The Other Alliance: Student Protest in West Germany and the United States in the Global Sixties

By Martin Klimke | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
BETWEEN BERKELEY AND BERLIN,
FRANKFURT AND SAN FRANCISCO
THE NETWORKS AND NEXUS OF TRANSNATIONAL PROTEST

“GERMANY. OH REALLY? We have a sister organization there, also called SDS. We’ll give you the names and you can go and see them over there.”1 This was the information that Douglas Blagdon received in the summer of 1964 when he told the U.S. national Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) office of his plan to spend an academic year in West Germany. What he did not know at that point was that ever since Michael Vester’s visit in 1961/62 the German and the American SDS had kept in touch and continued to enjoy a loose but fraternal relationship. Members of the American SDS such as Blagdon would regularly inquire for contact addresses when traveling to Europe to meet with their German counterparts. Both organizations invited each other for conferences, received each other’s publications such as the neue kritik or the New Left Notes, and included their transatlantic peers on their mailing lists and international newsletters. As a result, both groups were very much aware of their respective activities and discussions.2

Consequently, it was only natural that after this revelation Douglas Blagdon was looking forward to getting in touch with his German peers. As he wrote in a letter to the Frankfurt SDS, “I am very happy to have found comrades in Germany and am looking forward to learning more about your work.”3 Blagdon subsequently stayed in Frankfurt and later in Berlin and frequently visited the local German SDS chapters. In their discussions, he often illustrated the official American perspective on foreign and domestic policy issues and contrasted it with the domestic critique put forward by the American SDS or other organizations. Blagdon recalls, however, that while most of the discussions in Germany had previously concentrated on New Left politics and civil rights, in 1965 these topics were already being replaced by what was to become one of the prime topics among student organizations in both countries during the second half of the 1960s: the American involvement in Vietnam.4

-40-

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The Other Alliance: Student Protest in West Germany and the United States in the Global Sixties
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1- SDS Meets SDS 10
  • Chapter 2- Between Berkeley and Berlin, Frankfurt and San Francisco the Networks and Nexus of Transnational Protest 40
  • Chapter 3- Building the Second Front the Transatlantic Antiwar Alliance 75
  • Chapter 4- Black and Red Panthers 108
  • Chapter 5- The Other Alliance and the Transatlantic Partnership 143
  • Chapter 6- Student Protest and International Relations 194
  • Conclusion 236
  • Notes 247
  • Sources 325
  • Index 329
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