Op-Ed: Germany raids Far Right — A ghost from the past gets arrested

German police staged nationwide raids and arrested 25 people suspected of belonging to a far-right ‘terror cell’ – Copyright NEWS5/AFP Fricke

Germany’s raids on the Far Right uncovered far too many reminders of the past. Germany doesn’t have much to thank the past for; millions of deaths, devastation, loss of lands, and the theft of German national identity. The Nazis replaced “German” with their own image of insanity, genocide, and criminality. Germany has been tainted with this hideous image ever since.

Now a ridiculous collection of what are basically neo-Nazi nobodies and hangers-on are trying again.

The German raids uncovered an unworkable “coup” with some weapons and ready-made idiotic mythology of the “Reichsbürger”, a collection of disparate groups which happens to include people who think Germany’s 1871 borders are still in effect. These people believe in a “deep state” and all the standard American Alt-Right propaganda.

The planned “coup” seems to have been as dysfunctional as the poly-fractured ideology. The plan was to install some distant remnant of German royalty as head of state. As is typical of Far Right groups everywhere, a fictional version of the past is the preferred option.

The Reichsbürger, like other Alt-Right groups, were on the side of the virus and protested COVID precautions, and seem to be about as German as McDonald’s in overall political positions.  Just about everything about them, including their various hate crimes could have come from the global Alt-Right songbook. So far from “identity politics”, this could have come cut-and-paste from any collection of right-wing clichés and fantasies on Earth.

Around 3,000 officers including elite anti-terror units took part in the early morning raids. — © AFP

Alt-Right vs reality, as usual, but this is Germany

Alt-Right views are basically views of convenience. “We” are right; therefore reality is what we say it is, according to them. In Germany, however, this view comes with extremely heavy baggage. Germany has some issues with turning the past into selective fiction.

Unlike America, where illiteracy and sycophancy will fill in the gaps in public comprehension, the Germans know all too well otherwise. Two world wars can make a bit of an impression. Those world wars took Germany from one of the most advanced, prosperous nations on Earth to a wasteland tainted with Nazism.

Far too many people suffered for generations for the sake of this type of politics. So now, when Germany is again a world leader, the mythology of the Reichsbürger is very out of place. This isn’t 1919. It’s not the disastrous Depression years. Germany is neither broke nor desperate.

Nor, it seems, is Germany overly impressed or engaged with the Reichsbürger. The numbers of criminal offenses are relative to the size of the Reichsbürger movement. It’s a very small number, apparently based on the various group memberships. The number of these crimes wouldn’t be noticed in any other Western country, but it’s a lot, in German terms.

Yet – A small group of people can cause this much uproar? Yes, simply because it is Germany, and Germany has seen this before. Germany has seen it in its full-blown form. The original rank-and-file Nazis included many actual criminals as well as nutters and cranks. It’s a bit hard not to notice the similarities.

There’s a cultural problem, too. Calling a crime an ideology doesn’t quite cut the mustard in Germany. Crime isn’t worshipped in Germany like it is in America. Germany had no real experience of democracy or anything like it until after 1945. They had nominal Parliamentary democracy under the Kaisers, but not real democracy. The rules were made for those who ruled.

Germany considers far-right terrorism the biggest threat to its security following a spate of attacks in recent years. — © AFP

Maybe Germany doesn’t want to relive the disasters. The foreign image of Germany is far too simplistic. In World War 2, the Nazis did the talking and made the money and the Germans did the fighting. “Nazi” and “German” were not synonyms when it came to life and death. After the war, the Germans rebuilt and the Nazis focused on doing themselves some favors.

Germany has no real affinity with the Reichsbürger, culturally or historically. Lying about the past has no place in modern Germany. The Alt-Right had no role in building Germany.  Where were the goose-stepping gerbils when Dresden was rebuilt brick by brick? Who put Hamburg and Berlin back together, people or press releases?

If it seems strange to foreigners that a few layabout criminals in a prosperous, safe, wealthy country want a revolution based on total fiction, what do you think it seems like to the Germans? Give Germany credit for facing its ghosts. Other countries would be well advised to do the same.

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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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