The Neo-Nazis and German Unification

The Neo-Nazis and German Unification

The Neo-Nazis and German Unification

The Neo-Nazis and German Unification

Synopsis

This book traces the activity of the neo-Nazis in Germany from the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 to the present. Lewis, who lived in Germany, based this pioneering study on first-hand research. He emphasizes the impact of unification on the growth of right-wing militancy throughout Germany--providing examples of neo-Nazi and skinhead activities--as well as the government's efforts to control the growing extremist movement. Although the movement remains relatively small, five years after unification, it is one that bears watching.

Excerpt

Today is October 3, 1995. As I write this preface to The Neo-Nazis and German Unification, I find it appropriate to be in Heidelberg, Germany, on such an auspicious date. Five years ago on this day, West Germany and East Germany, formerly the Federal Republic of Germany and the Democratic German Republi, respectively, officially unified into one sovereign nation.

This union proved to be a difficult adjustment for both regions. These two divergent societies shared the same language, but few other commonalities after forty-five years of the Cold War. They merged into one national identity that once again dominates Central Europe. Although melding the two identities into one has been expensive and not always smooth, Germany has, over the five years since unification, been able to strengthen the relationship and bring about some semblance of economic stability. Many supporters claimed that the result attained in a short five years was a modern miracle. The trappings of the past were relegated to history and as a consequence the future bodes well for the unified Germany.

I was fortunate to live and work in Germany both before and after unification. I began my study of the neo-Nazis following my first military tour to Heidelberg in the mid-1980s. At that time, the wall between East and West Germany seemed a permanent fixture. As a unit commander, my responsibility was to prepare for possible Soviet invasion. This, however, did not deter me from getting to know our hosts. I found the Germans to be gracious and, once one was accepted, extremely friendly and congenial. Therefore, it came as somewhat of a shock that there were organized neo-Nazi groups in the immediate Heidelberg area. I began to collect data on these small and, up until that time . . .

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