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Germany's Far Right Party AfD and Its Rhetoric of Radicalisation

“Millions of migrants from other cultures challenge the foundations of our community, the unwritten rules of coexistence, and thus national identity itself,” wrote the German politician Alice Weidel in her 2019 book “Counter-arguments. Thoughts about Germany” (German: “Widerworte. Gedanken über Deutschland”). Weidel is the co-chairwoman of the far right party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) and the leader of the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany's federal legislature. In recent years, the AfD has gained significant support and influence in German politics. The party was founded in 2013 as an anti-euro movement, but later shifted increasingly towards right-wing extremism.   Alice Weidel in 2019.  Sandro Halank , CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons The AfD surged to 24% in a January 2024 YouGov poll, trailing only the Christian Democrats (29%), and ahead of the Social Democrats (15%) and the Greens (12%). On January 10, 2

Who Voted for the Nazis? - The Nazi Electorate and the Collapse of Weimar Germany's Parliamentary System

In the elections of May 20, 1928, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP) led by Adolf Hitler received 2.6 percent of the vote, obtaining 12 seats in Germany's parliament. The NSDAP appeared to be nothing but a tiny fringe party with an extremist ideology and very little prospect of playing a major role in German politics. But only four years later, in the elections of 31 July, 1932, the NSDAP received a staggering 37.4 percent of the vote, becoming by far the largest party in parliament with 230 seats.   Hitler saluting stormtroopers at a parade in Weimar, 1930. Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-10541 / Georg Pahl / CC-BY-SA 3.0 Who were the people who turned their back on the German Republic and voted for a party that campaigned on the promise of doing away with democracy altogether? Why did the NSDAP manage to do what other parties could not: build a broad coalition that included different segments of the upper, middle and workin

How the German Constitution Deals with Nazis

One of the paradoxes of democracy is that it creates freedoms which can be exploited by extremist groups to win enough votes to form a government and then destroy democracy itself from within. The most striking example of such a process is the rise to power of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or NSDAP) in 1932-33. ©Anja Pietsch via Wikimedia Commons     On November 9, 1918, the German Emperor William II abdicated after the country's defeat in World War I. The Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the founding of a German Republic from the balcony of the parliament (Reichstag) building.¹ The German Republic is commonly known as the Weimar Republic, because the assembly that wrote its constitution met in the city of Weimar. However, its official name was "German Empire" (Deutsches Reich). As a matter of fact, Germany retained the same official name from 1871 up until 1945 despite the three political u