Right-wing extremism in West Germany, 1945-1989 : a Nazi legacy / by Rand C. Lewis
Includes bibliographical references (p. 309-320)
Right-wing extremism continued to permeate German society from 1945 through the 1980's. Nazism was presumably eliminated as a viable political ideology at the end of World War II. This, however, was not the case. Many who had been active in Nazi organizations during Hitler's twelve year "Third Reich" continued to advocate National Socialist ideology during the decades following the war. Many of the past members of such groups as the Hitler Youth, the Waffen SS, and the Nazi Party, were given the opportunity to re-enter German politics and administration in late 1946. This set the stage for the continuation of Nazism into the 1970's and 1980's, resulting in the militarism of a modern neo-Nazi movement that continues to exist on the far right of West German society. In order to best understand the relationship between Nazis and neo-Nazis, the extreme right-wing was traced from the growth of the original Nazi Party through the development of postwar political groups, such as the SRP and NPD, and finally to the evolution of militant neo-Nazi organizations. Inherent in the ultimate move of the radicals to neo-Nazism was the use of terrorism. The neo-Nazis became prone to using terrorism in the early 1980's to gain notoriety. These groups attracted many of the younger people who were unable to obtain employment. Terrorism offered the opportunity to express a revival of Nazi ideology and to allow a frustrated youth to express their discontent with a modern German democracy. Although incidents of terrorism subsided in the late 1980's, neo-Nazi capabilities for future terrorist acts remained. Rapid government response to the terrorist acts precluded the neo-Nazis from expanding their overt efforts. This forced many of the extremists and militants of the Right to attempt to support the ultra-right political efforts represented by such modern parties as the Republicans and a rejuvenated NPD.
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