How did Hitler treat the paint

Chemnitz: Is Germany threatened with a new 1933?


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Racist attacks, Hitler greetings and open Nazi slogans: the pictures and reports from Chemnitz tempt you to mention the last phase of the Weimar Republic. But why and what comparisons can be drawn shortly before the National Socialists came to power? The historian Michael Wildt writes about it here.

Are we in 1932? No, the differences are clearly recognizable: Höcke is not Hitler, the AfD is not the NSDAP, and there is no uniformed SA that systematically carries out terror against the left and Jews. Any equation is out of the question. History cannot be transferred to the present.

And yet the end of the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist conquest of power are historical experiences that are naturally addressed when we look at the events in Chemnitz. It is no coincidence that numerous statements repeatedly refer to the years 1932/33. Even if political alarmism is undoubtedly involved in a number of utterances in order to lend the outrage corresponding to the ultimate accusation of National Socialism in Germany, the comparison is legitimate and useful because the difference to the past makes the view of the present sharper. Five aspects will be examined in more detail below.

1. Modern structures of violence are developing

Let's start with the most obvious: A centrally managed, uniformed militia like the SA with several hundred thousand members and local units everywhere in Germany does not exist today. But we would be wrong with the historical comparison if we only looked at the years 1932/33, when the SA was at the zenith of its strength, and not at its formation in the mid-1920s. Even then, anti-communist and anti-Semitic violence was at the core of its existence, but its form was still developing. The structures of an organization are not fixed, but develop. The Federal Prosecutor rightly worried that right-wing extremist groups can use social media to mobilize thousands of supporters to a violent flash mob within a short period of time and thus expand their reach beyond the well-known Nazi thug groups. Here, beyond brown shirts and marching columns, modern structures of violence are developing that must be persecuted and forbidden before they can solidify and expand.

2. The police can fight right-wing violence

Contrary to popular belief, the state and police in the Weimar Republic were not inactive towards the NSDAP and SA. On the contrary, the Prussian Ministry of the Interior under Carl Severing, who vigorously promoted the republicanization of the police after the empire, exhausted the state resources to counter the rising National Socialism. In May 1927, for example, after a critical heckler was beaten up at a Nazi meeting, the Berlin police chief banned the NSDAP and SA in Berlin and Brandenburg, which significantly weakened both. They were only allowed to go again in the 1928 Reichstag elections. It was the right-wing Catholic Chancellor Franz von Papen who in June 1932 lifted a valid nationwide SA ban and thus gave free rein to the terror. The state and the police can effectively fight right-wing violence if they want to. The Weimar example also shows how important it is to guarantee the rule of law in the police and the judiciary. Opponents of the constitution cannot be constitutional protectors.

3. Parties that do not distance themselves from violence

The AfD is not an NSDAP, but neither is it a normal right-wing parliamentary party. The statements of leading AfD politicians after Chemnitz show that they were unwilling to clearly distinguish themselves from racist violence, rather they trivialized and even excused it. Even if Hitler publicly obliged the NSDAP to follow a legal course after 1925, violence was always a means of politics for the National Socialists. Hate against Jews and Marxists was stoked with speeches, brochures and posters, and violence was justified as "self-defense". Here Weimar has a political litmus test ready: A party that does not clearly distance itself from anti-democratic violence is not a democratic party.