1960 - 1969: Art and commitment

Death of Böll's father.

After the building of the Berlin Wall on 13 August a heated controversy erupts over the role of writers as "the conscience of a nation". Together with 22 other authors, Böll appeals to the UN to move their headquarters to Berlin - East as well as West.

Publication of the two stories "When the War Broke Out" and "When the War was Over". Böll's first trip to the Soviet Union.

The novel "The Clown" is published. Böll writes increasingly more essays and journalism on contemporary moral and political questions.

Publication of the programmatic story "Absent Without Leave".

In a number of articles Böll defends East German writer and singer Wolf Biermann against attacks by the East German media.

Publication of the novella "End of a Mission".

Böll is awarded Germany's most prestigious literary award, the Georg-Büchner-Preis. He is taken seriously ill with hepatitis and diabetes.

In May, Böll addresses some 70,000 demonstrators in Bonn during a rally against the passing of new emergency laws. The Czech Authors' Association invites Böll along with Aragon and Sartre to visit Czechoslovakia. In August, Böll travels to Prague where he witnesses the country's invasion by Warsaw Pact troops, bringing to an end Dubcek's attempt at democratisation.
Böll acquires an old cottage in Langenbroich, a village near Düren in the Eifel hills, today the location of the Heinrich Böll house.

At the inaugural meeting of the Association of German Writers (VS) Böll delivers a speech on "The End of Modesty". The new West German government lead by Willy Brandt raises Böll’s hope that West Germany will enter a new political phase with policies that put a greater emphasis on ethics, especially regarding relations with Eastern Europe. During the 1972 elections he comes out in support of the Social Democrats.
The political situation in West Germany becomes increasingly tense as a result of the emergent left-wing terrorism and the government's overreaction to it. Many conservative politicians and newspapers denounce Böll along with other left-leaning and liberal intellectuals as "foster-fathers of terrorism".