• Germany's news in English
 

Young easterners as anti-foreigner as old in west

Published: 26 Mar 2013 13:37 GMT+01:00

People born after 1981 in the formerly communist eastern half of Germany are as anti-foreigner as those born before 1930 in the west, researchers at Leipzig University discovered after spending ten years asking people about their views, weekly newspaper Die Zeit reported on Tuesday.

More than 31 percent of younger eastern and elderly western Germans could be said to be xenophobic, they concluded.

The team of sociologist Johannes Kiess and psychologists Oliver Decker and Elmar Brähler asked 18 questions to tease out the level of xenophobia of their subjects. They asked about support for right-wing authoritarian dictatorships, whether Jews were "too influential," how important a national feeling is, and whether the Nazi era had its good aspects.

"Our thesis that xenophobia is the gateway drug has been clearly confirmed," said Brähler. He and the team had published findings every two years, but their latest publication pulled ten years of work together.

Regardless of age, 23 percent of people in the west, and 32 percent in the east agreed with xenophobic statements. Yet anti-Semitism seemed to be distributed the other way around, with nearly one in ten of westerners tending towards that particular brand of hatred, and only one in sixteen in the east.

Nearly ten percent of western Germans born before 1950 could be said to have clearly extreme-right attitudes. This share rose to 16 percent for western Germans born before 1930. In eastern Germany around ten percent of those born since 1971 could be described in this way - with men clearly over represented. The worst groups were the oldest in the west and the youngest in the east, with xenophobia rates of more than 30 percent.

Decker said these figures were "the results of an authoritarian socialization", referring to the Nazi dictatorship and the collapse of the East German communist regime.

"The collapse of societies which have integrated their members in an authoritarian fashion leads to authoritarian aggression," he said.

The study suggests that centre of society is not immune to becoming a threat to democratic life and that democracy is "not always on a stable base". The stark warning issued by the researchers was that if things get bad for the majority of a society, democracy loses its power to keep people integrated.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

07:05 March 27, 2013 by IchBinKönig
by this logic the increasing intolerance for immigrants in Greece has to do with the 'Collapse of an Authoritarian Regime'.

Doesn't it really have more to do with poverty and a loss of everything BUT a national identity? Its why often the poorest people are the most devout, to sport, nation, neighborhood or religion. Its all they have. In the new EU, it seems we're back to those days.
14:30 March 27, 2013 by Bulldawg82
@IchBinKonig: I think you have summed it up very nicely.
15:05 March 28, 2013 by Berliner1978
There's nothing wrong with Nationalism, only with what you do with it..

Invading Poland = bad.

Keeping Germany to be German = good.

Pride in one's people and nation are healthy as long as others are respected as well. And why not? Where would we be without Chinese food, or pizza? At the same time, there is the saying that strong fences make good neighbors. Relatives who come to visit are welcome for a while, but eventually it's time to go home, right?

As long as they are not declaring war on anyone or putting people in camps, no one should be pointing a finger at Germany for wanting stay German by limiting foreign influence or the number of immigrants who come there.. Go to any of these other countries and try demanding that you be accommodated, good luck with that.

This whole idea that everyone must be free to come to a country and change it from what it is to something else at the expense of the people who live there is absolute garbage. Why is it wrong for people to preserve their culture and country?

Because there's no money to be made in it, that's why. To make money, big money, requires change, the more the better. People who are this greedy do not care for history (see the current flap over that section of the wall being torn down at 0500 in the morning) or culture, or national pride. If it stands in the way of them making money or gaining power and influence (which leads to money) it has to go. Right and wrong mean nothing to them, and you wonder why things are the way they are when people such as these are in power, either directly or indirectly.

A stable society, where things can be counted on from one generation to the next, offers the people safety and security, but nothing to politicians, bankers, and developers. Germany is at special disadvantage here as anything remotely nationalistic gets immediately tagged as "Nazi", and at that point those trying to stand up for their country and it's culture are "guilt-ed" to roll over and submit. In such a way present day Germans are made to continue to pay for the sins of National Socialism committed long before they were born.
17:10 March 28, 2013 by alf2
It is not democracy which keeps people integrated, it is monoculturalism, which liberals have been trying to corrode for decades.
Today's headlines
Arsonists hit pro-refugee art project
The burnt ruins of the art project. Photo: DPA

Arsonists hit pro-refugee art project

An art installation dedicated to refugees was burnt down in Berlin early on Tuesday, with police suspecting it to be an arson attack. READ  

Hurricane Niklas
Storm Niklas kills at least three, stops trains
This train in Lower Saxony had to stop after striking a fallen tree. Photo: DPA

Storm Niklas kills at least three, stops trains

Hurricane “Niklas” has reportedly claimed three victims, while trains have been cancelled across Germany as the storm rages. READ  

Stuttgart worst city for traffic jams
Photo: DPA

Stuttgart worst city for traffic jams

GPS company TomTom released data on Tuesday showing which cities have the worst traffic problems. The conclusion: Stuttgart is Germany's worst city for commuters. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa cancels 60th jubilee celebration
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa cancels 60th jubilee celebration

Germany's national airline Lufthansa announced on Tuesday that it would cancel celebrations for the 60th anniversary of its founding in 1955. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Doctors warn against snap crash reaction

Doctors warn against snap crash reaction

The president of Germany's Council of Psychotherapists said on Tuesday that there was no reason why the country should loosen its rules on doctor-patient confidentiality in the wake of the Germanwings crash. READ  

Merkel urges Germans: Give Greece a chance
Chancellor Merkel speaking in Helsinki. Photo: DPA

Merkel urges Germans: Give Greece a chance

On a visit to Helsinki on Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel showed a patient side to the German government as the Eurozone continues to wait for a new list of economic reforms from Greece. READ  

Unemployment at new post-unification low
Photo: DPA

Unemployment at new post-unification low

German unemployment fell in March to the lowest level since the country reunited in 1990 as growth in Europe's biggest economy continues to pick up, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Trabi project aims to electrify 'Ostalgia'
A Trabant being converted into an E-car. Photo: DPA

Trabi project aims to electrify 'Ostalgia'

Its chuntering motor and belching exhaust once heralded the coming of the communist utopia. Now the east German 'Trabi' is leading a new revolution, and this time you won't hear it coming. READ  

Gun maker denies problems with army rifles
A German soldier aims a G36 rifle. Photo: DPA

Gun maker denies problems with army rifles

Update: Weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch denied on Monday evening that the G36 rifles it supplied to the Bundeswehr (German army) lose their accuracy when they are too hot. READ  

Germany, France, Italy want Euro drones
An American Reaper drone. Photo: DPA

Germany, France, Italy want Euro drones

Germany, France and Italy plan to push forward with plans for a European-made military drone, the German government told MPs on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,090
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd