Germany's financial crisis could lead to the rise of a far-Right political party, a leading analyst has warned.The Daily Telegraph | October 22nd, 2008
Christoph Butterwegge said that “cycles” involving bankruptcy of financial institutions, plunging stock markets, and mass unemployment could ignite an extremist movement in the way that Adolf Hitler exploited the world economic depression of the early 1930s.
Professor Butterwegge’s warning comes after a study showed that 37 per cent of Germans felt that immigrants arrived in the country “to exploit the welfare state” and 39 per cent said Germany was “dangerously overrun with foreigners”.
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s findings concluded that 26 per cent of Germans would like “a single, strong party that represents the German community”.
Predications by the International Labor Organization that the credit crisis could cost up to 20m jobs worldwide may lead to further disillusionment with democracy.
“The competition for resources will get much greater when the state spends even a fraction of the 480bn euros in the financial injections and guarantees,” professor Butterwegge said.
“I am, of course, not prophesying that far-right extremists grab power like they did on January 30, 1933, but it is striking how similar the cycles are.”
A report issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development seemed to back his warning, showing Germany’s gap between rich and poor increasing at an alarming rate with children and young adults 25 per cent more likely to be poor than the population as a whole. Stagnant wages for low-income families and limited opportunities for upward mobility were cited as key causes.
The far-right National Democratic Party has called for a nationalisation of banks in the wake of the recent crisis, hoping to lure more young voters to its ranks. Though far-right parties exist in two German state governments, they have not gained enough support to be represented at federal level.
Earlier this month police across Germany carried out raids on the Homeland-Loyal German Youth, a neo-Nazi youth group authorities accuse of being anti-Semitic and racist along Nazi ideological lines. Politicians on the left have stepped up demands to have the group banned.