Translated from Der Spiegel weekly in Germany, #49/2014:
A new biography investigates Helmut Schmidt’s life in the ‘Third Reich‘. Was the ex-chancellor a nazi, or does he only suffer from a bad memory?
The young Luftwaffe officer was obviously gifted. His superior officer attributed to him in February 1942 ‘talent for organisation’, ‘prevailing in difficult situations’ and ‘a good service record’. The 23-year-old Hamburg man, though with a tendency to ‘brazen behaviour’, nevertheless had a ‘right character’. And also ideologically, he had a strong base: ‘Solidly based on the nat. soc. (National Socialist; ed.) philosophy of life and able in transferring this to others’.
The name of this officer: Helmut Schmidt, in 1974-1982 chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, author of many bestsellers, and today by far the most popular ex-politician in the country.
The new biography also claims that Schmidt had already joined the Hitler Youth movement in 1933, when there was no pressure yet on young people to join.
News of the death of Helmut Schmidt on November 10 had hardly emerged before the German media went into overdrive eulogizing the former chancellor, who would have turned 97 on December 23. He was praised as a “guide of the century”, a “world economist”, a “guiding spirit” and even as a “philosopher”: here.