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“[For black soldiers], but especially those out of the South, Germany was a breath of freedom. [They could] go where they wanted, eat where they wanted, and date whom they wanted, just like other people.”

Colin Powell about his tour of duty in West Germany in 1958, from My American Journey (1995)



New Documentary:
"Ein Hauch von Freiheit" (Breath of Freedom)
December 16, 10:05pm CET on Arte
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"Breath of Freedom: Black Soldiers and the Battle for Civil Rights" (narrated by Cuba Gooding, Jr.)
Premiers February 17, 8pm ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
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"Freed's enduring photos of march part of exhibit"
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Article by
Sophie Lorenz:
„Heldin des anderen Amerikas“
Die DDR-Solidaritätsbewegung
für Angela Davis, 1970–1973.
> more

New Film:
"The West Point -
Vassar College Initiative"
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A Breath of Freedom
By Maria Höhn &
Martin Klimke
Palgrave Macmillan October 2010
> more



“Radical Liaisons and Race: Germany and the United States in the Global Sixties“
A Panel Presentation

Radical_liasonsMarch 8 (Tuesday), 6 pm
68 5th Avenue, room 101 (Parsons Bldg.)
New School for Social Research, New York

Please join Professors Maria Höhn, Martin Klimke, Jeremy Varon, and Norbert Frei for a panel presentation at the New School on German-American relations during the “long Sixties.“ The panel will focus on discourses on American race relations and the Civil Rights Movement in both West and East Germany, the relationship between the American and West German student movements, and the parallel emergence of “armed struggle“ groups in the United States and the Federal Republic in the 1960s and 70s.

> View PDF


Maria Höhn, Vassar College.  Author or GIs and Fräuleins: The German American Encounter in 1950s West Germany (UNC) and co-author, with Martin Klimke, of A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany (Palgrave McMillan).

Martin Klimke, Research Fellow at The German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C. Author of The Other Alliance: Student Protest in the United States and West Germany in the Global Sixties (Princeton); co-author, with Maria Höhn, of A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany (Palgrave Macmillan).

Jeremy Varon, The New School for Social Research, author of Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, The Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies (California).

Moderated by Norbert Frei, Theodor Heuss Professor at The New School for Social Research; Chair for Modern History at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität in Jena; Author of 1968: Youth Revolt and Global Protest (DTV) and 1945 and Us: The Third Reich in the Consciousness of the Germans (DTV).

Sponsors: The History Department at Lang College/The New School for Social Research, with support from the Mellon Foundation; The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture; The German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.; The Heidelberg Center for American Studies.

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