After the German Election: The End of 1968?



Heinz Bude, University of Kassel

Date and Time

October 4, 2005 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Encina Hall East Wing Ground Floor E008

Following the recent elections in Germany, Heinz Bude will explain the election results and discuss the current political climate in Germany in terms of the larger historical and global perspective.

The End of '68:

One could call it a return of the vanished. After German society determined that the Federal Republic had only become a western, liberal country as a result of the Uprising of 1968, debates continue on how to view this place of remembrance of the post-war period. This is due to a surprising actualization and sobering historization of the Uprising at an exhibition at the Berliner Kunstwerke. Here, the attractiveness of 1968 is directly linked to the RAF. Not the disparateness but the unity of protest and terror represents the lure of the matter. This re-labeling of 68 as a form of "radical chic" finds its confirmation in more recent historical research that proves that no firewall exists between 68 and the RAF. The terror of the RAF did not represent an inversion of the protest of 68, but was constitutive for the entire movement. There is no innocence, no learning, only the successful disappearance of a bout of tragic political passions.

Then what was 1968? What must dismay us in retrospect, and what has taken roots in the cultural superstructure? Perhaps the unfinished debate between Jürgen Habermas and Karl Heinz Bohrer must be resumed: What about 1968 was universalistic emancipation and what was extremist surrealism?

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