Organizations and Networks in Europe and the USA
Edited by C. S.A. (Kris) van Koppen and William T. Markham
Chapter 4: Nature Protection in Germany: Persistence and Change in a Turbulent Century
4. Nature protection in Germany: persistence and change in a turbulent century1 William T. Markham Germany is a country of celebrated beauty with an impressive array of natural landscapes, celebrated in German poetry and beloved by generations of hikers. Yet since the nineteenth century, Germany has also been a densely settled, industrial land, so it is not surprising that German nature protection organizations have a long history and strong contemporary presence. This chapter examines these organizations’ histories and presentday goals, structures and strategies in the context of the economic, cultural and political contexts that have shaped them. The narrative invites reﬂection on the durability of the impulse to protect nature, nature protection’s broad appeal, and the ease with which it has melded with various other ideologies and movements. It also identiﬁes key tensions characteristic of nature protection eﬀorts: tensions between national-level political action and practical nature protection projects conducted locally, struggles over how closely to aﬃliate with other social movements, and arguments over confrontational versus cooperative strategies. HISTORY OF NATURE PROTECTION IN GERMANY Among the nations covered in this volume, Germany has perhaps the most varied and dramatic history of nature protection, aﬀected by world wars, runaway inﬂation and depression, National Socialism, postwar reconstruction, socialist rule in East Germany, and the confrontational social movements of the 1970s and 1980s. Nature Protection before 1933 Isolated eﬀorts to protect scenic areas, such as the Siebengebirge, an area of scenic hills, cliﬀs and ruins along...
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