Neo-Nazi Postmodern: Right-Wing Terror Tactics, the Intellectual Neue Rechte, and the Destabilization of Memory in Germany since 1989
Date of Degree
European History | Intellectual History | Military History | Other Political Science | Political History | Terrorism Studies
Germany, Neo-Nazi, far-right extremism, terrorism, memory, right-wing postmodernism
This dissertation argues that from 1989 onwards an increasingly terroristic neo-Nazi underground in Germany became gradually entangled with the reactionary Neue Rechte, whose crusade against the German culture of remembrance is also a crusade against European integration, increased migration, and the conceits of liberal democracy. This entanglement produced an ideologically coherent extreme-right political movement with a heavily armed and tactical paramilitary faction that has, contrary to what various governments of the Federal Republic have wanted to believe, been developing in Germany since the early 1990s. Moreover, tactics of information warfare initiated by so-called “postmodern” terrorists of the 1990s would, by the 2010s, take an epistemological turn, sewing global anxiety about the instability of knowledge and truth itself. Throughout the 1990s the Neue Rechte increasingly aimed its rhetorical ammunition at the stability of historical truth and the German culture of remembrance by engaging in historical revisionism. Epistemic chaos was further deepened by a trend of left-wing apostasy to the Neue Rechte, culminating in recent years in a lateral politics that uses the instability of truth to its advantage. In an intellectual turn referred to in this dissertation as “right-wing postmodernism,” the Neue Rechte of the 1990s and beyond has successfully weaponized anxiety concerning the knowability of facts, from its attack on the liberal media to its online disinformation campaigns in recent years. While other nations such as the US and Britain have experienced their own “post-truth” climates in which concepts such as “alternative facts” and “fake news” abound to discordian effect, in Germany, historical memory is the specific target of the Neue Rechte’s campaign in info-terror precisely because memory of the Holocaust is synonymous with a central and terrible truth about German history and identity. In weaponizing memory, the extreme right is able to call the very basis of the Bundesrepublik’s self-image into question; attacks on European integration, on asylum policies, and on the perceived liberal hegemony of the German media all begin and end with the claim that the Holocaust is used as a moral cudgel by liberal politicians and historians.
Adaire, Esther E., "Neo-Nazi Postmodern: Right-Wing Terror Tactics, the Intellectual Neue Rechte, and the Destabilization of Memory in Germany since 1989" (2023). CUNY Academic Works.
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