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Der Sozialistische Deutsche Studentenbund (Socialist German Student Union) was founded 1946 in Hamburg, Germany, as the college organisation of the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany). In the 1950s tensions between the SDS and the main party surfaced, particularly over the party's support of Germany's rearming, until in 1961 the SPD excluded all members of the SDS from the party.
After its exclusion from the SPD, the SDS became the leading organisation in the AuĂźerparlamentarische Opposition (APO or Extraparliamentary Opposition), that became active when the SPD and CDU formed a grand coalition which left Germany without a strong opposition inside parliament, since those two parties traditionally opposed each other. It consisted mainly of college and university students. The SDS opposed the Vietnam War and Germany's political involvement in it, as well as the use of nuclear weapons, and objected that many former Nazis still held influential positions in Germany. They also wanted to advance democratic structures in all institutions, for example in school.
Alternative lifestyles and more tolerance for same-sex couples, a more open treatment of sexual topics, the right to abortion and equal rights for women are also associated with the APO, and the SDS as its best known representative. The students involved used the same methods of protest as the anti-war movement in the United States at that time, for example sit-ins and demonstrations. The student movement reached its height in 1968 (its membership peaked at 2,500 at that time), after that the influence of the SDS declined. In 1970 it disbanded. A resurrection of the SDS in 1988 proved of no importance.
Important members of the SDS were Helmut Schmidt, later Chancellor of Germany (he was a member while the SDS was still part of the SPD), the later Red Army Faction member Ulrike Meinhof, and Rudi Dutschke.
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