The German student movement of 1968 (soixante-huitaires or 68er –Bwegung) was a reaction against the authoritarianism of the western and German governments and unfavorable conditions of university students, that started in 1968 and climaxed in 1977 (Turner 171)…
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The young Germans were of the view that the government failed to act and get over the post Nazi era. The students held that Nazi sympathizers were going unpunished and the people in authority had mentalities that were similar to those used to create the Nazi government. This and along with the many problems that existed in the university systems evoked sentiments of distrust and fear of the authorities among students. The grievances in the university system were associated with unfair representation of the students in their unions and university panels. The ex-Nazi professors brought the view that the administration was reminiscent of the infamous third Reich of the Nazi regime. The United States of America played a major role in influencing and determining the outcome of the 68er –Bwegung in West Germany. Though not physically, the United States clearly determined a clear path followed by the movement and contributed to the start of the riots. West Germany and America had close cultural and social relation after the war that helped in transnational exchange. The anti war movement in America instituted teach-ins that influenced the German student movement. The teach-ins produced intellectuals who shared an opinion that was in opposition to the Vietnam War. The war illustrated the worldwide spread of imperialism by America to the West German student organization, SDS, who saw the need for a global revolutionary alliance of activists of the first world against the cynical democracy that was the United States. Though the movement focused on the national grievances and problems in the university system at the time (Turner 166), the Vietnam War was a fundamental issue that was associated with the formation and sustaining of the German student movement. The transnational exchange system allowed the exchange of views as well as a sneak peak of the American society to Germans. This generated a part of the population that had more awareness of their rights and increased civil rights actions. The increased popularity of left extremist movements converted many universities in West Germany into battlefields for ideas (Turner 166). The perception of the US government by the young generation started changing as they share views that are more liberal. The generation had a negative view of the occupation and thought their nation had not mastered its legacy in the post war period as because of the United States political influence. The students turned into critiques of the United States who joined the growing movements around the globe that were anti-America. Therefore, America through its social and cultural relation and activities with West Germany facilitated the arising of the German student movement as it resulted in creating intellectuals with more liberal views and civil rights awareness. The powerful uprisings in the united states in the 1950’s were significant in the emergence of the German student movement. Movements like the African-American civil rights movement had strategies that advocated denunciation of a system and civil disobedience in order to attain equal rights for everyone. These beliefs and strategies motivated protesters, mostly students, to change their approach in protesting. They adopted methods that were more political, violent, and militant (Turner 171). The end of the Second World War saw the occupation of West Germany by the United States. The United States supported the government of Federal Republic of Germany, through the marshal plan, in its attempt to rebuild the economy and infrastructure. This resulted in developing a good relationship between the two nations and in the citizens of West Germany having a good opinion of America. The
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