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Cohn-Bendit, Daniel (b. 1945)

James R. McIntyre


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Daniel Cohn-Bendit is a journalist, radical politician, and member of the European Parliament who first achieved widespread notice in France in the spring of 1968 when he played a minor role in the massive student demonstrations that rocked Paris and many other French cities in protest against the government of Charles de Gaulle. The son of German Jews who fled to France on the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, he moved back to Germany in 1958 to live with his father. He returned to France in 1966 in order to attend university in Nanterre, a northern suburb of Paris, and by the mid-1960s was an anarchist and a communist. Both his politics and his hair color earned him the nickname “Danny the Red.” While Cohn-Bendit's role in the 1968 protests was relatively minor, it gained him enough negative attention for authorities and his political rivals to have him sent back to Germany. Once back in Germany, he became involved in radical left-wing politics and is suspected by some to have interacted with terrorists, though evidence on this point is purely circumstantial. It is clear that over the course of the decade, his politics began a slow mellowing process. The deradicalization of Cohn-Bendit's views is evidenced in the fact that in the later 1970s he joined the German Green Party. Through his involvement with this group, he actively campaigned against nuclear power and the expansion ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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