Antisemitism and Xenophobia in Germany after Unification

By Hermann Kurthen; Werner Bergmann et al. | Go to book overview

9

ELLIOT NEAMAN


A New Conservative Revolution?
Neo-Nationalism, Collective Memory, and the New Right in Germany since Unification

Finally it has to do with a tragedy that has so far been completely covered up -- the tragedy of the German people and the end of the German nation. All of that has been suppressed. That is why there is no good German literature about the Second World War. The right-wing is now pushing into this vacuum. -- Heiner Müller, Zur Lage der Nation ( 1990)

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989,a brief wave of optimism engulfed a large number of Western intellectuals who felt that the end of the Cold War would mean not just liberation for Eastern Europe but perhaps a new era of thinking beyond stale ideological confrontations, even leading to a realization of Immanuel Kant's dream of universal world peace. Five years later, much of this early optimism has dissipated as ethnic wars have torn apart the Soviet Union, the Balkans, India, and a host of other countries. The breakdown of the Cold War order galvanized ultraconservative, nationalistic, and right-wing forces in the East and the West. Hans Magnus Enzensberger has recently argued, in a manner reminiscent of conservative cultural pessimism, that civil wars are the anthropological norm rather than a historical contingency that can someday be overcome. The end of the Cold War, of a bipolar world, Enzensberger observes, also means that the more predictable and orderly wars between states will be supplanted increasingly by the breakdown of internal order and the weakening of the monopoly on power claimed by the apparatus of the state ( Enzensberger 1994).

Given the traumatic state of the post- Cold War world, one would have expected the peaceful and orderly reunification of Germany to be a cause for celebration by German conservatives and nationalists. One of the most paradoxical developments to emerge, therefore, has been a resurgence of radical conservatism which complains loudly about Germany's lack of national self-determination. Voices are being raised to "draw a line" and stop dwelling on the past and return to a "normal," self-confident nation that does not engage in ritualistic penance for the crimes of National Socialism. The West is from that viewpoint criticized for everything -- from contaminating German culture to incapacitating Germany's ability to conduct an independent and self-interested foreign policy. Fears are raised that Germany

-190-

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Antisemitism and Xenophobia in Germany after Unification
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Contributors xi
  • I 3
  • Note 17
  • I - Facts and Findings About Antisemitism and Xenophobia in United Germany 19
  • 2 21
  • Notes 35
  • 3 39
  • Appendix 63
  • Notes 83
  • 4 88
  • Notes 105
  • 5 110
  • Appendix: Question Texts and Scale Construction 130
  • Notes 139
  • II - Movements, Groups, and Organizations Propagating Antisemitism and Xenophobia in United Germany 141
  • 6 143
  • Note 158
  • 7 159
  • Appendix: Statistics on Right-Wing Extremist Groups and Periodicals 171
  • Notes 172
  • 8 174
  • Notes 189
  • 9 190
  • Notes 206
  • III - American, Jewish, and German Perceptions of and Reactions to Antisemitism and Xenophobia 209
  • 10 211
  • Notes 220
  • 11 224
  • Notes 238
  • 12 242
  • Notes 256
  • 13 257
  • Appendix - Selected Chronology of Antisemitic and Extreme Right-Wing Events in Germany During and After Unification, 1989-1994 263
  • Note 285
  • References 287
  • Index 311
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