A familiar danger : the reemergence of the far right Eastern Germany / by Travis Zane Hutchins
Includes bibliographical references (p. 58-60)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
Germany is a country that has witnessed first-hand the effects of nationalistic politics and the xenophobia associated therewith. The atrocities of the Nazi-era have been historical obstacles with which the people of Germany are perpetually faced, and are presumably acts that many would just as soon prevent from reoccurring. However, the dangers of German nationalism have been far from erased. In recent years the far right has gained considerable popularity in the form of the Udo Voigt-led NPD. With views similar to those of the National Socialists of the 1930's, the party has forged a stronghold in former East Germany, gaining seats in the Landtage of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Sachsen. The phenomenon has understandably received attention from both media and scholars alike. In media coverage of far right triumphs, we find staunch bias as the phenomenon is addressed as a specifically East German problem, seemingly regarded as something incapable of happening in West Germany. It is the purpose of this investigation to explain the rise of East Germany's radical right as a function of two factors; history and a psychological---East-West---divide that has been an obstacle to solidarity since unification. The history of East Germany will serve as the starting point for this thesis. I shall examine the founding myth of the GDR as it contributes to a sense of innocence among East Germans relating to the crimes of the Third Reich. I shall link this sense of innocence as prohibiting future generations of East Germans from fully comprehending the immediate dangers of far right ideology. Finally, I will turn to West German media to examine their coverage of East German unemployment, xenophobic violence, and the rise of the NPD. In West German media we find staunch criticisms of East Germany, as its citizens are portrayed as somehow backward to their Western counterparts. Combing the history of the GDR with current perceptions of the new Bundesländer will illustrate a people, twice marginalized in the formation of their government, who may now be looking to the far right for a sense of identity and strength in an otherwise exhausted region.
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