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"Dropping the Pilot" (September 20, 1982)
This September 20, 1982, cover page of Der Spiegel, which depicts Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as the “pilot” leaving the ship, refers to John Tenniel’s famous caricature “Dropping the Pilot,” which commented on Bismarck’s resignation as chancellor in 1890. With this image choice, the Spiegel editors alluded to the fact that neither chancellor departed his office voluntarily. On September 9, 1982, Minister of Economics Otto Graf Lambsdorff (FDP) had announced his “concept for a policy to overcome weak economic growth and to fight unemployment.” The concept, which demanded social welfare cuts and tax breaks for businesses, further accelerated the growing alienation between the SPD and the FDP and for this reason was dubbed the coalition’s “divorce papers.” On September 17, 1982, all FDP ministers resigned, thus forestalling their removal by Chancellor Schmidt, who led a minority government until the vote of no confidence on October 1, 1982.