Helmut Schmidt, the chancellor who guided West Germany through economic turbulence and Cold War tensions, stood firm against a wave of homegrown terrorism and became a respected elder statesman, died Tuesday. He was 96. German weekly Die Zeit, of which Schmidt was a co-publisher, confirmed in a statement that he died at his house in Hamburg. Schmidt, a center-left Social Democrat, led West Germany from 1974 to 1982. He was elected chancellor by lawmakers in May 1974 after the
resignation of fellow Social Democrat Willy Brandt, triggered when a top aide to Brandt was unmasked as an East German agent. The new leader brought a sometimes abrasive self-confidence and his experience as West Germany’s defense, finance and economy ministers to the job, which he took during the economic downturn that followed the 1973 oil crisis. Schmidt’s chancellorship coincided with a tense period in the Cold War, including the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.