West Germany: Collapse of a Coalition

A battle over the economy forces Schmidt to call elections

The dissension that has plagued the government of West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and his embattled Social Democratic Party (S.P.D.) had reached epic dimensions. For months, the often abrasive Schmidt had struggled to hold together his troubled ruling coalition amid signs that its junior partner of 13 years, the Free Democratic Party, was preparing to bolt the government. Last week, in a crossfire of public recriminations, four Free Democratic Cabinet members, including Party Leader Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who was also Schmidt's Foreign Minister,...

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