"the summer of the student upheavals"
Student protesters making a banner.
Creative Commons AttributionStudent protesters making a banner. - Credit: Holger.Ellgaard

1968 marked the culmination of student protests that had been building for some time.  This was true in other countries too, but in Germany’s case the students had their own particular reasons.  A significant number of former Nazis held positions of responsibility as their professors and politicians and this angered the younger generation.  They were also appalled by the US intervention in Vietnam, seeing it as an Imperialistic strategy which was uncomfortably close to the recent past.  In May, a demonstration of 80,000 people marched in Bonn against planned emergency legislation that would severely restrict civil liberties.  Despite failing in their specific goals, the student protest movement had later beneficial effects for the country, and a number of activists did go on to become government ministers later in their lives.