Helmut Schmidt is the neglected chancellor of modern German history, overshadowed by 'the greats' - Bismarck, Adenauer, Brandt and Kohl. This volume retrieves Schmidt's true significance as a pivotal figure who helped reshape the global order during the crisis-ridden 1970s. This major reinterpretation, based on detailed research in Schmidt's private papers and numerous archives in Europe and America, reveals him as a leader equally skilled in economics and security,
and adept at personal diplomacy, who dared to act as a 'double interpreter' between the superpowers during the nadir of the Cold War.
Schmidt was no mere 'crisis-manager': in fact he brought to the chancellorship a depth of reflection, evident in two decades of writings and speeches that justifies considering him an intellectual statesman on a par with Henry Kissinger. His achievements were prodigious. Hailed as the 'world economist', Schmidt helped create the G7 forum for global economic governance and the European Monetary System at a time when capitalism seemed on the rocks. And as the 'strategist of balance', he designed
NATO's 'dual-track' response to the crisis caused by the massive Soviet arms buildup of Euro-missiles. This decision, Kristina Spohr argues, played a crucial part in holding together the Western alliance and paved the way to defusing the Cold War in Europe.
Schmidt brought his country to the top table of world politics - what he unashamedly called Weltpolitik - as an equal of the wartime victor powers. It was through his Chancellorship that West Germany came of age on the global stage.
Kristina Spohr is Associate Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. German-Finnish by birth, she studied at the University of East Anglia, Sciences Po Paris, and Cambridge University and also worked for a year in the NATO Secretary General's Private Office in Brussels. Her publications include Germany and the Baltic Question after the Cold War: The Development of a New Ostpolitik, 1989-2000 (2004); Building Sustainable and Effective Capabilities: A Systemic Comparison of Professional and Conscript Forces (editor, 2004); and At the Crossroads of Past and Present: 'Contemporary' History and the Historical Discipline (co-editor, 2011).