Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt (born 23 December 1918) is a German Social Democratic politician who served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982. Prior to becoming chancellor, he had served as Minister of Defence and Minister of Finance. He had also served briefly as Minister of Economics and as acting Foreign Minister. He is the oldest surviving German Chancellor and the last surviving person to have been solely Chancellor of West Germany (Helmut Kohl was Chancellor of both West Germany and reunified Germany).
Helmut Schmidt was born in Hamburg, as son of two teachers. He studied at Hamburg Lichtwark school, graduating in 1937. He was conscripted into military service and began serving with an anti-aircraft battery at Vegesack near Bremen during World War II. After brief service on the eastern front he returned to Germany in 1942 to work as a trainer and advisor at the Reichsluftfahrtministerium. Also in 1942, on 27 June, he married his childhood sweetheart Hannelore "Loki" Glaser, with whom he fathered two children: Helmut Walter (26 June 1944–February 1945, died of meningitis), and Susanne (b. 1947), who works in London for Bloomberg Television. Toward the end of the war, from December 1944 onwards, he served as Oberleutnant in the artillery on the western front. He was captured by the British in April 1945 on Lüneburg Heath and was a prisoner of war until August. During his service in World War II Schmidt was awarded the Iron Cross.
Schmidt's father was the illegitimate son of a Jewish businessman, although this was kept secret in the family. This was confirmed publicly by Helmut Schmidt in 1984, after Valéry Giscard d'Estaing had, apparently with Schmidt's assent, revealed the fact to journalists. Schmidt himself is a non-practicing Lutheran.