Foto: Keystone/ Getty Images
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This image depicts Chancellor Schmidt listening in as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat makes a statement to the press in March, 1979.

Foto: Corbis
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This picture taken in 1979 shows German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt together with US President Jimmy Carter, British Prime Minister James Callaghan and French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing at the end of their (unofficial) summit in Guadeloupe.

Foto: ARCHIVES/ AFP
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Two worlds collide: American artist Andy Warhol with Chancellor Schmidt in November 1980 in Bonn.

Foto: Keystone/ Getty Images
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Helmut Schmidt together with his wife Loki Schmidt in 1981. The two were married from 1942 until her death in 2010.

Foto: AP
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Two German leaders: East German head of state Erich Honecker handing a piece of candy to West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as a farewell gift in 1981.

Foto: Helmut Lohmann/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Hans-Dietrich Genscher, head of the business-friendly Free Democrats, was Schmidt's foreign minister and vice chancellor.

Foto: Anonymous/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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With the SPD slowly turning their backs on Schmidt in the early 1980s, Genscher and the FDP did the same, pulling out of Schmidt's cabinet. As a result, Schmidt's government fell and Helmut Kohl became chancellor on Oct. 1, 1982.

Foto: Jörg_Schmitt/ picture-alliance / dpa/dpaweb
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Not long after Schmidt left the Chancellery, he became publisher of the influential German weekly Die Zeit. Here, he kisses the hand of Die Zeit publisher Marion Gräfin Dönhoff in 1988. He joined the paper as co-publisher in 1983.

Foto: ROLAND WEIHRAUCH/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Schmidt together with his wife Loki during a walk in Graubünden, Switzerland in August 2003.

Foto: Arno_Balzarini/ picture-alliance / dpa
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Schmidt remained close to the Social Democrats and continued to offer his advice, when asked. Here, he is seen in 2008 consulting with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, then as now German foreign minister.

Foto: Roland Magunia/ AP
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Schmidt only quit smoking several months before his death. Here, he is seen in his office at Die Zeit.

Foto: DER SPIEGEL
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The Schmidt's together with their daugther Susanne at a 2009 celebration in Hamburg. Loki Schmidt died at age 91 in 2010.

Foto: Maurizio Gambarini/ picture-alliance/ dpa