Helmut Schmidt: handsome, witty and supremely self-possessed, he was a magnetic speaker and a pugnacious debater. Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images

Helmut Schmidt, a former West German chancellor who has died aged 96, combined personal dynamism, managerial brilliance and an often acid-tongued impa(...)

In this 2009 file photo, former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt takes part in a discussion hosted by the ECB in Frankfurt, central Germany. Photograph: AP Photo/Daniel Roland

Former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who led the country for eight years at the height of the cold war, died yesterday at the age of 96, his (...)

Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt smokes a cigarette after a celebration of his 90th birthday, organised by Die Zeit newspaper in Hamburg, in January  2009. He has died at the age of 96. Photograph: Maurizio Gambarini/Reuters

Former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who led the country for eight years at the height of the Cold War, has died at the age of 96, his office(...)

A neo-fascist rally in Dortmund on May 1st. “Dortmund has a problem, something we don’t play down, but the whole country has a problem with the far-right – we’re just the tip of the iceberg.” Photograph: Markus Matzel

When Germans talk about the far-right and neo-Nazis, they usually mean eastern Germany. But eastern Germany doesn’t have a monopoly on far-right extre(...)

German chancellor Angela Merkel celebrates the 25th anniversary of German reunification. Political critics argue that Germany’s resources are exhausted even before one million refugees arrive this year. Photograph: Thomas Lohnes/Getty

Growing disunity over how to manage the refugee crisis overshadowed weekend celebrations marking a quarter century of German unity. A month after Germ(...)

Egon Brandt with Willy Brandt in 1963. Nobody, he thought, is going to help the Germans if they don’t help themselves. Photograph: DPA/AFP/Getty Images

Egon Bahr, who has died aged 93, was a prominent social democrat politician whose efforts to improve West Germany’s relations with the Soviet bloc hel(...)

Egon Bahr died on August 20th, aged 93. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Egon Bahr, the architect of West Germany’s change- through-rapprochement “Ostpolitik” under chancellor Willy Brandt, died from a heart attack yesterda(...)

Günter Grass: after the nationalist enthusiasms of his youth he opted for scepticism and moderation, shunning ideological extremes. Photograph: Michael Probst/AP

Günter Grass, who has died aged 87, was Germany’s best-known postwar novelist, a man of huge energy and zest who, besides his fiction-writing, enjoyed(...)

Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel has already given up hope of beating Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s 2017 general election. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Germany doesn’t go to the polls until 2017 but Social Democrat (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel has already given up hope of beating Angela Merkel. (...)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Russia she would not allow it “trample on international law” and undermine the peaceful post-Cold War order in Europe. Photograph: Paul Miller/EPA

German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Russia she would not allow it “trample on international law” and undermine the peaceful post-Cold War orde(...)