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New Used What kinds of attractions might Gandhian war resistance have presented to postwar Germans? Theodor Michaltscheff was one of the most ideologically-committed peace activists in Germany during the early postwar period. As chairman of the Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner IdK , Michaltscheff promoted Gandhian teachings on nonviolence under conditions of occupation and against the grain of West German political rehabilitation during the late s and early s.
His ideologically-driven activism offers rich material for the study of pacifist values and their relationship to both a broader constellation of public ideologies and later forms of war resistance. Michaltscheff pushed the boundaries of war resistance conceived as an individual response to militarism. In this fashion, Michaltscheff offered postwar Germans a language through which to resist the occupation, accusations of collective guilt for World War II, and to participate in an emerging public discourse on the German victim of war.
Robert G. Why Michaltscheff? Handbuch des aktiven Pazifismus, ed. Franz Kobler Zurich, Rotapfel-Verlag, , By the outbreak of World War II it boasted twenty-four national affiliates and some ten thousand across seventy-four countries. Runham Brown offers slightly higher numbers: forty-four organizations of war resisters in twenty-one different countries.
An article in The War Resister suggests membership levels of over four thousand. See Grace A. Theodor Michaltscheff to H. Again, much like Antifas, local war resisters established groups on an ad hoc basis. Abandoning the name BdK, the new organization called itself the IdK. Its German translation of the WRI declaration was modified to emphasize the participation of those who signed the pledge within a larger community of war resisters. Despite his reluctance to accept a position of leadership in the newly-founded organization, 19 Ibid.
For the delegates at this meeting, there could be no better trustee for the fledgling association than its initiator. Three active and prominent local groups were those in Stuttgart, Berlin, and Hamburg. As a member of the WRI council and its representative in the divided capital city, his 22 On conference activities, see ibid. Ein Bulgare als Motor der deutschen Friedensbewegung St. Georgen: Angela Hackbarth Verlag, , 4. Michaltscheff nach Kriegsende die Aufgabe [i.
Admirers and detractors alike characterized him as stubborn and heavy handed. He came under serious criticism for making policy decisions and spending funds without consulting his colleagues. Younger IdK members grew impatient with what they considered his autocratic ways, denying them chances to participate in decision-making processes. He was frequently exhausted and at least once on the verge of a nervous and physical breakdown.
For on the one hand I work best when I do it on my own accord and not because I am expected to, and on the other hand because I am not the best suited man for the job. Ten years as chairman were followed by another decade as general secretary, a largely honorific position. Hambug: Verlag Die Friedensrundschau, n. Additional texts, the authorship of which cannot be determined, include: ABC der Kriegsdienstverweigerung Hamburg: Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner, n.
Hamburg: Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner, n. He played a key role in how the IdK presented itself to its members, the larger community of peace activists, and the West German public. By the early s Michaltscheff had committed himself to revolutionary anarchism and Kriegsdienstgegner, n. By late , Michaltscheff had committed himself unconditionally to principled nonviolence. He traveled first to France, where he worked as a longshoreman.
However, Michaltscheff survived the Nazi era relatively unscathed. State authorities left him alone by and large. There are several possible reasons for this, including his political inactivity during the Third Reich. Having embraced principled nonviolence during the early s, Michaltscheff refused to participate in preparations for and acts of war. He also shied away from collective political organizing and public acts of political dissent. Michaltscheff concerned himself with his Bulgarian compatriots, who served out their time [in Germany] as unwelcome foreign [forced] laborers.
It represented the typical victim of modern war. As he deployed it, the differences between victims and types of suffering disappeared. While Michaltscheff did not focus exclusively on the sufferings of German civilians, his attention to the destruction wreaked by the air wars on German cities gave the experience of Germans pride of place in his accounts of suffering during wartime.
Like many of his pacifist contemporaries, he believed that wars were the product of specific socio-cultural circumstances. He challenged interwar assumptions about incompatible, unbridgeable differences between eastern spiritualism and western rationalism,53 and he expounded on German victimhood both during and after World War II. These arguments bolstered one another. At the same time, his portrayal of Germans as the victims of British aggression supposed an experience shared with — and thus an ability to relate to — subjects of British colonial rule.
In spite of the enormity of the proposition, Michaltscheff devoted himself after to the task of translating the principles of war resistance into a language that might speak to German disappointments, disillusionment, and needs. Beck, , , here Michaltscheff, 20 Jahre Friedensrundschau, 3. These portraits illustrate what it meant and looked like to lead a life in accordance with the principles of nonviolence. The movements he led demonstrated how formidable a psychological tactic Satyagraha could be when deployed on a mass scale in forms of non-cooperation and nonviolent resistance.
Handbuch des aktiven Pazifismus. Characterizing deep-seated and unbridgeable differences between occidental and oriental perspectives, he identified distinct and incompatible approaches to peace. It corresponds to India and the entire Orient, but in the West it will never gain secure footing and become a decisive factor. Conscience is what binds us in our humanity, i. Conscience represents a corrective to the socially and spiritually destructive imbalance in occidental life ways that lead to militarism. For Merton, wisdom refers to a medieval Christian notion of social unity.
Universal and Specific Suffering In his postwar writings, Michaltscheff measured a variety of issues against a Gandhian yardstick. It is particularly striking how he drew upon Gandhian teachings, first, to critique perceived Allied malevolence toward and misdeeds against Germans, and, second, to promote the principles of nonviolence as the basis for German political renewal. One finds consistent reference to the wartime bombardment of German cities in his writings. In this regard, it is 82 On the common dialectical logics of Gandhian Satyagraha and European critical theory, see Jahn, Politik und Moral.
His criticisms of Allied actions were grounded as much in personal experience as in ideological principle. I will argue that Gandhian teachings became a means for Michaltscheff to shape his personal experience of trauma into a rhetoric of collective victimization more appropriate to the causes of peace and political renewal. Even in the smallest military maneuvers people lose their lives, homes go up in flames, acts of violence are committed.
That is an inherent principle of war, and it cannot be denied without self-deception. War is the sum of all crimes and as such evil itself. I 85 Michaltscheff, 20 Jahre Friedensrundschau, 5. Original text appears in bold. To give one brief example, consider the following pacifist verse, printed in Der Friedensbote: A man Who sets a house ablaze is an Arsonist who is prosecuted and punished Under the law.
A man Who turns entire cities to Debris and ash is a Conqueror Who is hailed as a hero. A picture emerges of modern war as arson on a massive scale. Cities set ablaze were but the physical manifestations of what made war criminal. Invoking a basic tenet of both the WRI and Gandhian nonviolence, Michaltscheff condemned war as a violation of human dignity.
Writing from the standpoint of principled nonviolence, Michaltscheff deliberately erased distinctions between assailants and defenders; perpetrators and victims; between the multiple experiences of lives impacted by war. He attended to the total numbers of persons killed and widowed, as well as to the total numbers 88 Theodor Michaltscheff to H. The civilian was an important category for Michaltscheff here; it represented the typical victim of modern war. Michaltscheff deployed it to collapse the differences between victims and types of suffering.
To be sure, he neither focused solely on the sufferings of German civilians, nor did he portray the Allies as responsible for World War II. Looking beyond national distinctions, he does occasionally refer to both prisoners of war POWs and displaced persons DPs in Hamburg, as well as to persecuted Jews. However, it is not their suffering that he emphasizes.
Rather, these figures appear as victims who have overcome their anger through acts of kindness towards Germans. These figures stand in contradistinction to occupation policies that exacerbate the suffering of Germans. Michaltscheff was an early critic of British occupation policies, which he felt were driven by a base desire for vengeance. It is worth remembering that the U. Did not ordinary Germans accept the destruction of their cities and homes as retaliation?
Germans, he believed, saw no justice in their treatment by Allied occupiers. Their disappointment might in turn lead to renewed nationalism among the populace. Already in late , Michaltscheff expressed his fear that those Germans 99 Theodor Michaltscheff to H. The [air raids] on Germany tell a tale of their own, and it is high time for the [gentlemen] of the board of propaganda to understand it. The British ought to model just behavior that reflected a belief in the possibility of personal, ethical transformation.
Again, this is a core principle of Satyagraha and reflects the distinction Gandhi drew between injustice and the unjust. It believes not in destruction but in conversion. Consider the aforementioned reference to Germans treated as Untermenschen, where the comparison of postwar Germans to Jews in Nazi Germany is both Ibid. This was not an isolated example. The British compounded the problem by enlisting Germans in what Michaltscheff felt were unjust attempts at denazification. Michaltscheff rejected the idea, advocated by representatives of both the DFG and the IFFF that pacifists should police their ranks and scrutinize the pasts of those who wished to join peace groups.
Wir sind sowieso ein kleiner Haufen nicht einmal 0,05 Prozent des Volkes , und sie, die Denunzianten, verstehen besser ihr Handwerk. To those pacifists whose commitment was not to active nonviolence per se, but to the formal, systematic regulation of interstate conflict resolution, Michaltscheff sounded like an apologist. In the meantime, the latter agreed to put on hold plans to form an independent group of war resisters.
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The DFG proceeded to take no action, and after about a month it appeared as though its leaders had lost interest in forming its own group of war resisters. What exactly happened remains unclear. Whatever the reasons behind the delay, Michaltscheff waited until late September before he planned another organizational meeting for early October.
It became painfully obvious at this meeting that the DFG had not lost interest. It is bad enough that [he] is not a member of the DFG. Of course, the situation looked quite different to Michaltscheff. Decentralized organizations and local initiatives require greater self-discipline among their members, an attribute that Michaltscheff encouraged.
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In self-discipline — which he distinguished from blind obedience to authority — Michaltscheff saw a requirement for the creation of a democratic culture in Germany. Truth be told, Michaltscheff did not consider DFG members to be pacifists in the sense of war resisters. The former held a broad range of views on war and did not unanimously support either conscientious objection or war resistance.
Runham Brown? At the same time, Michaltscheff mobilized idealized images of Gandhi and eastern spiritualism — images that relied heavily upon standard European tropes of the colonial Other as spiritual, pure, and authentic. This is hardly surprising. The horrors of the air war on Germany and the immediacy of occupation fostered attention to the British as the poster children of colonial violence and oppression. Drawing analogies between practices of imperial administration and Allied occupation; colonial resistance and postwar political renewal, Michaltscheff painted pictures of unscrupulous Englishmen and German civilians who were victims of their own and foreign governments.
He implicitly compared the position of Germans under the Allied occupation to that of colonial peoples around the globe living under British rule. There remains considerable work to be done on the extent to which extraparliamentary activists such as Michaltscheff participated in the repression and rewriting of colonial narratives after There is a well- established scholarly literature on the trope of the German as victim in postwar German history that explores the politicization and functionalization of representations of German victims in the process of constructing new collective identities.
Scholars only rarely attend to social movements as sites of memory production. There are two prominent exceptions to this rule: refugee associations of the s and student activists of the New Left during the s. The fact that these interests were articulated through social movement activism is not considered relevant to their contributions to the public discourse on German identity.
Why are social movements ignored as sites of memory production? There are several reasons. Scholars focus on the most obvious and prominent discursive, visual, and spatial contributions to the collage of elements that contribute to national memory. Less obvious articulations are generally looked upon as failed contributions, with little if anything of value for scholarly analysis.
This was even so among peace activists like parliamentarian Helene Wessel Center Party , who, in an impassioned speech against West German rearmament, evoked the five hundred thousand German POWs who remained in Soviet custody. See IdK-Pressedienst, no.
Like the piece published in March , Michaltscheff evokes a specific and intimate German relationship to the horrors of war against the tide of Cold War. Various referents for explaining German victimhood prevailed in different arenas at different times. Citing British aggression, Michaltscheff compared the experience of Germans to that of various colonized peoples around the globe.
At a minimum, he contributed a particular colonial fantasy to pacifist discourse. The extent to which he drew upon and contributed to broader public discourses on colonialism and empire remains to be seen. The obstacles to a German Satyagraha movement were multiple. Its prospects were influenced by the ebb and flow of Cold War geopolitics, their impact upon the lives of Germans, and the ability of war resisters to interpret and apply the principles of Satyagraha so that they spoke to both.
In this section, I change gears to examine efforts of Michaltscheff and others to promote a Gandhian-inspired war resistance as the basis for German political renewal under conditions of Cold War, their failure, and its impact on the reformulation of nonviolent activism within West German social movements of the late s and early s.
Early in the postwar period it seemed clear that West German political rehabilitation was to be a slow, long-term process. Full sovereignty and rearmament were not on the table, at least not officially. As we saw in the previous chapter, this changed quickly. Just as the Cold War engendered the division of Germany, it catalyzed the integration of the fledgling West German state into a military-strategic front against Soviet communism.
The Allies had to overcome both their own misgivings and West German public opinion about German rearmament. Both parties would be wooed and cajoled by Konrad Adenauer, the first West German chancellor, who saw in rearmament and participation in the western strategic alliance a path toward political rehabilitation and full state sovereignty. They had to resolve difficult questions about the size of a German contribution to a collective defense arrangement; the exact role of Germans within this pact; and the extent of extranational control over German military and strategic decision making.
The first fifteen hundred recruits to the Bundeswehr appeared in public in mid- January Here, Michaltscheff evoked the notion of a German Mittlervolk. Germans, he said, could take advantage of their current subjugation as a defeated enemy; transform their status as a buffer to that of a Ibid. It also differed from the politics of most German neutralists, who prioritized national unity over Cold War geopolitics.
Kraschutzki, in fact, advised against WRI intervention in the situation by way of a foreign Satyagraha team. Even if passports were granted to war resisters, he felt that their presence in the city would prove ineffective and possibly counterproductive. Western police would create obstacles to their work; the Soviets would just as surely appropriate their presence for their own ends.
In an environment where opponents continued to demonize one another, the prospects for peace were negligible. In general, war resisters held few hopes for the success of nonviolent action to stem the tides of the Cold War. See Kraushaar, Protest-Chronik, The Adenauer administration successfully promoted a strict, narrow reading of Basic Law Article 4,3, removing a potential obstacle to West German rearmament and conscription.
It reflected the mood of a sizeable portion of the public. To the contrary, they expressed disillusionment with both their fallen political leaders and the prospect of another war. Details will be governed by a federal law. He feared that the Adenauer administration would depoliticize an act i.
Ein empirisch- analytische Studie zur Motivation der Kriegsdienstverweigerer in den Jahren Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, , By , government officials were characterizing this article of the Basic Law as an anachronistic expression of immediate postwar antimilitarism that stood in the way of full West German sovereignty, including the right to self-preservation. The administration made no attempts to amend the Basic Law itself at this early date; Adenauer did not have the two-thirds parliamentary majority he would have needed for this.
Instead, he sought to undermine the notion that conscientious objection was a basic constitutional right. The introduction of conscription reinforced the idea that conscientious objection as the exception, rather than the rule. Schenck, , The CO was defined as an anomalous, ethically-motivated outsider. Peace activists simply lacked the financial resources and levels of active membership, among other requirements, to do more than voice their discontent from the margins of public culture.
He wrote, produced, and distributed numerous pamphlets. Anticipating an unfavorable federal law, the IdK also founded Beratungsstelle for potential conscientious objectors. Those in the West who sought to liberate their eastern brethren by force, Michaltscheff argued, risked the downfall of the entire German nation: There was little doubt, he argued, that Germany would serve as the main battlefield of a conflagration in which the most modern means of mass destruction would be deployed.
Michaltscheff did not simply dissent from Adenauer administration policies on rearmament and strategic alliances; he challenged the practices and procedures of West German governance. No elected body, he argued, may ratify a treaty with such profound consequences against the wishes of public opinion. During the s, his writings on war and peace frequently segued into discussions of West German public culture, political practice, and rights. His commentaries on the politics of conscription, for example, were statements on the toleration of Andersdenkenden, dissidents, and non-conformists.
The suppression of dissenting views indicated that something was amiss in public life. Toleration reflected self-discipline and a willingness to subordinate oneself to democratic practices. Three aspects of this argument require emphasis. First, behind his critique of political formalism was a concern over lingering public preferences for the values of the Obrigkeitsstaat. Second, Michaltscheff feared the concentration of political power in the hands of established political parties.
Finally, drawing a distinction between legality and formalism, on the one hand, and the spirit of democracy, on the other hand, Michaltscheff alluded to a proper relationship of political institutions to the spirit of democracy. Governance reflects democratic principles in the same way that man exalts God. At moments, analogy slipped into metonymy, as when Michaltscheff claimed that the voice of the people represented the voice of God. At the annual conference in Kassel, officials reported that membership had risen to an estimated four thousand persons divided among approximately seventy local affiliates.
During the mids, they emerged as vibrant loci of action and protest. They made their presence known through media coverage of their events and, in turn, attracted new, younger members to the organization. Ultimately, frustrations with him led to his replacement as IdK chairman in by Hans A. As previously mentioned, the first Beraterstellungen were established in Advising centers were established in practically every major city. A dearth of qualified counselors led the organization to hold training courses for advisors. Hans-Konrad Tempel to Arlo [Tatum?
Neither these personnel changes nor the growth in membership and local affiliates improved the atmosphere within the organization. The mood among them soured considerably as the first conscripted troops were called up in April Of the initial fifteen thousand young men to appear in uniform on April 1, , less than 1 percent applied for CO status. Adding insult to injury, about 8 percent of those called up sought to extend their service for longer than the required twelve months.
The number of CO applicants would rise slightly to an average of approximately thirty-three hundred per year during the first ten years of conscription. The lack of interest expressed by men of service age left pacifists bewildered and deeply disappointed. For example, individual members were wont to criticize the leadership.
Of the several organizations in West Germany, war resisters hoped to join forces with the Gruppe der Wehrdienstverweigerer GdW. Founded in Cologne during the fall of by members of the Jungsozialisten and trade union-affiliated youth groups, it quickly made a name for itself through inventive forms of propaganda and protest. Within two years, the GdW counted some three thousand members. It was not just that the two organizations competed for members. Michaltscheff, for one, openly criticized state measures aimed at the repression of particular political worldviews.
There were members of the IdK who favored such a statement. The IdK — as an institution — has refused until now to examine the reproaches being made since some years within and outside the movement. Internal discussions over the next several months proved fruitless and grew increasingly frustrating. According to Ibid. The discussion turned directly to the so-called independence clause. After six hours of discussion it became clear that its respective supporters and detractors were far from compromise. A vote was finally taken close to midnight, and the majority approximately 65 percent rejected the clause, surprising even its staunchest opponents.
Despite the best efforts of many to steer the negotiations out of an impasse, it was not to be. In his personal reflections, Michaltscheff claims to have been more concerned about the Michaltscheff, 20 Jahre Friedensrundschau, Conclusion The community of war resisters was on the mend by the turn of the decade.
Admittedly, marginal public interest in conscientious objection, anti-communist pressures, and national election trends continued to frustrate peace activists. Yet their actions and associations, such as the IdK, also were attracting greater interest.
Synonyms and antonyms of Langschläferin in the German dictionary of synonyms
In a report on the state of the organization, Michaltscheff described tremendous growth in membership. Similar developments were afoot in the Landesverband Nordrhein-Westfalen; practically non-existent in , it counted some forty local affiliates in Young men of conscription age made up the bulk of the new IdK members. Thanks to the efforts of individuals at the local level, even the relationship between the IdK and VK showed signs of mending. He also advised West German activists to consult with authorities on nonviolent action, such as Gene Sharp. Martin Luther King, Jr. In both situations, nonviolent resistance exposed the fact of oppression and Hans-Konrad Tempel to Niels [Nagel?
Opposition to atomic weapons in the Federal Republic represented a struggle of a qualitatively different sort, wherein war resisters opposed state military policies — policies that did not directly oppress and may only potentially have affected the lives of their opponents. This would not make the use of nonviolent methods illegitimate forms of protest. As the U. Muste, and other U.
Theodor Ebert also would promote and popularize a technique-based approach to nonviolent action in the Federal Republic. April von Dr. In West Germany they paid increasing attention to nonviolence as a technique rather than as an expression of ethical principles. It seems ironic, then, that the Easter March campaigns, in which Tempel played so important a role, were less acts of resistance than of witness to the prospects of nuclear destruction. Even if one approached war resistance on his terms, Michaltscheff fell short of the mark.
According to the U. Geschichte der ausserparlamentarischen Opposition in der Bundeserpublik Frankfurt am Main: Campus, , esp. See also Michaltscheff, Nicht zu diesem Preis, Michaltscheff may have revered Gandhi, but he was not Gandhi. He was a devotee and propagandist, in whose writings personal memory substituted for inner unity. Facing this new era, many West German pacifists shifted away from nationally-oriented peace politics and, instead, invoked supranational political concerns that encompassed humanity as a single community of ethical concern.
For images of the KdA campaign, see Heiss und Kalt. Focusing on the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft DFG , I argue that the global turn in peace rhetoric associated with antinuclearism took its cue from Protestant criticisms of West German political culture at mid-century and enabled pacifist identification with and support for national liberation movements around the world during the s. DFG expressions of solidarity demonstrate how a 3 This line of argument was first established by Karl A. Geschichte der ausserparlamentarischen Opposition in der Bundesrepublik Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag, Benjamin Ziemann Essen: Klartext Verlag, , , here Whereas conventional wisdom describes a turn among extraparliamentary activists from moral exhortation to political action during the s,6 I argue that humanitarian and political aims were largely co-constitutive elements of an increasingly radical pacifist politics of solidarity.
The radicalization of pacifism reveals an underlying tension between pacifist rhetoric of human solidarity and support for non-pacifist liberation movements that elevated human dignity above the sanctity of human life. After a discussion of Protestant cultural criticism and its influence within DFG leadership circles, I examine pacifist actions in various extraparliamentary arenas for the ways in which activists took recourse to the language of Christian universalism to justify expressions of solidarity with divergent political causes, including anticolonial liberation movements.
These steps demonstrate pacifist efforts to adjust their notions of pacifism to historically-contingent obligations of solidarity. They also speak to the emerging tension for pacifists between affective and materialist formulations of solidarity. Some members, like Chairman Gerhard Schmidt, promoted an explicitly political turn, a shift away from advocacy-based actions oriented by ideas of the legal regulation of interstate conflict.
Schmidt called for federal world government and public peace work that thematized concrete, contemporary challenges like military conscription, national division, the Berlin question, and, of course, nuclear weapons. Indeed, in the DFG resolved the long-standing question of whether or not to support conscientious objection, amending its statutes to commit itself to 7 Alfons Spielhoff quoted in Stefan Appelius, Pazifismus in Westdeutschland. It is worth noting that the DFG did not endorse conscientious objection as an act of moral refusal. They sidestepped just such a formulation in favor of an explicitly political definition of conscientious objection.
In the wake of political and legal decisions that established compulsory military service in the Federal Republic, the leadership embraced conscientious objection as a statement of individual, political liberty akin to the right to strike codified in labor law. In their attempts to capitalize on the groundswell of public opposition to a nuclear Bundeswehr, they encouraged more proactive and polemical peace work along lines established during the interwar years by the Hagen circle. Of particular concern to my argument is that DFG speakers and policies demonstrate the influence of pre-existing discourses on cultural crisis and Protestant theology.
Speaking at a DFG event in , Johannes Harder offers a useful example of how pacifists extended the discourse on cultural crisis that informed their earliest responses to the nuclear threat to criticize the failure of West Germans to support democratic political values. Taking as his starting point the proposition that democracy was an exercise in collective responsibility, he argued that its fundamental principles had been betrayed by a populace and political leaders who placed excessive trust in the formal structures of political institutions.
West Germans, Harder argued, had yet to fully appreciate — let alone embrace — the responsibilities of democratic citizenship.
Meaning of "Langschläferin" in the German dictionary
In the same vein, future DFG Chairman Gottfried Wandersleb accused police officials and the West German courts of deliberately abusing legal formalities in an effort to deny antinuclear activists their substantive right to political protest. Citing an incident in which he and a small group of protesters resisted and legally challenged their arrest for participating in a Duisburg sit-in, Wandersleb emphasized how protesters — and, implicitly, protests — were characterized before the courts as a public nuisance grober Unfug.
Better to let them be monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution than to consider the substance of their opinions. To be precise, they both justified democracy largely as an expression of Christian principles in governance. This could only occur in the nuclear age with an outright rejection of warfare.
Bundestagung der Deutschen Friedensgesellschaft e. This is not to say that the DFG had become a Christian organization. Its program required no adherence to Christian doctrine. The considerable number of peace activists affiliated with both the DFG and the Deutsche Friedensunion DFU — to name only one organization in which socialists were active — requires serious consideration.
Both traditions offered positions from which to criticize the perceived hypocrisy of West German democracy, and posited ways for thinking of extranational solidarity based on commitments to social justice. Despite impressive demonstrations during the preceding months that brought tens of thousands of West Germans out to protest against equipping Bundeswehr troops with nuclear weapons, KdA had lost momentum. When this tactic failed, the party turned to the various states of the Federal Republic, calling for referenda in each.
This effort, in turn, collapsed in July, when the Bundesverfassungsgericht declared plebiscites of this kind incompatible with the Basic Law. For a statement on the structure of extraparliamentary protest in German history, see K. Its organizers initially eschewed protests against specific public policies in favor of general statements that called attention to the potential human costs of nuclear warfare. They avoided association with — and appropriation by — suspect i.
DFG involvement with the Easter Marches is instructive in this regard. Its formal relationship to the campaign began in as an allied organization that provided limited financial support and publicity. After all, the Easter Marches did organize over two thousand events between and , involving approximately six hundred thousand participants — one hundred fifty thousand persons took part during one year alone. The idea met with some resistance from Easter March organizers, some of whom expressed doubts over the effectiveness of petition card drives in general.
Bodo Manstein, for example, argued that hundreds of thousands of petition cards directed towards officials in Bonn had less effect on government policy than the direct influence of an advocate or organization over a handful of parliamentarians. March organizers worried that cooperation with the DFG might be construed as a mark of undue influence or, indeed, dependence on the DFG. After some deliberation, however, they agreed to allow the distribution of petition cards that contained no explicit reference to the DFG as organizer of the petition drive.
Whatever publicity DFG leaders hoped to garner was thus lost. According to Benjamin Ziemann, antinuclear movements of this era could be heterogeneous,38 their internal diversity masked by regimented means and symbols of communication that aimed to project a singular voice and image of respectability.
She describes the South-West regional march that she co- organized as a melting pot of activists and ideological motivations, wherein Christians, Communists, Socialists, COs, and pacifists stood together and carried the same flags and placards. Scholarship on the Easter Marches tends to ignore both their heterogeneity and the positive elements of community formation.
These observations complement Karl A. As he writes, already in organizers faced the difficult task of keeping the humanitarian focus of an action that brought together an expanding constituency with disparate political points of view. By , this Mahnwache was well on its way to becoming an arena for experimental protest by activists who increasingly thematized disarmament as a facet of a broader agenda of sociostructural and socioeconomic transformation.
The latter prevailed. The formation of a parliamentary Grand Coalition in and its impact on the push to promulgate emergency laws for the Federal Republic already initiated in ; negotiations over a multilateral nuclear force within NATO; and the escalation of the U. Amidst emerging arenas for protest e. Falken, Naturfreundjugend [NFJ] to largely independent social democratic and unaligned youth who sought a public voice in contemporary political debates. On this basis, he builds an analysis of the politicization of campaign objectives that implies a transition away from pacifist principles based on the false assumption that acts of witness and politics are mutually-exclusive prospects.
Furthermore, by associating politicization with generational transition, Otto treats radical political opposition as an expression of psychosocial rebellion, as another chapter in a national Schicksalsdrama. And while Otto focuses on the Easter Marches as a laboratory for the experiments of student activists, we also should consider the influence of developments within the Easter March campaigns on other, related fields of activism.
First, it is worth recalling that the DFG was an association in flux, in organizational crisis even. On the verge of collapse, an association that once boasted thirty thousand members had only two thousand by — one-eigth of the combined total for West 45 K. For evidence of emulation one can look to DFG actions taken against the proposed emergency laws. Emergency Laws need only soldiers! To the contrary, according to an internal organizational memo, they represented the sentiments of the 51 Pavel A.
Vom Ereignis zum Gegenstand der Geschichtswissenschaft, ed. Like their non-pacifist colleagues, they infused their criticisms with rhetoric of a fascist revival. Ulrike M. According to Stefan Appelius, the ban of the Communist Party KPD led those of its former members who desired to remain politically active into independent peace organizations. He contends that they exerted considerable influence over the DFG and its declining and aging membership.
The latter was a political party conceived as an alliance of disparate social and political elements Christians, communists, nationalists, neutralists, pacifists, and socialists bound by commitments to German reunification and strategies of Cold War demilitarization. For reasons already mentioned, and despite the leftist course taken by the DFU, pacifist participation therein did not demonstrate a return to Jungpazifismus. For that matter, the fact that pacifists and socialists increasingly occupied common ground is not in itself evidence of appropriation of pacifism by communists.
Nor is the strategy of alliances pursued by the illegal KPD in order to further its cause proof of cooptation. This was particularly evident among DFG leaders. As we have seen, unlike the Social Democrats Bangel or Schmidt, a number of their colleagues were motivated in their activism by religious faith. Like Wandersleb, she was closely affiliated with the Easter March campaign, first becoming active in peace work through the march and playing several organizational roles in it over the years.
Die Parteien der Bundesrepublik Deutschland , ed. Today [this message] means: Solidarity with the people who have been excluded, whose right to life has been challenged, really has been taken. Or as we now say: Disarmament instead of dismantling social programs. As I make clear below, Schulte was undoubtedly influenced by the social criticism of non-pacifists participating in successive extraparliamentary campaigns against nuclear weapons, the emergency laws, and the Vietnam War.
She made no apologies for her leftist political sympathies, leading on occasion to angry responses and charges of direlection of her duties as DFG-IdK chairman. Pacifists had to confont and reconcile themselves with the turn to provocative, forceful, and at times violent acts of solidarity advocated and perpetrated by members of the broader extraparliamentary milieu.
New questions emerged as to whether a personal commitment to nonviolence precluded political solidarity with non-pacifist forces that promoted progressive social change by any means necessary. Pacifist reactions to calls for or acts of violence in solidarity with the people of Vietnam were mixed. Generally speaking, West German pacifists did not abandon their personal commitments to nonviolent action.
At the same time, they refused to condemn some acts of violence perpetrated by others. This problem cannot be explained solely by the influence of younger particularly student activists on or within the DFG. Their politics in solidarity with the people of Vietnam speaks to the conflicting implications of antinuclear and 67 See Otto, Vom Ostermarsch zur APO, , Pacifist commitments to solidarity with humanity ultimately clashed with their desire to support liberation movements and the reality of Europeans and non-Europeans perpetrating acts of violence against other human beings.
With the exception of the proposed emergency laws, no subject fomented as much extraparliamentary political activity during the s as the Vietnam War. Opposition to the U. According to Wilfried Mausbach, the policy of escalation raised fears of a protracted conflict that threatened to expand around the globe. Opponents of the war argued that the brutality of U.
Andreas W. Daum, Lloyd C. University campuses became centers of antiwar activity. This money was intended for humanitarian purposes, primarily the purchase of medical supplies. Behind its call for humanitarian aid was criticism of an aggressive military campaign launched by an imperial power in violation of the sovereign, democratic rights that this power purported to represent. The United States risked an expansive war that would compromise its West German ally both morally and physically. The HV was not conceived of as a purely humanitarian campaign, but rather took deliberately political tones.
Zollikon, , , Race stood in for a global system of power distribution and material inequality made unsustainable by the nuclear threat.
Dokumente und Kommentare, ed. Christian Walther Munich: Chr. The U. In a conflict like this, Germans could not again consider themselves bystanders. They must advocate the war's end as an initial step towards a geopolitics of Zusammenleben. Citing U. Like in their rhetoric against proposed emergency legislation, pacifists increasingly compared U. Its authors essentially rewrote twentieth-century history to account for the Vietnam War as part of a longer line of aggressive and inhumane U.
Taking as its starting point the U. The Cold War, too, is described as the fault of the United States: Though we must remember that the war against the Hitler state would have lasted substantially longer without the U. They are implicated in both the division of Germany and in the arming of its parts.
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Furthermore, all claims that the U. Coupling support for the U. Renate Riemeck described as prone to the influence of its global benefactor, the prospect of sending West German troops to Vietnam loomed on the political horizon. Percentage-wise, their participation was minor, though it was admitted that Communists were strongly represented in leadership positions and gave the FNL organizational and ideological structure. In essence, he asked the same question of his countrymen from the late s onward: As Germans and Christians, what could they do for the cause of world peace?
Given the organizational overlap of the Easter Marches and coordinated opposition groups in the campaign against the emergency laws, there is a basis to compare pacifist and non-pacifist antiwar activism. The conference's aim was to strategize and coordinate the respective antiwar efforts of its participants.
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Delegates agreed to work with and through the Frankfurt Bureau for Vietnam as a media outlet, which among its other activities, and together with similar offices in Berlin and Munich, promoted the work of campaigns like the HV. Generally speaking, pacifists expressed a greater desire for cooperation and an affinity with West German student activists than vice versa. Rede auf der Ostermarschkundgebung in Frankfurt am Main Moreover, the article describes Ohnesorg as a martyr whose death served as evidence in support of student criticisms of state authority.
Scholars and contemporaries agree that the war was a foundational event in the history of the West German student movement. Otto, APO, Much more than its and, specifically, Dutschke's call for provocative action, the Congress highlighted the far-reaching network of persons, groups, and ideas that gave the movement against the Vietnam War its international character. Uwe Bergamnn et al. Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohl Taschenbuch, , , esp. From their participation in protests against the Vietnam War, we know that — unlike antiauthoritarian student activists — pacifists placed explicit limits on the use of violence in their expressions of solidarity.
Conflicts like that in Vietnam led WRI members to discuss the problem of violence in liberation struggles. Its statement emphasized the struggle against all forms of degradation and dehumanization. These arguments were not meant to undercut the WRI's solidarity with revolutionary causes.
It supported the goals of revolutionaries, just not their means. Moreover, they had to contribute to the latter's cause. Pacifists of the mid- to late s remained essentially true to established forms of peaceful intervention. Bulletin der Schweizer Sektion der Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner, no. Typical in this regard was an appeal to Ho Chi Minh that sought support for the establishment of protective zones in Vietnam, a move that would either force the U.
In an appeal to the governments of Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, they promoted mutual economic assistance for the cultivation and settlement of disputed territories as a means to overcome tension and hostility between Israel and its neighbors. Both appeals also embodied the concept of political advisement traditionally practiced by German peace advocates. However, even here the boundary between what constituted appropriate and unacceptable expressions of solidarity was malleable.
DFG responses to the self- immolation of four U. At no point in their printed statements did DFG leaders question these acts of self- sacrifice. To the contrary, the four activists who burned themselves to death were honored for their protests against the U. Self-immolation was presented as a legitimate, if extreme, response to the perceived crisis of American society signified by the Vietnam War.
While student radicals readily embraced revolutionary liberation movements and, less widely, violent acts of political solidarity, pacifists displayed ambivalent conflicting inclinations. At its founding congress the leadership insisted that the question of acceptable means of resistance be determined by the context of contemporary threats to peace. Even he, who placed a high premium on maintaining the DFG's name as a symbol of tradition within the new organization, hoped that the merger would bring with it younger, politically-minded activists able to take up economic and sociological challenges to peace.
It stated pacifist objectives tailored to more contemporary questions and challenges. In principle, Hannelis Schulte to the author, December 13, There are echoes here of van Lierde's call to pacifists to recognize how their cause was bound up with the revolutionary struggles of the day. The newly formed DFG-IdK professed its commitment to democratization of the state, economy, and society, and it promised to help West Germans realize a just social order that ensured the unfettered development and exercise of basic democratic rights and freedoms.
Student activists tended to identify pacifists with the first type and responded by turning away from them as compromised and bankrupt. However, instead of abandoning the possibility of pacifism outright, she asked how society could move from the false to the legitimate idea of peace. We may look at destructive violence only as [an] ultimo ratio — as the option of last resort.
At the same time, she appreciated the fundamental complexity of challenges posed by violence. Hannelis Schulte et al. For Dutschke, the challenges of creating a New Man would be worked out in the process of revolutionary struggle. Reiterating Schulte's emphasis on context, Riemeck warned against dogmatic approaches to the question of violence. Arguing that the declaration should not be changed, he described it as a strong, clear, uncompromising, and yet limited statement that, precisely in its limitations, could be applied across historical and national circumstances.
The See chapter six. A narrower statement, for example, one committing WRI member organizations to nonviolence in their struggle against oppression, would only alienate DFG-IdK members who rejected programmatic commitments to nonviolence. Such strict definitions could simultaneously anchor pacifism and allow greater mobility for action outside the boundaries of conventional warfare.
In this manner, he and his colleagues expressed ambivalence over the role of violence in liberation struggles. Conversely, they conveyed doubts about the prospects for nonviolence as a means of struggle at their moment in history.