World: From Bricklayer to Organization Man

A deadly inhuman person," Willy Brandt said of Willi Stoph some years ago. Whether Brandt would like to revise that assessment after his meeting with East Germany's Premier last week at Erfurt remains to be seen. To be sure, the shy, introverted Stoph (rhymes with loaf) is not exactly the cuddly type. In a country where telling jokes about political leaders has long been a favorite pastime, no German—East or West—can readily recall any gags about the steely, erect and correct Stoph. But he does seem to inspire respect.

As day-to-day manager of the...

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