Gathering Storm

An Unexpected Resurgence of German Nationalist-Socialists Threatens Security

Germany was up for a rude awakening when a Bundeswehr, or German Army, lieutenant Franco Hans A. was found with large amounts of Nazi propaganda and a plan. This plan spread from the Hans’s intent to assassinate five leading German pro-refugee politicians, including former German president Joachim Gauck and Minister of Justice Heiko Maas. Among his barracks holdings was four assault rifles, more than one thousand rounds of ammunition, and fifty explosive devices, which were traced to the base armory. Most strikingly was Hans’s plan to disguise himself as an undocumented refugee serving one of several religious extremist movements for over a month before the assassination attempts.

The case of Franco Hans A. is but one of a handful of extremist actions planned by members of the underground far-right political group known as the Reich’s Citizens. More than 15,000 strong, the neo-Nazi group bears a striking resemblance to the 1930s fascist party that took Germany by storm and sparked the Holocaust. Though the second-in-command and cofounder of political arm of the group, Alexander Gauland, stated that “Jews have nothing to fear” from the far-rightist group, it has been renowned for anti-Semitic attitudes, racist comments and actions, and seems to have takes Syrian refugees as a target for hate. This stark reminder of the far-right’s presence in Germany comes just after the incarceration of former-Waffen SS officer Oskar Groening, dubbed the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” for his records duties in the infamous Nazi death camp.

In addition to the various political stirrings and isolated terrorist plots, an additional two neo-Nazi extremist groups has been banned in Germany for politically-motivated terrorist acts and displays of force. This development stirs fears that these groups might band together and form an army of their own, just as the Nazi party they are modeled after had in the early days of their power growth. One of the common goals that all of these groups share is that Germany be restored to its former borders, including land in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other neighboring countries, while a range of shootings against police forces have occurred, as well as a “Mr. Germany” winner, Wolfgang P., declaring his mother-in-law’s house as the first position in the land owned by the Reich’s Citizens, to be governed by them and act separately of Germany as a whole.

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