At first sight, history played a trick on Helmut Schmidt. It is often argued that history denied Schmidt the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. Adenauer is remembered for Germany’s Westbindung, Willy Brandt is associated with Ostpolitik, Helmut Kohl will always be remembered for bringing about Germany’s unification. What is Helmut Schmidt’s legacy? Was he a mere crisis manager lacking a broader vision? Is Schmidt destined to go down in history as a “transitional figure”? 1 This clichéd image persists to this day. In fact, Helmut Schmidt had a clear conceptual framework for sustainable diplomacy, and he had a sense for Germany’s past and for its future. The 1970s were not merely a transitional phase but a period of profound transformation in which Schmidt was able to play a significant part. Schmidt made a crucial contribution to the longevity of détente in Europe.