Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

Terror and Democracy in West Germany

$46.99 (C)

  • Date Published: August 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107429451

$ 46.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In 1970, the Red Army Faction declared war on West Germany. The militants failed to bring down the state, but this book argues that the decade-long debate they inspired helped shape a new era. After 1945, West Germans answered longstanding doubts about democracy's viability and fears of authoritarian state power with a “militant democracy” empowered against its enemies and a popular commitment to anti-fascist resistance. In the 1970s, these postwar solutions brought Germans into open conflict, fighting to protect democracy from both terrorism and state overreaction. Drawing on diverse sources, Karrin Hanshew shows how Germans, faced with a state of emergency and haunted by their own history, managed to learn from the past and defuse this adversarial dynamic. This negotiation of terror helped them to accept the Federal Republic of Germany as a stable, reformable polity and to reconceive of democracy's defense as part of everyday politics.

    • Includes a wide array of actors, including government officials, anti-nuclear protestors, new right scholars and new left writers
    • Places West German terrorism in the broader postwar context
    • Examines how a democratic society successfully confronts a state of emergency, specifically a state of emergency brought about by terrorism
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This excellent book traces the torturous process by which West Germans negotiated the relationship between security and civil liberties in the shadow of the Nazi dictatorship. It highlights the German autumn in 1977 as a culmination point for both the Left’s and Right’s reconciliation with the basic institutional framework of the Federal Republic. A major contribution to the history of postwar democratization and to the contemporary debate on terror and democracy that underscores the essential role of vibrant public discourse and popular vigilance in preserving democratic freedoms."
    Frank Biess, University of California, San Diego

    "For many years the febrile and polarized political climate of the West German 1970s has badly needed the sober, careful assessment a first-rate historian grounded in the archives can provide. In Karrin Hanshew’s new book we finally have what we need."
    Geoff Eley, University of Michigan

    "This is an exciting, sophisticated history of the extra-parliamentary left and of the RAF in West Germany during the 1970s. Its particular strength is the intense exploration of theoretical debates in the left milieu, mirrored by a careful analysis of government discussions about strategies of democratic self-defense against subversion. The breadth of issues considered, the nuanced style of presentation, and the authority of judgments make this an important contribution."
    Konrad Jarausch, University of North Carolina

    "Tracing the ‘militant defense of democracy’ by West German politicians and the RAF in the form of attacks against one another, Hanshew chillingly highlights the ensuing paradoxes, in the process challenging received views of democracy altogether."
    Belinda Davis, Rutgers University

    "Highly recommended."

    "Karrin Hanshew offers an intricate and intriguing look at the role of terrorism in delineating acceptable violence in a democracy … Hanshew's monograph makes an excellent case for the transformative effects of terrorism and fear and the importance of debates over security and violence to West German political culture. Her work is an interesting addition to a growing body of literature on West German civil society and political culture, as well as literature on the 1970s. Furthermore, her work is relevant to scholars of terrorism and counterterrorism … Hanshew's explanation for the transformation of West German conservatism wrought by its experience with terrorism is an important addition to the understanding the causes of the conservative turn in the early 1980s."
    H-Net Reviews

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107429451
    • length: 294 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Democracy made militant: the Federal Republic of Germany
    2. Disobedient Germans: resistance and the extraparliamentary left
    3. 'Mister Computer' and the search for internal security
    4. The security state, new social movements, and the duty to resist
    5. The German autumn, 1977
    6. Civility, German identity, and the end of the postwar.

  • Author

    Karrin Hanshew, Michigan State University
    Karrin Hanshew is Assistant Professor of History at Michigan State University.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.