West Germany: Greenhorns

Of politics and potted plants

The West German Bundestag had just confirmed Helmut Kohl as head of government, and the smiling Chancellor was surrounded by well-wishers. His allies rushed forward with hearty congratulations. Hans-Jochen Vogel, his Social Democratic opponent in the last elections, offered a friendly handshake. Then Newcomer Marieluise Beck-Oberdorf presented the Chancellor with a vibrant yellow forsythia branch.

It was one of the quieter gestures in a day of theatrics for West Germany's Greens, a loose amalgam of environmentalists and antinuclear activists who last week took their seats in the national...

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