Student Protest Germany Part 2

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  • Student Protests 1960s & 1970s
    • The Baader-Meinhof Gang
      • after 1969 a small groups of radicals centred around Andreas Baader & Ulrike Meinhof drifted into terrorism
        • they formed the Red Army Faction or RAF - an underground urban guerrilla movement
      • the group opposed the USA as an imperialist power & regarded FRG as a fascist hangover from the Nazi era
      • members supported themselves by robbing banks & engaging in bombing & arson, esp. of FRG corporations & businesses
        • they attacked FRG and US military bases in W. Germany
      • their aim was to provoke an aggressive response from the W. German govt. with they believed could spark a wider revolutionary movement
      • in the early years the Gang earned a 'Robin Hood' style notoriety & sympathy from the political left
      • however, in the 1970s its activities grew more extreme & expanded out of W. G. making links with militant Palestinian groups
        • Gang members were sent to 'train' with the PLO in Jordan
    • How did the govt. respond?
      • the RAF included at least 22 core members in the early 1970s; most of these were imprisoned in 1972.
        • those in prison maintained a public profile, attracting Amnesty International's attention by demanding to be given political prisoner status and going on hunger strike when they were not
        • when Holger Meins died in prison, Gang members assassinated Judge von Drenkmann, the President of Germany's Superior Court of Justice
      • for 5 years, the Gang's followers (encouraged by the PLO) kidnapped and murdered in an attempt to secure their leader's release.
        • e.g. a PLO siege of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum March 1972 included a demand for the release of Gang leaders
      • in 1975, an official trail of the leaders provoked further terrorist activists. followers kidnapped a politician & others held the staff of the German embassy in Stockholm hostage
      • when Meinhof committed suicide in prison May 1976, a bomb was planted in a US airbase in Frankfurt
      • June 1976, two Gang guerrillas took part in the PLO hijack of an Air France Airbus en route to Paris from Tel Aviv - this was accompaniedby another demand for the prisoners release
      • in 1977, a similar hijack of a German plane was narrowly thwarted by the steely courage of Schmidt & the action of German commandos at Mogadishu in Somalia
      • in the face of such 'defeats', Baader, Ensslin & Raspe committed suicide
    • Aims and success of environmentalism
      • campaigning against issues such as airport runways, motorways or nuclear power stations.
        • environmental campaigners initially emerged at local & regional level angered by the thought of pollution in their local area
          • they staged 'sit-ins', protest marches and held rallies & meetings
      • one of the first campaign groups was the Bauern (Farmer's) Congress of 1973
      • the movement appealed to young, pacifists, urban squatters & above all, to the educated
        • it was the movement for all who believed the protection of the environment was more important than economic growth
        • campaigners were often linked to the APO & shared similar ideological outlook
          • In the face of Schmidt's indifference towards such issues, they came to accept that more could be achieved by campaigning within the parliamentary system
            • Green Party estd.
      • environmental concerns continued into the 1980s and provoked continuous demonstrations
        • e.g. Pershing missiles based in FRG
        • in 1985, 300,000 marched in rallies in 10 major cities inc. Hamburg & W. Berlin
      • there were bloody clashes between protestors & polices at the sites of 2 nuclear reactors being built in Wackersdorf & Brokdorf in Nov 1986
        • further riots in Berlin 1st May 1987 when the traditional 1 May Union Day celebrations turned into a violent confrontation between police & the LW

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