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Right-Wing Extremism in Germany and the Consequences for the Armed Forces (Rechtsextreme orientierungen in deutschland und ihre folgen fuer die bundeswehr)

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Working paper no. 129

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The spread of right-wing extremism in recent years and the sharp rise in related criminal offences in Germany have not left the Bundeswehr untouched. 196 suspected cases of extremist right-wing or xenophobic offences committed by soldiers in the year 2000 occasioned the Bundeswehr Institute of Social Sciences to conduct a systematic study of the significance of rightwing extremism for the Bundeswehr. Following an overview of the outward forms and origins of rightwing extremism as well as the varied functional problems which extremist rightwing manifestations can cause for the internal fabric and mission accomplishment of the Bundeswehr, this analysis will turn to two central questions Is there a specific structural extremist rightwing problem in the Bundeswehr And does the Bundeswehr, on account of specific organizational characteristics, attract people with extremist rightwing views In order to answer the first question, the Institute conducted an analysis of almost 1000 reports concerning suspected rightwing extremism from 1997 to 2000. The results showed that by far the largest number of extremist rightwing offences were committed by conscripts and, what is more, often occurred during their first months of service. This finding is interpreted as showing that the majority of the extremist rightwing incidents in the armed forces can be attributed to the close and permanent process by which citizens move back and forth between the Bundeswehr and society. With respect to the attraction of the Bundeswehr for rightwing extremists, the Institute of Social Sciences studied the results of its public survey for the year 2000 in which potential candidates for voluntary service as soldiers in the Bundeswehr were asked to rank their attitudes to nationalism and xenophobia. While the findings were not unusually high, the Institute did nevertheless diagnose noteworthy tendencies with respect to nationalist attitudes. However, xenophobic statements tended to be rejected

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  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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