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Generational Conflicts, the Spirit of ‘68 and Cultural Emancipation in the German Speaking Community of Belgium. A Historical Essay About the ‘73 Generation

‘Changes were in the air’ – is perhaps the best way to describe the social mood at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s. On the international stage, the gap between the post-war generation, known as the ‘baby boomers’ and the generation that had experienced World War II as adolescents or young adults came to light in the form of student protests, anti-war movements and new concepts of life. It is scarcely a coincidence that there were protests in eastern Belgium too at this time. What were the ‘young wild ones’ protesting against in the German speaking region of Belgium? Based on a generational approach, this article aims at contextualizing the autonomy-debate in the late 1960s and early 1970s by focusing on a historical investigation into a few young people in the Eifel region that would strike new political tones with lasting influence on the political landscape as well as on the social or cultural environment of eastern Belgium.

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