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The Code of Protest. Images of Peace in the West German Peace Movements, 1945-1990

Ziemann, Benjamin (2008) The Code of Protest. Images of Peace in the West German Peace Movements, 1945-1990. Contemporary European History, 17 (2). pp. 237-261. ISSN 0960-7773

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Abstract

The article examines posters produced by the peace movements in the Federal Republic of Germany during the ColdWar, with an analytical focus on the transformation of the iconography of peace in modernity. Was it possible to develop an independent, positive depiction of peace in the context of protests for peace and disarmament? Despite its name, the pictorial selfrepresentation of the campaign ‘Fight against Nuclear Death’ in the late 1950s did not draw on the theme of pending nuclear mass death. The large-scale protest movement in the 1980s against NATO’s 1979 ‘double-track’ decision contrasted female peacefulness with masculine aggression in an emotionally charged pictorial symbolism. At the same time this symbolism marked a break with the pacifist iconographic tradition that had focused on the victims of war. Instead, the movement presented itself with images of demonstrating crowds, as an anticipation of its peaceful ends. Drawing on the concept of asymmetrical communicative ‘codes’ that has been developed in sociological systems theory, the article argues that the iconography of peace in peace movement posters could not develop a genuinely positive vision of peace, since the code of protest can articulate the designation value ‘peace’ only in conjunction with the rejection value ‘war’.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Peace Movement; Iconography; Federal Republic; Nuclear Disarmament
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Department of History (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Benjamin Ziemann
Date Deposited: 18 May 2010 16:24
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:00
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0960777308004396
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0960777308004396
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10789

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