Paradise for Provocation: Plotting Berlin’s Political Underground

  • Charity Scribner


After the end of the Second World War and in the ensuing shifts in international relations among the former Allies now known as the Cold War, the German Left re-emerged and took on new forms.1 First, it was institutionalized as social democracy in the West and state socialism in the East. Then, in the late 1960s and 70s, when world conflict reached maximum pitch in South East Asia, there developed an increasingly violent strain of leftist militancy in West Germany. In the context of these changes and the ideological struggles of the first post-war decades, Berlin became a prime battleground. In the 1950s and 1960s ‘antifascist’ blocs emerged on either side of the city, but they took strikingly different forms. Eastern officials erected the Berlin Wall — conceived as an antifascist barrier — in August 1961. The German Democratic Republic’s attempts to protect its citizens through the most brutal sort of urban planning shaped the lives and collective memories of most Germans, even after the Wall’s destruction in 1989. In the mid- and late 1960s, many young West Berliners advanced a separate version of antifascist resistance, as they revolted against the generations that had enabled and abetted Hitler’s genocidal dictatorship.


Jewish Community Hate Crime Collective Memory German Democratic Republic Palestine Liberation Organization 
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© Charity Scribner 2009

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