ARD documentary about Gerhard Schröder: “I don’t need the approval of the SPD leadership for my life’s work”

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, now approaching 80 years old, is the subject of a new documentary titled “Außer Dienst? – Die Gerhard-Schröder-Story”, which will be available on ARD’s Mediathek this Wednesday and broadcast on Monday at 9 pm on ARD. The documentary follows Schröder for six months and paints a picture of him as self-righteous, arrogant, and pitiable. Despite giving Schröder ample opportunities to reflect on his past actions and relationships, the author of the documentary, Lucas Stratmann, is met with deflection and refusal from the former Chancellor.

Throughout the documentary, Schröder maintains his stance on various issues, refusing to acknowledge any faults or missteps in his career. When asked about his friendship with Vladimir Putin and his involvement in Russia’s gas industry, Schröder dismisses criticism and asserts his right to make his own decisions. Even when confronted with a critical statement from a pastor at the unveiling of a church window he funded in memory of the war in Ukraine, Schröder remains unapologetic and unbothered.

Schröder also takes aim at current politicians, including SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert and the SPD parliamentary group who no longer funds his office, referring to them as “insignificant” and “pitiful” respectively. He criticizes the current leadership of the SPD and expresses his lack of need for their approval for his “life’s work”. The documentary also captures Schröder’s harsh critique of the German government’s China policy, specifically targeting Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s approach as detrimental to diplomatic relations.

Despite his criticisms and controversies, Schröder remains defiant and unwavering in his beliefs, often asserting his rightness and dismissing any opposing views. As he approaches his 80th birthday, Schröder continues to play golf, travel, and defend his actions during his time as Chancellor. The documentary paints a portrait of a man who still believes he is right, despite the evidence to the contrary, leaving viewers to question the legacy of a once prominent political figure.