Benjamin Ziemann
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German angst?
Debating Cold War anxieties in West Germany, 1945–90
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During the 1950s, intensive debates over the potential supply of nuclear weapons systems to the Bundeswehr, the newly founded West German army, agitated the public in the Federal Republic. During the conflicts over the NATO dual-track solution since 1979, a similar set of anxieties was widely articulated and internationally registered as a specific German angst. In both cases, peace protesters, politicians and Bundeswehr officers shared the perception that nuclear war would very likely entail the self-destruction of the German nation. This notion of a ‘nuclear war in front of the apartment door’ was a crucial feature of the Cold War as an imaginary war in the Federal Republic.

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Understanding the imaginary war

Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945–90


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