West Germany

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


On June 2, 1967, West German police officer Karl-Heinz Kurras killed twenty-six-year-old student Benno Ohnesorg with a shot to the head during a demonstration in West Berlin against the Shah of Persia. A photograph of the dying Ohnesorg lying on the street, with his head bleeding and a helpless woman in an elegant fur coat leaning over him, was to become one of the most iconic images of the German student movement and the 1960s in West Germany. The events of June 2, 1967, marked the transformation of the West German New Left into a nationwide student revolt; until then, it had largely been centered in Berlin and Frankfurt. After that day, the largest student organization on the Left, the Socialist German Student League (Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, or SDS), experienced a rapid increase in sympathy and support, jumpstarting a broad movement whose participants would go down in West German history as the “68ers.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication1968 in Europe: A History of Protest and Activism, 1965-77
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NamePalgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series
ISSN (Print)2634-6273
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6281


  • Black Panther Party
  • Cognitive Orientation
  • Frankfurt School
  • German Student
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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