West Germany: The Changing Ruhr

In books, paintings and plays of social protest, the Ruhr Valley was long pictured as a brutally black furnace of heavy industry, as ugly as the coalpits on which it is built. It has also been presented as a land populated by gaunt miners and ruled ruthlessly by a wealthy elite of powerful iron and war mongers. At various times the Ruhr indeed may have fitted these descriptions, but things have changed. "That is the legend of the Ruhr," says Gerhard Kienbaum, economics minister of West Germany's state of North Rhine-Westphalia. "Today...

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