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GSA 32nd Annual Conference, St. Paul, October 2-5, 2008 Session 11: Continuity and Change in Postwar Protest Ideologies Moderator: Konrad Jarausch, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill "Active Neutrality as (Post-)National Mission? Germany as "Third Force" from 1945 to 1968 Sean A. Forner, Michigan State University "Reflections on Pacifist Masculinity during the Long 1960s" Andrew Oppenheimer, University of Chicago "The New Left, the Holocaust Effect, and West German Anti-Racism" Rita Chin, University of Michigan Commentator and Reporter: Philipp Gassert, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C. Research on West German protest cultures has increasingly placed the momentous events of the late 1960s and early 1970s in their long-term and comparative contexts. Obviously, the post-1945 political and social situation was shaped by problems that were specific to Germany, such as the country's division and the legacies of earlier epochs of German history (including the then recent Nazi past). Yet there were social, political, and cultural transformations that the two German states shared with their East and West European as well as North American neighbors. These included but were not limited to the thorough democratization of societies under Western and Eastern auspices, political efforts to modernize societies, which sometimes came in the dual guises of Sovietisation and Americanization, breath taking economic growth right up to the 1970s, profound changes in the realms of technology and communication, and, finally the breakthrough to consumer society, which, of course, again came in competing Eastern and Western versions. The panel, chaired by Konrad Jarausch (UNC Chapel Hill), focused on ideologies and transformations in West German political culture, which in recent years has often had been neglected. The first paper by Sean Forner (Michigan State University) "'Active Neutrality' as (Post-)National Mission? Visions of Germany as a 'Third Force' from 1945 to 1968," dealt with intellectuals' efforts to come to terms with the country's division and the legacies of World War II. At first glance, Left-Catholics like Walter Dirks and Eugen Kogon (in Frankfurt), Left-liberals like Alfred Weber and Dolf Sternberger (in Heidelberg), Communist reformers like Wolfgang Harich (in Berlin), and student radicals like Rudi Dutschke (also in Berlin) did to not seem to have much in common. They represented different generational, cultural, and political backgrounds and experiences. Forner connected them by placing their search for a third – German – path between East and West within the post-Fascist intellectual landscapes of the 1940s and 1950s. Forner described an interesting paradox: Although Germans were going through a phase of East and West orientation, including democratization Eastern and Western style, these postwar intellectuals had the audacity to argue for a specific German path to democracy. This path, they believed, would not only make amends for Germany's totalitarian pasts, but help Europe overcome its division. As their plans were being frustrated by Adenauer's policies of _Westbindung_, spectacular protests erupted, which greatly benefitted from the intellectual groundwork laid by people like Weber. As Forner argued, the legacies of these discussions had a remarkable impact on the protest movements of the late 1960s (for which the shorthand of "1968" is often used). To better understand the peculiar role of the nation in the thinking of student leaders like Dutschke, one should look at intergenerational transfer and diffusion processes. In his commentary Philipp Gassert (GHI Washington) remarked that the idea of a German "third way" between East and West was an old one that had deeply permeated nineteenth and twentieth century German political culture. Although the national intellectuals saw themselves as opposing Westernization (at least in its "official", Adenauer version), their critique could still be seen as part of the democratization process. Even though overlapping, Democratization and Westernization need to be treated in separate analytical frameworks. How deeply can we say Dutschke was steeped in these "German" political traditions if we compare him to "Wessis" like Michael Vester or KD Wolff? These student leaders had not been socialized in the GDR but in West Germany and in part as exchange students in the U.S. Their source of dissent was the American Civil Rights Movement, and to a lesser degree the unorthodox socialist thought of figures like Harich or Ernst Bloch. Andrew Oppenheimer (Mount Holyoke College) spoke on "Reflections on Pacifist Masculinity during the long 1960s." He reconstructed the democratic Sixties impulse in contemporary debates about "true manliness" by using Christian Anders as his example. A 23-year-old pop singer, teen idol, and karate expert, Anders made a splash in the German media in December 1968, when he refused to continue his military service. He and other conscientious objectors (such as the chairman of the Verband der Kriegsdienstverweigerer, Herbert Stubenrauch) made a public effort to redefine German masculinities along pacifist lines. Subscribing to a vulgarized version of the Frankfurt School's arguments, they saw authoritarianism as the breeding ground for fascism. They also pushed the boundaries of peace activism – away from the narrower political goals of the anti-rearmament campaigns of the 1950s. Furthermore, they re-defined masculinity as separate from any forms of violence (military, sexual, or otherwise). To them, democracy no longer constituted as a set of institutions but a social order that allowed a masculinity "freed from the cultural conditioning and restraints that fostered men's violent tendencies." The commentary addressed the question of the extent to which civilizing of masculinities had an American angle. Anders's biography provided some clues. His first band, Christian Anders and the Tonics, had played in Clubs for American GIs. Anders had also toured with American groups and later lived in the U.S. There he encountered wild conspiracy theories, and brought these, along with some highly controversial anti-Semitic song lyrics, with him when he returned to Germany. Oppenheimer's research could be fruitfully connected to the earlier work done by Maria Hoehn and others, who studied German perceptions of American soldiers in the years around 1945, who often were perceived as "less martial" though more effective than the battered Wehrmacht soldiers. Furthermore, comparisons to the concept of the "citizen in uniform," which contemporary Bundeswehr reformers developed to create a "democratic soldier," may benefit our understanding of the role of the military in reshaping West German masculinities. The paper by Rita Chin (University of Michigan), "The New Left, the Nazi Legacy, and West German Anti-Racism," addressed one particularly important blind spot among New Left activists: While they were fighting racism abroad and racism in the past (meaning Nazi crimes against Jews and other so-called racial minorities), they overlooked the resurgence of domestic discrimination. Chin argued that this failure by the New Left "to mount a serious and sustained critique of discrimination against Turks and other guest workers" was due to their preoccupation with the Nazi legacy. Although some authors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Katzelmacher and Guenter Walraff in his widely circulated reports on the living conditions of guest workers criticized the way foreigner were treated in West Germany, they did so as part of an anti-fascist critique of capitalism that obscured the deeper root causes. The commentary concurred with Chin's argument that Germans were in fact externalizing problems of racial discrimination, when they immersed themselves in Third Worldism and roundly criticized South Africa or the southern United States for their apartheid regimes. In fighting historical discrimination by putting former Nazis on the spot, West Germans failed to see that ethnic and racial hatred had not disappeared at home. It did not help that the word "race" could no longer be used even as an analytical term. The raises the question, however, of the extent to which this criticism could have been voiced at the time. Are we not imposing contemporary question and concerns on our historical objects? As Jarausch queried during the discussion, to what extent does it make sense to use categories like "race" with peculiar North American connotations, to analyze the German postwar ear? Gassert also asked to what extent the situation in West Germany differed from the post-colonial settings in France, Britain, or the Netherlands. In Germany, to this day, Turks are not perceived as "racially different" but as "culturally religiously distinct." Furthermore, did the New Left, despite its shortcomings, not ultimately provide the tools for a critique and help make the "guest workers" visible? These three inspired, well-documented papers provoked considerable interest in the audience. The three presenters put important questions and suggestions forward, which helps us push research toward a more thoroughly examination of the West German Sixties by bringing intellectual debates back into the picture. The panel also helps us to rethink the place of the late 1960s and early 1970s in long-term German, European, and global contexts. As Forner made clear at the end of his paper, the 1950s paved the way for later developments that "are too often seen as appearing ex nihilo." With a new generation of scholars critically re-examining questions once asked by the protagonists, the Sixties finally have arrived in history. For a complete listing of all sessions at the 2008 German Studies Association Conference, please visit https://thegsa.org/conferences/2008/index.asp