On October 10, 1981, the capital city of Bonn hosted the largest
peace demonstration in the Federal Republic to date. The crowd of
250,000–300,000 demonstrators demanded an end to both the arms race and
the stationing of intermediate-range missiles in Western Europe.
Speaking at the demonstration, Green Party politician Petra Kelly and
SPD executive committee member Erhard Eppler criticized Chancellor
Helmut Schmidt’s support for NATO’s Dual-Track Decision, and author
Heinrich Böll defended the peace movement against the charge of
anti-Americanism. The presence of Coretta Scott King (middle), the widow
of Martin Luther King, Jr., underscored the relationship between
the West German peace movement and the American civil rights movement.
Her attendance that day assured demonstrators that American pacifists
supported their cause. At the end of the demonstration, Harry Belafonte
(to the left of Coretta Scott King) led demonstrators in singing “We
shall overcome,” the hymn of the American civil rights movement.