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Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte

Ed. by Altrichter, Helmut / Möller, Horst / Szöllösi-Janze, Margit / Wirsching, Andreas

CiteScore 2018: 0.25

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.278
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.049

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Volume 61, Issue 1


Von der „Tendenzwende“ zur „geistig-moralischen Wende“. Konstruktion und Kritik konservativer Signaturen in den 1970er und 1980er Jahren

Peter Hoeres
Published Online: 2013-01-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/vfzg.2013.0004


Am 1. Oktober 2012 jährten sich die Ablösung der sozialliberalen Koalition und der Amtsantritt von Helmut Kohl zum 30. Mal. Untrennbar mit diesem Regierungswechsel verbunden war die Rede von der „geistig-moralischen Wende“, die die politische Auseinandersetzung in den ersten Jahren der Ära Kohl prägte. Peter Hoeres, Historiker aus Gießen, zeichnet die Entstehung des Diskurses über die „Wende“ und ihre Volten in den 1970er und 1980er Jahren nach. Er zeigt auf, welche Hoffnungen und welche Ängste damit verbunden waren – und er klärt, was Helmut Kohl tatsächlich zur „Wende“ gesagt hat und was nicht.


The watchwords Tendenzwende [trend change] and geistig-moralische Wende [intellectual and moral change] are considered as allegories for the 1970s and the era of Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the 1980s respectively both in research and public history. Yet both terms were actually only used hesitantly or not in this exact phrasing by their supposed proponents. While Tendenzwende became the synonym for expressions of – hardly homogeneous – “neo-conservatism” through noted conferences, the term geistig-moralische Wende instead arose incidentally as a label for a political course correction and the claim to intellectual leadership. The careers of these terms were substantially launched by the opponents of the connected developments. Left-liberal and leftist critics in the universities, the media and political parties feared a conservative roll-back, whereas conservative journalists, politicians and intellectuals began complaining about the lack of a true turnaround soon after Kohl′s forming of the conservative-liberal coalition government. The fears and expectations of a Wende were fed substantially by the Anglo-Saxon models of the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions. Yet despite political and intellectual transnational cooperation, it was not possible to copy the developments in Britain and the United States. The required political will as well as the human and organisational resources were lacking, especially in the CDU and its milieu.

Keywords: Helmut Kohl und die geistig-moralische Wende; Konservative Kritiker der Wende; Linksliberale Intellektuelle und die Wende

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Published Online: 2013-01-22

Published in Print: 2013-01-01

Citation Information: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Volume 61, Issue 1, Pages 93–119, ISSN (Online) 2196-7121, ISSN (Print) 0042-5702, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/vfzg.2013.0004.

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