1968? Delayed offshoot of European totalitarianism or groundswell of liberalisation and democraticisation. Talking to Stefan Reinecke and Jan Feddersen, historian Götz Aly and educationalist Katharina Rutschky cannot agree.

taz (die Tageszeitung): Ms. Rutschky, what scenes do you recall when you think of 1968?

Katharina Rutschky: One wonderful scene was the Berlin International Vietnam Conference of February 1968. We had the feeling that the future belonged to us, that it was our turn now. I experienced two wonderful things: 1968 and German reunification….

Didn’t you perceive 1968 as a liberation?

Aly: Of course. In 1967 German students still addressed one another formally, as Fräulein Schmidt or Herr Aly. They wore pleated skirts or ties and jackets, and had nervous breakdowns every time they had a meeting with a professor. But all the writing about emancipation from that era is unbearable junk. Not only the theoretical stuff, even publications about private kindergartens. They don’t contain one reasonable sentence, nothing that one could profitably read today.

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