Populism: A Comparative Study of the Rise of the Alt-Right in Germany and the United States

Abstract

The far-right extremist movements in Germany and the United States have gained attention and proved concerning, manifesting in the forms of terrorism, nationalism, and xenophobia. The radical right often utilizes populism to undermine liberal institutions, with a proneness to discrimination and violence. Right-wing populism in Germany has been a movement founded on fear, which has expanded to include governmental and political institutions. In the United States, populists often criticize the political elite for catering to the needs of minorities. The influence of the economic crisis on the lower-income, blue-collar areas of the country has been impactful enough to allow for populist rhetoric to gain a foothold in America. Populism is successful only if accompanied by effective propaganda and rhetoric tactics. In Germany, far-right populist parties focus on the political elites’ disrespect for German nationalism. In the United States, Donald Trump was able to push rhetoric through an unconventional campaign and build a following that will continue to grow quietly, despite the ending of his term of presidency, through hateful ideologies that portend a cataclysmic event. This event may be necessary for far-right wing extremism to be collectively rejected from American society with as much enthusiasm as seen with the rejection of Nazism following WWII and the Holocaust

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This paper was published in Digital Commons @ Butler University.

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