"Don't you know there is a war going on?" Space, Violence and Gender in Northern Ireland and the Federal Republic of Germany 1945 – 1985
Asociated PhD project
When the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland started in the late 1960s, local, violent clashes soon escalated into a modern, civil war-like conflict in Western Europe, involving neighbouring states in different ways. Attacks on the British Army outside Northern Ireland carried the conflict as far as Westphalia, where soldiers of the allied forces in West Germany trained for "counter-insurgency" in a purpose-built "Irish village" resembling working class areas of Belfast and Derry. In parallel, German companies in Northern Ireland worried about their local employees after the abduction and murder of Grundig manager Thomas Niedermayer. At that time, numerous representatives of German media, politics and civil society regularly travelled to Northern Ireland to report on the events there, to establish political networks or to volunteer in peace centres, women's shelters and a range of other voluntary and community organisations.
Based on such observations, this dissertation understands the conflict in Northern Ireland as a process involving disparate individuals on a transnational basis and examines the various, so far mostly unnoticed interconnections between the Northern Irish and German population in its first half. Leading questions are: Which groups were involved in the conflict, how and why? To what extent did the "Troubles" change the relationship between the FRG and Northern Ireland? And how did these shifts affect the respective societies themselves?
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
E-Mail: roeleke [at] zzf-potsdam.de