Green and Red between tensions and opportunities: a history of the formation of the West German Green Party, 1968-1981.




Burns, Grant Alexander

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In the West German federal election of 1983, the Green party won enough votes to earn seats the Bundestag. The young party’s fame grew exponentially as a result and they have become, arguably, the most well-known of all environmental parties. This project explores the formation of the Greens. The Greens’ political identity is reassessed by examining the party’s roots in the new social movements and the formation of the party, regionally and federally. I contend that the Greens represent a political experiment whose establishment as a parliamentary party was never certain. The Greens attempted to integrate “postmaterialist” issues and grassroots organizational forms into the traditional politics of the Federal Republic. This paper also establishes the opportunities available for a new party within the context of the development of the left in post-war West Germany.



Elections, Politics, West Germany