After leftist terrorist violence escalated in the 1970s, with bombings of police and government targets, and kidnappings and murders of major German public figures, West Germans became ever more divided on the direction of the nation’s political course. As both camps, a conservative establishment (including government and police) and the terrorists and their (generally younger) left-leaning sympathizers saw the present through the lens of the Nazi past, they seemed incapable of thinking in anything but extremes. On the left, terrorists and their sympathizers argued that the West German liberal democracy was no more than a façade behind which a fascist system lay hidden.1They saw the government’s repressive response as a greater threat to the democracy than terrorism itself. In this sense, young leftist radicals felt that by resisting the system now, they resisted “fascism” in a manner their parents had failed to do. On the right, the conservative-liberal politicians who tried to repress the radical leftist networks, too, felt that they were making up for the failures of the Nazi past, by resisting a new form of “totalitarian violence.” The political right did not see the “generation of 1968” as part of a new democratic process, but as new fascists: these young leftists were “Hitler’s children.”2
KeywordsJewish Community Jewish Identity Jewish Woman Jewish Tradition German History
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