Greens, the

German die Grünen

Environmentalist political party founded in West Germany in 1979.

Initially, it arose out of protests against nuclear power in Germany in the 1970s, and later it embraced all forms of environmentalism. In 1979 about 250 ecologist and environmentalist groups merged, and the first "green" representative was elected to the state parliament in Bremen. The following year, the organization officially formed itself as a federal party. It called for the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact and NATO and the demilitarization of Europe. It first won representation in the Bundestag in 1983. It experienced almost constant ideological tensions between its left wing and a more pragmatic faction. In 1990 the eastern German Greens joined with Alliance 90, a coalition of various grassroots organizations, and won representation in the German national legislature, though the western German Greens failed to win representation. In 1993 the two parties agreed to merge as Alliance 90/The Greens, and in 1998 the Greens assumed national political power as a junior coalition partner in the government headed by Social Democratic Party leader Gerhard Schröder.

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also called  Green Party, 

      any of various environmentalist or ecological-oriented political parties formed in European countries and various countries elsewhere beginning in 1979. An umbrella organization known as the European Greens was founded in Brussels, Belg., in January 1984 to coordinate the activities of the various European parties, and Green representatives in the European Parliament sit in the Rainbow Group.

      The first and most successful party known as the Greens (Green Party of Germany) (die Grünen) was founded in West Germany by Herbert Gruhl, Petra Kelly, and others in 1979 and arose out of the merger of about 250 ecological and environmentalist groups. The party sought to organize public support for the control of nuclear energy and of air and water pollution. The Greens became a national party in 1980. The program that they adopted called for the dismantling of both the Warsaw Pact and NATO, the demilitarization of Europe, and the breaking up of large economic enterprises into smaller units, among other proposals. This program attracted many members of the left wing of the Social Democratic Party into the Greens' ranks. The Greens won a sprinkling of seats in various Land (state) elections from 1979 on, and in 1983 they won a 5.6 percent share of the vote in national elections to the Bundestag (Federal Diet), thereby achieving their first representation in that legislative chamber. The Greens experienced almost constant ideological tensions between its left wing and a more pragmatic faction. Its members were largely well-educated young people, but the party drew considerable support from voters concerned about local or regional environmental and other issues.

      By the end of the 1980s almost every country in western and northern Europe had a party known as the Greens or by some similar name (e.g., Green List in Italy, Green Alliance in Ireland and Finland, Green Alternatives in Austria, Green Ecology Party in Sweden, Ecologist Party in Belgium). Green parties developed also overseas in such countries as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and Chile. After the revolutions of 1989, Green parties or groups also began to emerge in eastern Europe.

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Universalium. 2010.

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