Media outlets around the world have joined Germany in recalling the life of late Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Many noted that throughout his life, Schmidt and his views bore a characteristic forcefulness.
In an extensive obituary, the British newspaper "The Guardian" charted Schmidt's rise to the top of German politics, from his early days as a lawmaker for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the Bundestag to his rise through the ministerial ranks and eventually his time as chancellor.
"An incisive mind and a decisive character marked out this high-flying pragmatist for supreme power in his early 30s," the paper wrote. "Not only was Schmidt outstandingly good at politics and statesmanship; he knew it, and made sure everyone else did, too."
"The New York Times" highlighted Schmidt's powerful personality, observing that he had "marshaled personal dynamism, managerial brilliance and often acid-tongued impatience to push his country into an assertive international role."
That same acid tongue might well have contributed to Schmidt's political demise in a no-confidence vote as Germany suffered from a recession in the early 1980s, the paper said.
"Mr. Schmidt might have been able to survive politically if he had antagonized opponents less. But in the Bundestag he was resented for his attacks on legislators who disagreed with him," the newspaper opined.
The Austrian newspaper "Der Standard" also drew attention to Schmidt's reputation for withering verbal attacks, recalling his nickname "Schmidt-Schnauze" (Schmidt the Lip).
"He has interfered into old age, but hardly anyone resented Helmut Schmidt, not even the Social Democrats whose policies he had occasionally found fault with. On the contrary. No former chancellor in Germany has enjoyed such great veneration as 'Schmidt-Schnauze'."
French daily "Le Monde" focused on Schmidt's reputation as the architect of Franco-German friendship. Schmidt and French President Giscard D'Estaing had formed one of the Franco-German pairings that were "indispensable to Europe," coming after Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer and before Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand.
"Le Monde" also focused on Schmidt's career as a tobacco connoisseur, noting that in his first appearance on American television, Schmidt was seen taking snuff in an attempt to quit smoking.
'Tough and risky decisions'
Schmidt was celebrated as "a valiant statesman" by Spanish newspaper "El Pais," which also paid tribute to Schmidt for forging a new career as a publisher and author after his chancellorship.
"There are few politicians who have reached the pinnacle and who, once retired, retain the eagerness and energy necessary to launch a literary career," the paper noted. Schmidt had been able to take the necessary "tough and risky decisions," said "El Pais," alluding in part to Schmidt's order for special forces to storm a Lufthansa plane hijacked that had been hijacked by Germany's leftist Red Army Faction in 1977.
In his writing, Schmidt had been able to express a political thinking "characterized by his originality and courage," the Spanish newspaper continued.
Moscow-based broadcaster Russia Today noted that Schmidt was not afraid to make controversial remarks, such as suggesting Germany had accepted too many immigrants since the Second World War and accusing the former East Germany of complaining too much about its economy.
The broadcaster also noted that Schmidt - a keen practitioner of "Ostpolitik" - had supported Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea, calling it "completely understandable" and slamming the West's response of imposing sanctions.