Department of History

The Regional Republic: West German Regionalism and the Fascist legacy in Europe, 1974-1990

Project summary

In recent years, a number of regional conflicts have erupted in post-Fascist states such as Spain that have their more immediate roots in the regional economic, social, cultural and political changes since the 1970s. In many European countries, the crisis of 1973 accelerated the demise of the Keynesian welfare state, the end of coal and heavy industry, the end of urbanisation and the emphasis of the strong role of the state.



These developments took a particular dramatic turn in the post-Fascist countries Spain, Italy and West Germany where the legacies of the unifying 'strong' nation state were also politically contested. In Spain, Italy and Germany, the demise of urbanisation in the early 1970s strengthened the rise of dense metropolitan regions with growing transport infrastructures and expanded Universities in Milan, Barcelona, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen and other cities.

A complex web of new identities, often centred on regional football clubs, Universities, newspapers and regionals history was spun that integrated former agrarian and industrial workers as well as students and the middle classes. These metropolitan regions formed the core of a new regionalism that challenged the nation state in unprecedented ways.

The project focuses on West Germany and shows that these massive changes coincided with a regionalisation of the media-system, the regionalisation of living and transport (end of urbanization, new trends of 'counter-urbanization' etc.); the regionalisation of consumer markets and leisure, and the emergence of new regional identities and regionalized politics. This change had a massive impact on the lives of millions of citizens and the rise of new political movements, such as the Greens in Germany who combined 'anti-Fascist' rhetoric with strong regional identities. In conclusion, it is shown that the 1970s and 1980s in Western Europe have so far been misleadingly labelled a 'red' or 'black' decade or a decade of 'globalization'. They were also decades of a new regionalization'.

Who's involved

Christian Haase


Various External Funding Bodies


Selected Publication

Currently in press:

Christian Haase & Christian Kraiker: "Rediscovering the Region: West Germany's Press in the 1970s", in: German History, 1/2017

PhD-Thesis:  Christian Kraiker: Between Pluralisation and Concentration: the West German Press in the 1970s (Nottingham, 2015)

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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