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Paradise for Provocation: Plotting Berlin’s Political Underground

  • Charity Scribner

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Jewish Community Hate Crime Collective Memory German Democratic Republic Palestine Liberation Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    One of the more authentic accounts of the communes of Berlin is U. Enzensberger (2004), Die Jahre der Kommune 1: Berlin 1967–69 (Cologne: Kiepenheuer und Witsch).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    T. Elsaesser (2007), Terror und Trauma: Zur Gewalt des Vergangenen in der BRD (Berlin: Kadmos), p. 17.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Two early, conservative accounts of the RAF—Stasi connection are M. MüIler and A. Kanonenberg (1992), Die RAF-Stasi-Connection (Hamburg: Rowohlt);Google Scholar
  4. and J. Schmeidel (1993), ‘My Enemy’s Enemy: Twenty Years of Co-operation between West Germany’s Red Army Faction and the GDR Ministry for State Security’, Intelligence and National Security, 8.4, 59–72. Gerhard Wisniewski’s take on the relationship between the RAF and the Stasi betrays his unreformed commitment to the Armed Struggle.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. See G. Wisniewski (1997), ‘Die RAF-Stasi-Connection’, in G. Wisniewski, W. Landgraeber and E. Sieker, Das RAF-Phantom: Wozu Politik und Wirtschaft Terroristen brauchen (Munich: Droemer Knaur).Google Scholar
  6. T. Wunschik (1997), meanwhile, offers a more tempered account in Baader-Meinhofs Kinder: Die zweite Generation der RAF (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 6.
    Uwe Backes and Eckhard Jesse call the relationship between the RAF and the Stasi ‘ein[e] unübersehbar[e] Geistesverwandtschaft’. J. Backes (1991), ed., Jahrbuch Extremismus und Demokratie. 3 (Bonn: Bouvier). p. 200.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Cited in S. Aust (1987), The Baader-Meinhof Group: The Inside Story of a Phe-nomenon, trans. A. Bell (London: Bodley Head), p. 44.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Wolfgang Kraushaar calls Baumann’s report a ‘who’s who’ of the German Armed Struggle. W. Kraushaar (2005), Die Bombe im Jüdischen Gemeindehaus (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition), p. 226. See also Der Spiegel (1998), 19 January 1998, p. 117.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    J. Arnold and P. Schult (1979), Ein Buch wird verboten: Bommi Baumann Dokumentation (Munich: Trikont).Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    D. Kunzelmann (2002), Leisten Sie keinen Widerstand!: Bilder aus meinem Leben (Berlin: Transit), p. 49.Google Scholar

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© Charity Scribner 2009

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