chapter  9
7 Pages

A new millennium for the extreme right?

The resurgence of racism and violence within unified Germany after 1990, and western Europe as a whole, is disturbing and in the German case has often been seized on by elements of the British tabloid press to castigate the country and deliberately stir up old Nazi prejudices. Although similarities can be drawn to the situation in the late 1920s, the entire economic, political and social fabric of the German state today is radically different from that in the late Weimar period and the levels of violence and anti-system activities, while deplorable, are simply not comparable. History rarely repeats itself and knowledge essentially works against any significant revival. On the one hand, knowledge had imbedded an overwhelming revulsion in Germany and beyond towards National Socialism and this reaction has inevitably severely impeded and restricted the political acceptability and legitimacy of the far right. On the other, knowledge of the past has also led some groups (particularly trade unions and student groups) to campaign vigorously against all aspects of the far right. Knowledge, however, has not destroyed the lure of the far right. For a tiny minority, an awareness of the hostility that neo-Nazism provokes within wider society, has pushed them willingly into neo-Nazi ranks.