What resemblance do today’s ethnonationalistic ideologies bear to those which surged during the rise of the Nazis in the Weimar-era? Quite a lot, this documentary shows. Germany’s far-right neo-nazi scene is now bigger than at any time since National Socialism.
History may not repeat itself, but one can still learn from it. The years of the Weimar Republic were scarred by post-war trauma, political extremism, street fighting, hyper-inflation and widespread poverty. But they also saw economic boom, the establishment of a liberal democratic order and a parliamentary party system. Nobody could really imagine that the Nazis would brush aside the achievements of this young democracy just a few years later. But there were signs, warnings even that all was not well.
So how does that resonate today? How do today’s right-wing populist movements and parties achieve their political aims? Which slogans, images and stereotypes played a role then, and which ones are playing a role now?
The film also looks beyond Germany’s borders. How has Europe changed in the last few years and how have far-right movements been able to gain such influence? In the interwar period, democracies across the continent collapsed one after the other like a house of cards. What about today? Riding on the coat-tails of the political party the Alternative for Germany (AfD) the far-right has become a factor in both national and state parliaments, united by nationalist and often racist ideologies directly linked to those of the 1930s. At that time, global economic crisis and mass unemployment drove people straight into the fascists’ arms. So what will happen if crisis strikes now? Are our democracies and their achievements today any more stable than they were in the years before the Second World War?
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