The swastika in socialism : right-wing extremism in the GDR
This is the first empirical investigation of right-wing extremism in the GDR produced in English. Based on original research in the former GDR state archives as well as interviews with former right-wing extremists, it reconstructs and discusses the nature of right-wing extremism in the GDR, focusing, in particular, on the decade 1980-1990. The major aim of the thesis is to provide a fuller characterisation of the phenomenon in order to understand its existence and development in a self-proclaimed socialist, anti-fascist state. This aim is achieved by reconstructing right-wing extremism from the empirical and secondary sources and highlighting affinities between the dominant political culture of the GDR and the salient features of GDR right-wing extremism. The major findings of the study can be summarised as follows: right-wing extremism in Germany after the Wende was not simply a result of the problems associated with German re-unification but represents a continuation of a right-wing subculture that was developing into a small but militant political movement in East Germany before 1990 The right-wing extremists themselves were predominantly drawn from families closely associated with the regime and displayed no especial signs of socio-economic deprivation or social marginalisation. The motivation for right-wing extremism in the GDR was based largely on ethno-nationalist arguments which were mobilised and legitimised within mainstream political culture and a legitimacy crisis that undermined the regime in the 1980s.