Issue 1/2014

Content Overview: English Titles and Abstracts:

  • Bernhard Gotto: Disappointment as a Political Resource: On the Cohesion of the West German Peace Movement During the 1980s.
  • Hans-Christoph Seidel: The Mining Trade Union and the “Guest Workers”. Immigration Policy in the Ruhr Mining Area Between the Late 1950s and the 1980s.
  • Astrid M. Eckert: Harbingers of Downfall. Boundary Waters as an Environmental Problem between West and East Germany.
  • Ewald Grothe: Hans Rosenberg and the History of German Liberalism. His Unpublished Inaugural Lecture, January 1933.

Abstracts

Bernhard Gotto: Disappointment as a Political Resource: On the Cohesion of the West German Peace Movement During the 1980s

 

Willy Brandt’s “Take a Chance on More Democracy” [mehr Demokratie wagen], Helmut Kohl’s “Flourishing Landscapes” [blühende Landschaften], Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” – recent history is full of examples for high-flying hopes followed by bitter disappointments. But what consequences did this have for democracy as such? By way of the example of the largest protest movement of the 1980s, this investigation looks into which disappointments resulted from a dedication to peace activism and a differing understanding of democracy, what consequences derived from and how the activists dealt with this feeling. Their disappointment is shown to be more than a concomitant phenomenon, since it even served as a resource for political action and an emotional treatment mode for social contingence and complexity.

 


Hans-Christoph Seidel: The Mining Trade Union and the “Guest Workers”. Immigration Policy in the Ruhr Mining Area Between the Late 1950s and the 1980s


The article examines statements, perceptions, positions and political approaches of the Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau und Energie (IGBE – Industrial Trade Union for Mining and Energy) to the question of the employment of so-called “guest workers” in Ruhr region mining from the second half of the 1950s to the late 1980s. Like other trade unions, the IGBE was very sceptical about the commencement of recruiting “guest workers” in the second half of the 1950s. At first it showed only little interest in their specific problems. In the early 1970s this position changed fundamentally for a number of reasons. The IGBE developed an extraordinarily extensive degree of commitment to the social and cultural integration of the – in mining overwhelmingly Turkish – “guest workers” and their families. It is demonstrated how this commitment was connected to quite specific economic and social conditions in West German coal mining. During the 1980s the IGBE thus entered the political arena on Ausländerpolitik [resident alien policy] in West Germany as a whole, which was torn between attempts at social integration and policies supporting repatriation.

 


Astrid Eckert: Harbingers of Downfall. Boundary Waters as an Environmental Problem between West and East Germany

 

The article analyses trans-boundary pollution of rivers flowing between East and West Germany and the ways in which both states tried to cope with the problem. For the Federal Republic, this was a pressing concern because 95% of all such rivers ran from East to West. The article illuminates the dynamics that evolved between both German states during the 1970s and 1980s as they tried to negotiate trans-boundary environmental problems. It explains which specific political circumstances, clashing interpretations and interests influenced or prevented agreements. One outstanding factor impacting on East German negotiation strategies was the country’s need for western currency. During the 1980s, the chronic shortage of foreign currency facilitated a development in which the environment became a commodity. The river Werra, heavily polluted by potash salts, serves as an example for this development. In this manner, not only environmental policy, but even the ecology of the rivers serves as an independent historical factor.

 


Ewald Grothe: Hans Rosenberg and the History of German Liberalism. His Unpublished Inaugural Lecture, January 1933

 

On 23 January 1933 – just one week before Hitler was made Reich Chancellor – Hans Rosenberg gave his inaugural lecture as a private lecturer in the auditorium of Cologne University. The lecture manuscript survives in the Rosenberg collection at the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz and is published here for the first time. Rosenberg’s text “The Epochs of Party Political Liberalism in Germany” is a politically argumentative overview. It offers a critical contemporary analysis of liberal thought and politics since the early 19th century. The disappointment in the state of political liberalism in 1932/33 of a loyal supporter of the Weimar Republic is palpable. The clear political accentuations and assessments of the historical development in this lecture manuscript make it a document of special relevance. Additionally the inaugural lecture in January 1933 marks the beginning of Rosenberg’s methodological transition from the history of ideas to constitutional and social history. His critical interpretation of liberalism was taken up and developed by German social historiography since the 1960s.

 




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