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Goodbye to the ’68ers

In 1998, 30 years after the student uprisings that politicised a generation, Germany's "1968ers" entered government. Expectations were high but the red-green coalition's achievements have been limited. Their liberalising effect on Germany in the decades before 1998 will be the 1968ers main legacy

By Hans Kundnani   August 2005

When Gerhard Schröder replaced Helmut Kohl as German chancellor in the autumn of 1998, it was often described as a momentous generational shift. Exactly 30 years after they had marched in the streets, the so-called “68ers”—the generation born at the end of the war and politicised by the student rebellion of the late 1960s—had come to power. They had completed the “long march through the institutions” that the pop star of the movement, Rudi Dutschke, once called for.

Moreover, the new government included the Greens for the first time. The junior coalition partner grew out of the 1980s peace movement,…

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