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The Greenest Nation?A New History of German Environmentalism$
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Frank Uekötter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027328

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027328.001.0001

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The Green Enigma

The Green Enigma

German Environmentalism, 1980 to 2013

Chapter:
(p.113) 4 The Green Enigma
Source:
The Greenest Nation?
Author(s):

Frank Uekötter

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027328.003.0004

In German history, the 1980s are the green decade par excellence. The Green Party rose to prominence, environmental problems received prime attention across the political spectrum, and green sentiments even became part of Germany's patriotic creed. The chapter discusses this boom time as well as its blind spots: for instance, issues of environmental justice never received much attention in the German context. The chapter also includes a discussion of East Germany's peculiar environmental history between 1949 and 1989 that highlights the ephemeral nature of the Socialist brand of environmentalism. The second part follows the stagnation of environmental causes in the 1990s and the strangely convoluted story of the red-green coalition between the social democrats and the Green Party between 1998 and 2005 – a unique endeavor in European politics but also one that many activists found disappointing. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Angela Merkel's chancellorship.

Keywords:   Green Party, forest death (Waldsterben), Cold War, global environmentalism, Rio Summit of 1972, Eastern Europe, Socialism, German Democratic Republic, nuclear power, risk society, climate change, bipartisan consensus on environmental issues, red-green coalition, corporatism, Gerhard Schröder, Angela Merkel

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