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Ecologies of Socialisms

Germany, Nature, and the Left in History, Politics, and Culture


Edited By Sabine Mödersheim, Scott Moranda and Eli Rubin

This volume explores the complex webs of interaction between the environmental movement, socialism, and the «natural» environment in Germany, and beyond, in the twentieth century. There has long been a divide between the environmental, or «green,» movement and socialist movements in Germany, a divide that has expressed itself in scholarship and intellectual discourse. And yet, upon closer inspection, the split between «red» and «green» is not as clear as it might at first seem. Indeed, little about the interaction between socialism and environmentalism, or socialism and the environment, fits into a neat binary. In a way, the discourses, positions, and policies
that structure the interactions between environmentalism, nature, and socialism in German history and culture can be said to constitute a kind of ecology – a complex and interdependent web of relations, which can appear as antagonisms, but which can also contain deeper, less immediately visible, interdependencies. Ecologies of Socialisms attempts to combine the work of scholars from a wide range of disciplines (history, literature, German/Austrian studies, philosophy, geography) in order to contribute to a better and more nuanced understanding of how «green» and «red» have clashed and also merged in German history and culture.
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The Half-Life of State Socialism: What Radioactive Wild Boars Tell Us About the Environmental History of Reunified Germany (Thomas Fleischman)


Thomas Fleischman

The Half-Life of State Socialism: What Radioactive Wild Boars Tell Us About the Environmental History of Reunified Germany

Before 2010, the idea that wild animals regularly attacked human residents of the city of Berlin – the powerful, cosmopolitan metropolis of twenty-first-century Europe – would have seemed “almost incomprehensible” to any German. Yet tell that to the Berliners who were overrun by a sounder of wild boars on Kurt Schumacher Platz near Tegel airport in 2017;1 or the retirees in Charlottenburg who found themselves on the business end of a particularly sharp-toothed, razor-tusked wild boar in 2012. In the latter case, a 24-year-old good Samaritan attempted to run off the boar, but instead found himself trapped and bleeding on the hood of a parked car. Only the arrival of police, and a service revolver, brought the animal’s rampage to an end. In the former case, state hunters shot a boar in nearby Rehberge park. It was unclear if the 18 shots ended the life of the criminal offender, or an innocent swinish bystander, retribution meted out as a warning to others.2

Wild boars have been uprooting gardens, destroying patios, and devouring farm harvests in Germany for years. The problem, however, has become more sensational in the last decade as encounters between humans and pigs have driven newspaper headlines everywhere: boars have knocked←227 | 228→ old women from bicycles, assaulted the wheelchair-bound, desecrated cemeteries, and to the horror of this dog-loving nation, severely wounded family...

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