Das Trauma von “1968”: Liberale Hochschullehrer in Westdeutschland und Frankreich

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This contribution sheds light on the reaction of liberal university teachers to the students’ revolt of “1968”. For university professors such as Ernst Fraenkel and Richard Löwenthal “1968” was a traumatic experience : an experience of extreme emotional intensity which overtaxed their possibilities to cope with it and lastingly shook the way in which they understood themselves. By “1968” they saw their mission of a consensus - liberal democratization of West Germany seriously endangered. Again, the “shadows of Weimar” seemed to threaten the Federal Republic. For them, “1968” was the most recent chapter of the apparent medical history of an anti - Western German special path. Beyond the Rhine, where in 1968 the fights on the barricades were raging, Raymond Aron tried to cope with the shocking “events” by interpreting them as a theatrical re - staging of the February Revolution of 1848. However, also this way of national - historic narrativization was hardly able to alleviate the traumatic effect of “1968”.
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)101-114
JournalTotalitarismus und Demokratie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Scholars
  • West Germany
  • France
  • 1968
  • Liberalism

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