In the spring of 1972, ie 50 years ago, I held my high school diploma in my hand. This July weekend 2022 our class meets in Stuttgart. It all starts in the old school, which has since become much fancier with an assembly hall, a swimming pool and Spanish on offer. Then a guided tour of the city, which has also become fancier, fortunately the hideous Kleiner Schloßplatz has been blown away. Afterwards celebration in the inn, with Maultaschen and such.
Our feelings back then weren’t much different from those of today’s high school graduates: the world is open, life can be lived to the fullest. What we didn’t notice was that the year 1972 marked a turning point, if not the decisive one, in post-war history. The “golden years” came to an end; the economic miracle said goodbye – not only in this country, but in the entire western world. If we had noticed, we would not have let our optimism about the future irritate us. But as a contemporary one is anyway a bad interpreter of his present. The historians can do better afterwards.