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May 18, 1989

China Division [Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan], 'Chinese Student Actions (Hunger Strike)'

The China Division provides an update on the student protests in China, commenting that "there is emotional support for the student demands" among the broad masses. The report also evaluates how the Chinese leadership is handling the protest movement.

June 1, 1967

Lecture about the Situation in Persia by Dr. Bahman Nirumand, followed by a Discussion, on the Eve of the Shah’s Visit to West Berlin (Excerpts)

In West Germany as in other capitalist democratic countries in what now is called the Global North, an increasing number of students were more and more radicalized in the 1960s. They were not exceptional: in some countries—think for instance of Italy—some workers underwent a similar evolution. Moreover, some students and workers met and communicated in various forms and place like cafés, dorms, or factories, where some students had to work. And both students’ and workers’ radicalization led them in various ways away from established social democrat, socialist, and communist parties.

But there were differences, too. In West Germany, so-called “new leftist” German students like Rudi Dutschke (1940-1979) were from the early 1960s most distinctly influenced by texts by decolonizing actors-intellectuals like Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928-1967) and Frantz Fanon (1925-1961). Their worldview was shaped by fellow students from recently decolonized and postcolonial countries, as Quinn Slobodian’s Foreign Front: Third World Politics in Sixties West Germany (2012) shows. Among these students were Iranians, for many Iranians wishing to study abroad opted for West Germany following World War II. This pattern built on sturdy modern political, economic and cultural Iranian-German relations from the nineteenth century to the early Second World War. Hence, in the 1960s, West Germany became a key arena for Iranian exile politics. In the university town of Heidelberg, Iranian students with France- and Britain-based colleagues in 1960 founded a body that would be known as the Confederation of Iranian Students, National Union (CISNU) from 1962, when US-based Iranian student bodies joined and Tehran students were associated. CISNU was in the 1960s-70s a leading force outside Iran opposing Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919-1980; r. 1941-1979)—a story told by Afshin Matin-Asgari’s The Iranian Student Opposition to the Shah (2002). In parallel, in the 1960s the shah was able to become the autocratic ruler he had wanted to be from the 1940s.

In West Germany, one analysis of the shah’s state was the ironically titled Persien, Modell eines Entwicklungslandes [Persia: Model Development Country], publishedin spring 1967 by Bahman Nirumand. Born in 1936, Nirumand was a high school and then university student in Germany from 1950 to 1960, then moved back to Iran to work as an academic and journalist, and in 1965 escaped back to Germany fearing arrest for co-leading the underground Marxist-Leninist group Goruh-e Kaderha. In his book Persien, he argued that changes like the land reform of 1963 are a reformist façade hiding an anti-democratic repressive capitalist regime, which is backed by equally repressive capitalist Western states led by imperialist Washington. In fact, to him, Iran illustrated how Third-World and First-World elites together repress their people—a truly global pattern.

To be sure, Vietnam constituted the key anti-imperialist cause for organizations like the Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (SDS), which in 1961 had been evicted by the mainstream Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) and by 1966 was part of West Germany’s ausser- (i.e. extra-) parlamentarische Opposition. Even so, when the German government announced a visit by the shah for early June 1967, the SDS soon decided to support Iranian student protests. These were legally “problematic” because West Germany’s 1965 Aliens Act drastically limited foreigners’ right to political activism. What began as a teach-in about Iran in West Berlin on June 1 and as a protest against the shah on June 2 became aturning point in postwar German history. On June 2, the police did not only condone pro-shah loyalists’ violence against the demonstrators. It also shot dead a demonstrator, Benno Ohnesorg, intensifying students’ fears about a fascist rebirth and causing the student movement to grow swiftly and become more radical.

The text printed here is a translated excerpt from the German-language audio file of the teach-in on Iran of June 1 at the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin. Opened by Gabriele Kuby (born 1944), a member of the FU’s General Students Committee, the teach-in featured Nirumand, who spoke for about an hour and a half on the world’s current economic-political condition for which Iran was a case in point, and Hans-Heinz Heldmann (1929-1995), a German lawyer representing Iranian and other foreign students politically active in Germany. Followed by a few notes on other political matters, these two lectures were then discussed by the students; Dutschke, since 1965 a leading SDS member, drew a parallel between Vietnam and Iran. Attended by about 2,000 students, the teach-in had a strongly mobilizing effect on the protests the next day, June 2.

February 20, 1935

Letter, Bayard Dodge to Edmund E. Day (Excerpts)

In 1866, US Presbyterians who had been working for half a century in the Ottoman city of Beirut founded the Syrian Protestant College (SPC), to compete with Arab and French endeavors in higher education. Chartered in the State of New York, the American University of Beirut (AUB), as the SPC has been called since 1920, came to employ American, European and Arab professors. It soon turned into a foremost institution of higher education for Arab Christians and Muslims alike from Greater Syria (present-day Syria, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan), and especially after World War I attracted more and more students also from other Arabic-speaking countries, a history told in Betty Anderson’s The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education (2011). AUB’s educational quality and missionary institutional bedrock gave it some clout in the United States.

Hence, when the New York-based Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Foundation in 1924 added an international layer to a US-centered social science grant program it had been running since 1922, it in 1925 asked the AUB president, Bayard Dodge, whether his institution would apply for such a grant. AUB did. Making its case in a way that reflected the establishment of League of Nations Mandates in the post-Ottoman Iraq and Greater Syria and the rise of anticolonial nationalisms there, AUB received a US$39,000 grant to develop its social science offerings in 1926-1931, and three additional grants through 1940.

The text published here is a letter written by Bayard Dodge to senior officials in the Rockefeller Foundation. The letter was sent from the AUB office in New York, United States, which Dodge visited periodically.

April 12, 1931

Letter, Bayard Dodge to Thomas B. Appleget (Excerpts)

In 1866, US Presbyterians who had been working for half a century in the Ottoman city of Beirut founded the Syrian Protestant College (SPC), to compete with Arab and French endeavors in higher education. Chartered in the State of New York, the American University of Beirut (AUB), as the SPC has been called since 1920, came to employ American, European and Arab professors. It soon turned into a foremost institution of higher education for Arab Christians and Muslims alike from Greater Syria (present-day Syria, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan), and especially after World War I attracted more and more students also from other Arabic-speaking countries, a history told in Betty Anderson’s The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education (2011). AUB’s educational quality and missionary institutional bedrock gave it some clout in the United States.

Hence, when the New York-based Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Foundation in 1924 added an international layer to a US-centered social science grant program it had been running since 1922, it in 1925 asked the AUB president, Bayard Dodge, whether his institution would apply for such a grant. AUB did. Making its case in a way that reflected the establishment of League of Nations Mandates in the post-Ottoman Iraq and Greater Syria and the rise of anticolonial nationalisms there, AUB received a US$39,000 grant to develop its social science offerings in 1926-1931, and three additional grants through 1940.

The text published here is a letter written by Bayard Dodge to senior officials in the Rockefeller Foundation.

February 1926

Report Submitted by the Faculty of the American University of Beirut [to the Rockefeller Foundation] concerning the Opportunity to train Students for Service in the Near East through Commerce and the Social Sciences (Excerpt)

In 1866, US Presbyterians who had been working for half a century in the Ottoman city of Beirut founded the Syrian Protestant College (SPC), to compete with Arab and French endeavors in higher education. Chartered in the State of New York, the American University of Beirut (AUB), as the SPC has been called since 1920, came to employ American, European and Arab professors. It soon turned into a foremost institution of higher education for Arab Christians and Muslims alike from Greater Syria (present-day Syria, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan), and especially after World War I attracted more and more students also from other Arabic-speaking countries, a history told in Betty Anderson’s The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education (2011). AUB’s educational quality and missionary institutional bedrock gave it some clout in the United States.

Hence, when the New York-based Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Foundation in 1924 added an international layer to a US-centered social science grant program it had been running since 1922, it in 1925 asked the AUB president, Bayard Dodge, whether his institution would apply for such a grant. AUB did. Making its case in a way that reflected the establishment of League of Nations Mandates in the post-Ottoman Iraq and Greater Syria and the rise of anticolonial nationalisms there, AUB received a US$39,000 grant to develop its social science offerings in 1926-1931, and three additional grants through 1940.

The text published here is an excerpt of an initial report by AUB professors to Rockefeller Foundation grant officials.

June 17, 2020

Interview and Discussion with Andrzej Olechowski

Discussion with Polish Minister Andrzej Olechowski about his life and Poland in the 1990s.

January 27, 1959

Conversation from [Mao Zedong's] Audience with a Government Delegation from the German Democratic Republic (Excerpt)

Mao discusses the need to both use and control intellectuals. He particularly notes that the CCP must be prepared to face rebellions at universities [such as the ones that occurred during the Hundred Flowers Campaign]. When Mao allowed Chinese intellectuals to rebel, it almost seemed like the CCP would perish, but he learned from the Hungarian Incident [a student protest incited the Hungarian Revolution of 1956] and ensnared them [in the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957].

March 3, 1970

Hon. John M. Murphy of New York, in the House of Representatives, 'Isa Yusuf Alptekin--Defender of Freedom'

Congressman Murphy introduces Isa Yusuf Alptekin on the House floor, describing him as an "eloquent defender of freedom."

March 17, 1987

Antonio Rubbi, 'Note for Comrades: Natta and Napolitano'

This document dated March 17, 1987 is a report from Antonio Rubbi on his meeting with the Chinese foreign minister, Wu Xueqian. The most interesting facts of the meeting were that China expected to establish full relations with all Eastern European socialist countries by the end of 1987 and that the student protests had been fueled by intellectuals who wanted to “westernize” the country. As for Hu Yaobang, the Chinese official explained that had been removed from office because he had failed to uphold the principles of Chinese policy.

November 15, 2016

Oral History Interview with Harald Müller

Expert member of the German delegation to the NPT review conference.

Pagination