terminology APO

Ausser-Parlianentarische Opposition or
Extraparliamentary Opposition

The APO was the student-initiated opposition movement in West Germany during the late sixties and early seventies. In many ways it was a product of a unique German trait — a strong desire to associate with political parties. When German students grew disillusioned with the so-called “Grand Coalition” of the two major political parties — the left-wing SPD and the right-wing CDU — they didn’t give up on politics altogether. Instead they formed an “anti” political party, the APO. Since the Grand Coalition comprised over 95% of the Bundestag, there was only a negligible opposition (5%) in parliament. The Extraparliamentary Opposition (APO) was intended to rectify this imbalance in the public arena. “A community of political opinion rather than an organization,” is how Baader-Meinhof biographer Jillian Becker described the APO. Firebrand student leader Rudi Dutschke was often called the leader of the APO movement.