Student Protest Germany Part 1

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  • Student Protests 1960s & 1970s
    • Why did little protest happen under Adenauer?
      • the 'ohne mich' attitude of the Adenauer years led to political indifference following the Nazi regime and violence of the Weimar years
      • partly the product of Adenauer's own quietly efficient 'Chancellor Democracy'
      • partly the result of huge improvement in living standards
      • there was little to complain about
    • Why did it occur in the 1960s?
      • wider generation gap; German students in the 1960s were first get. of post-Hitler era & nursed a conviction that their parents gen. to blame for Nazism and its horrors
      • Auschwitz Trials 1963-65 provoked more outspoken debate about the Nazi past
        • followed widely publicised Eichmann Trail in Israel 1960
      • newspapers Der Spiegel, Die Zeit & Der Stern and LW intellectuals encouraged criticism of the conservatism of the state
        • there were suggestions that the FRG was turning into an authoritatian regime & they pointed to former Nazis in positions of power eg Kiesinger
      • the 1968 Emergency Laws passed by the grand coalition seemed to confirm that politics was heading towards autocracy
      • Anti-American revulsion at Vietnam War
        • USA had always been portrayed as the leader of the 'free world' and the overseer of FRG's post-war growth
        • young people began to question its leadership and felt sympathy for rebels e.g. Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara
      • outdated and overcrowded unis: wanted to reduce they hierarchy and improve resources
    • Birth of the protest movement
      • one of the first large-scale students protests was a 'sit-in' of 4,000 participants at the Free University of Berlin in 1966. it was mainly concerned with
      • the govt. tried to appeal to public opinion and relied on police to handle demonstrations
      • June 1967, state visit to Berlin by the Shah of Iran sparked large-scale student protest against his oppressive regime.
        • police used heavy-handed tactics to disperse the crowds & one protester, Benno Ohnesorg, was shot dead
        • Gunther Grass referred to his death as the 'first political murder in the Federal Republic'
      • this incidence resulted in the formation of the 'June 2nd Movement'
        • its mainly student members committed to avenging Ohnesorg's murder and declared that violence was legitimate in such a cause
        • by the end of autumn 1967 there were organised protest groups in nearly all German unis
      • in April 1968, Rudi Dutschke (known as 'Red Rudi' & one of the most influential leaders of the June 2nd Movement) was shot and severely wounded by a RW worker
        • Rudi was taking part in a mass demonstration in which 400 students were injured & 2 killed.
        • Rudi died prematurely of his injuries in 1979, but remained a prominent speaker for the APO until his death
      • May 1968, 80,000 people demonstrated in Bonn against Kiesinger's emergency legislation
        • through 1969-9 there were protests against the Vietnam War, the a-bomb, the coalition govt & 'bourgeois society' in general
        • this united those on the left. they rallied against excessive police interference which they claimed to be an attempt to curb free expression
      • in 1969, the APO had passed its peak. the emergency laws were passed & within the student movement there was division over leadership & tactics
        • in addition, when the Social Democrats ousted the coalition in the elections of 1969 some of those on the left returned to mainstream politics
        • a small amount of members of the APO activists became more involved in Communism,while a smaller radical group resorted to more extreme terrorist measures
      • a surprising number of student activists of the mind-1960s took their degrees and settled down to comfortable lives in academia and business

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