- Compact biography of Helmut Schmidt by his chief biographer (available in English for the first time)
- Presents a selection of major texts on international economic and financial policy by German Chancellor
- Helmut Schmidt as a policymaker pioneering international economic and financial cooperation (1972-2007)
On the occasion of the 95th birthday of Helmut Schmidt, West German Chancellor 1974–1982, his biographer Hartmut Soell, Professor of History at Heidelberg University and former member of the German Parliament (1980–1994), presents H. Schmidt as a Pioneer of International Economic and Financial Cooperation. Influenced by the catastrophes of the early 20th century (global economic crisis, dictatorship and war), Schmidt entered politics as a trained economist and was one of the most innovative policymakers from the 1960s to the 1980s. As minister of defense, economy and finance and as Chancellor he was able to implement many of his ideas for closer cooperation between Western industrial states on currency issues and energy policy during the 1970s. Together with French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing he launched the G7 summits in 1975 and his proposals for a European currency system (1978–79) paved the way for the European economic and currency union. As editor of Die Zeit, he would later become an influential commentator.
Content Level » Research
Keywords » Economic and Financial Cooperation - European Integration - German Chancellor (1974-1982) - Global Economic Interdependence - North-South Dialogue
Related subjects » International Economics / European Integration - Political Science
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hartmut Soell: A Short Biography of Helmut Schmidt.- Major Publications by and on Helmut Schmidt.- Speech in Nairobi: World Currency Conference, 25 September 1973.- Washington Energy Conference, 11 February 1974.- The Energy Crisis – A Challenge for the Western World, Lecture at Roosevelt University, Chicago, 13 March 1974.- Interview by James Reston (New York Times) with Helmut Schmidt.- Speech to the British Labor Party 1974.- Address to the Council of Foreign Relations, New York, 6 December 1974.- Helmut Schmidt: Private Memorandum on International Concentration of Economic Action, 30 July 1975.- Speech in Rambouillet: World Economic Summit, 15. November 1975.- The Case for More Intra-European Monetary Cooperation.- Summary of Comments Made in Copenhagen, 7 April 1978 (Personal).- International Affairs Institute, Lagos, 27 June 1978.
About the Book
For the 95th birthday of Helmut Schmidt, West German Chancellor 1974–1982, his biographer Hartmut Soell, professor of history at Heidelberg University and former member of the German Parliament (1980–1994), presents Helmut Schmidt as a Pioneer of International Economic and Financial Cooperation.
Helmut Schmidt is one of the most imaginative German and European politicians and commentators of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet his family background was not political—his musical talents seemed to destine him for an artistic career. Influenced by the catastrophes of the early twentieth century—global economic crisis, dictatorship, war—, Schmidt entered politics as a trained economist and from the 1960s to the 1980s was one of the most innovative policymakers. Even in 1948, when he was still a student, he foresaw—unlike the leadership of his party—an opportunity for Europe in the internationalization of the Ruhr that could lead to cooperation in the European coal and steel industry. Two years later this idea became reality with the Schuman Plan.
Before he became minister of finance and for the economy in 1972, he had been active as a Member of Parliament in the area of international security policy. The ideas he developed in those years about arms control and disarmament for conventional and nuclear weapons were among the most innovative proposals in these areas, even though they were not put into practice until his time as a minister and Chancellor was over. Although in this area, as in Western politics in general, eventual success depended on the end of confrontation between the Eastern and Western blocs, he was able to implement many of his ideas in the realm of economic and financial policy during his period as an active policymaker.
As minister of economy and finance and as Chancellor he was able to implement many of his ideas for closer cooperation between Western industrial states on currency issues and energy policy during the 1970s. This was particularly true for cooperation on currency issues after the Bretton Woods system had come to an end in 1971/1972 and during the first oil crisis (1973/1974). With French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing he launched the G7 summits in 1975. These significantly contributed to the avoidance of the “beggar my neighbour” policies of the early 1930s that had had catastrophic consequences for Europe. Schmidt’s proposals for a European currency system (1978/1979) eased the way for the European economic and currency union. As editor of Die Zeit, he became an influential commentator who continues to influence this process through his ideas and critiques up to the present day.
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