The Student Movement and German Terrorism

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Introduction

The post-Second World War period was a tumultuous time for Germany, as it entailed the division of the nation into two distinct governmental entities – West Germany and East Germany. As West Germany emerged as a bulwark against the Communist-led East Germany – backed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), it effectively allowed itself to be modeled by the United States (US) as the promoter of democracy in Western Europe. The Marshall Plan, which enabled West Germany to resurrect its status as an industrialized economy, became the cornerstone of US involvement in the nation and eventually throughout the rest of Europe. As a consequence, US military presence grew in Western Europe, effectively serving as a buffer against Soviet influence in East Germany. Yet, the overarching prevalence of the US over West Germany that time did not necessarily translate to widespread support from the West German public, particularly from the youth (Brokaw 25-36; Turner 148-175).

Growing dissatisfaction over the university system of West Germany sparked the ire of students against the West German government, alongside a string of macrocosmic issues greatly relevant to one another. Fears over the resurrection of Third Reich and fascist ideals in West Germany grew with the merger of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the 1966 general elections – a coalition thought to resemble the one-party system under Nazi Germany. More significantly, however, is the growing sentiment against the Vietnam War and sympathy towards the rise of socialism in several parts of the world, both of which enabled West German students to protest against the US. One could therefore connect the involvement of t...

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... of the seats in Parliament. While it may have been just and rightful for the West German students to express their dissent against the Vietnam War, their calls did not fit the general needs of West Germany that time with regards to its economic recovery agenda, which strongly involves the US. Therefore, one could say that the student protests in West Germany were both justified and misplaced towards the Americans – a matter that struck a fine line between political and economic concerns of the nation that time.

Works Cited

Brokaw, Tom. The Greatest Generation. New York City, NY: Random House, 1998. Print.

The Baader Meinhof Complex. Dir. Uli Edel. Perf. Moritz Bleibtreu, Martina Gedeck, Johanna Wokalek. Constantin Film Verleih, 2008. DVD.

Turner, Henry Ashby. Germany from Partition to Reunification. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1992. Print.

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