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New Left Review I/186, March-April 1991

Tilman Fichter

Political Generations in Federal Germany

We are not free—we have only been freed.

Erich Kästner, The Little Freedom

Insight into a particular generation is best gained by comparing it with others. [*] This article is based on a paper given at the Centre for European Studies, Harvard University. The generation that came of age in the late sixties—the so-called ‘’68 generation’—is widely believed to have had an unparalleled influence on post-war Germany. I do not share this view. Examination of all the generations since 1945 produces a much more complicated conclusion. Let us begin with the ‘front-line generation’.

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