According to a recent thorough analysis by Germany’s national intelligence, political radicalism is becoming a rising menace to the country, and its supporters, predominantly on the extreme right and more fuelled by increasing disinformation, are extremely likely to turn to violence. In 2021, the Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution recorded 33,476 politically driven offenses, up slightly from 32,924 the preceding year, however, a 10 percent rise in politically driven violent offenses.
“The largest extremist threat to our democracy is far-right extremism. We observe a significant degree of receptivity to violence here,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser remarked while presenting the intelligence findings on Tuesday (June 7). Provided Germany’s Nazi history, political radicalism is particularly touchy, and several Germans consider a unique obligation to combat racism as well as extremism.
This scathing intelligence assessment follows the leaked texts of a WhatsApp conversation group linked to Germany’s far-right AfD party, which provided an uncensored look into party talks, featuring thoughts about Angela Merkel’s incarceration, bigoted assaults, and violent rebellion. The chat, dubbed the Quasselgruppe or “yakking group,” features communications between 76 of the 92 Alternative für Deutschland MPs who were elected to parliament for the very first time in 2017 following the national election.
There are also demands for regime change, echoing some of the rhetoric used in anti-Merkel public rallies in eastern Germany, with some advocating for the fall of the “old dictatorship” and expecting a “ruthless war” for which arming would be required. Thomas Haldenwang, the president of Germany’s national intelligence apparatus, argued that disinformation was a major factor in the spread of extremist behavior.
In a favorable trend, the German public appeared to be somewhat impervious to Russia’s disinformation in favor of its conflict in Ukraine. The amount of right-wing extremists rose marginally to 33,900, whereas the “Reichsbuerger” movement, a fascistic organization that professes loyalty to the erstwhile anti-democratic German governments, increased fractionally to 21,000 members. The number of Islamist extremists decreased marginally.