Militant Democracy: The Legacy of Germany’s War on Terror in the 1970s

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2014-07-29
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Rosenfeld, Alan
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Taylor & Francis
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In the 1970s the Federal Republic of Germany found itself locked in a battle with leftwing extremism, when groups of self-styled urban guerrillas attempted to press through a radical agenda using methods that included bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations. This essay examines the counterterrorist initiatives of West Germany’s ruling social-liberal coalition as anti-state violence forced officials to reconsider the principles of democracy and state power. With the collapse of the Weimar Republic casting an ominous shadow, political leaders gradually forged a consensus around the concept of “militant democracy.” In practice, this meant a more centralized state, prepared to forcefully defend the lives and property of its citizens against terrorist attacks. Although the country embraced a new image of German militarism in the form of counterterrorist commandos, citizens expressed a growing concern over computerized crime fighting as an intrusive surveillance of their private lives.
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This article was originally published in the journal, The European Legacy, vol.19, n.5 and has been modified to conform to ADA standards and practices.
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Rosenfeld, A. (2014). Militant Democracy: The Legacy of West Germany’s War on Terror in the 1970s. The European Legacy, 19(5), 568-589. doi:10.1080/10848770.2014.943531
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29 pages
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The European Legacy on July 29, 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/10848770.2014.943531.
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