Joschka Fischer

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Joseph Martin "Joschka" Fischer (born April 12, 1948) is a German politician of the Alliance '90/The Greens. He served as Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the cabinet of Gerhard Schröder from 1998 to 2005. Fischer has been a leading figure in the West German Greens since the 1970s, and according to opinion polls,[1] he was the most popular politician in Germany for most of the government's duration. Following the September 2005 election, in which the Schröder government was defeated, he left office on November 22, 2005.


Early life

Fischer was born in Gerabronn in Baden-Württemberg, the third child of a butcher, whose family had lived in Hungary for several generations, but had to leave the country in 1946 after Hungary was occupied by the Soviet Union, and ethnic Germans were persecuted by the Hungarian authorities and expelled from the country. His nickname Joschka is derived from the Hungarian Jóska, diminutive of Joseph (Hungarian József). Fischer dropped out of high school in 1965, and started an apprenticeship as a photographer which he quit in 1966. Because Fischer lacks a school-leaving certificate, he never attended a university or a college. He did not do either compulsory military service or the alternative civilian service for conscientous objectors due to failing his physical examinations because of poor eyesight.[2]

In 1967 he became active in the German student movement and left-wing movement (post-) 1968 (the so-called Spontis), first in Stuttgart and after 1968 in Frankfurt am Main. Later Fischer had several unskilled worker jobs, among others in a left-wing bookstore in Frankfurt. During this period he began attending leftist university events as a guest, such as the lectures, de rigueur for revolutionary students, of Theodor W. Adorno, Jürgen Habermas and Oskar Negt.[3] He studied the works of Marx, Mao and Hegel and became a member of the militant group Revolutionärer Kampf (Revolutionary Struggle). Fischer was a leader in several street battles fought by the radical Putzgruppe (literally "cleaning squad", with the first syllable being interpreted as an acronym for Proletarische Union für Terror und Zerstörung, "Proletarian Union for Terror and Destruction") which physically attacked a number of police officers. Photos of one such battle in March 1973, which were later to haunt him, show him clubbing policeman Rainer Marx,[4] to whom he later publicly apologized.

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