German statesmanDied when: 96 years 322 days (1162 months)
Star Sign: Capricorn
Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt (German pronunciation: [ˈhɛlmuːt ˈʃmɪt] (); 23 December 1918 – 10 November 2015) was a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), who served as the chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982.
Before becoming Chancellor, he was the minister of Defence (1969–1972) and as the minister of Finance (1972–1974) in the government of Willy Brandt.
In the latter role he gained credit for his financial policies.He had also briefly been Minister of Economics and as acting Foreign Minister.
As Chancellor, he focused on international affairs, seeking "political unification of Europe in partnership with the United States" and issuing proposals that led to the NATO Double-Track Decision in 1979 to deploy US Pershing II missiles to Europe.
He was an energetic diplomat who sought European co-operation and international economic co-ordination and was the leading force in creating the European Monetary System in 1978.
He was re-elected chancellor in 1976 and 1980, but his coalition fell apart in 1982 with the switch by his coalition allies, the Free Democratic Party.
He retired from Parliament in 1986, after clashing with the SPD's left wing, who opposed him on defence and economic issues.
In 1986 he was a leading proponent of European monetary union and a European Central Bank.