• 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
Merkel joins Holocaust survivors to mark Dachau liberation
Merkel laying a wreath at Dachau. Photo: DPA

Merkel joins Holocaust survivors to mark Dachau liberation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined survivors of the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau on Sunday for a solemn ceremony to mark 70 years since it was liberated by US forces. READ  

Snowden among statues unveiled in Berlin
Italian artist Davide Dormino with the statues. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Snowden among statues unveiled in Berlin

Statues of whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning were unveiled in central Berlin on Friday by activists and members of Germany’s Green party. READ  

Andy Murray smashes through to Munich semis
Andy Murray in action. Photo: AFP

Andy Murray smashes through to Munich semis

Top-seeded Andy Murray hit back from a set down to defeat Lukas Rosol 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a bad-tempered quarter-final at the rain-hit Munich Open on Saturday. READ  

Munich quarters postponed by rain
Photo: DPA

Munich quarters postponed by rain

Andy Murray's match against Lukas Rosol and the rest of the Munich Open quarter-finals will take place on Saturday after wet weather washed out Friday's schedule. READ  

Berlin deleted '12,000 NSA spy requests'
File photo: DPA

Berlin deleted '12,000 NSA spy requests'

The German intelligence service BND, which is accused of helping the United States spy on EU leaders and companies, had actually "deleted 12,000 requests" targeting European officials, according to a media report on Saturday. READ  

Commerzbank owners reject bigger bonuses
Photo: DPA

Commerzbank owners reject bigger bonuses

Shareholders of Commerzbank, Germany's second largest bank, rejected a proposal Thursday to pay bankers bigger bonuses. READ  

Neo-Nazis plan 'to storm Reichstag' 70 years on
A National-Democratic Party demonstrator in Berlin, August 2014. Photo: DPA

Neo-Nazis plan 'to storm Reichstag' 70 years on

Authorities said on Thursday that far-right activists have organized a demonstration outside Berlin's Reichstag (parliament) building on May 9th, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. READ  

This week in history
The bitter end in the Führer's bunker
Adolf Hitler speaking to child soldiers in the spring of 1945. Photo: DPA

The bitter end in the Führer's bunker

Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the death of Adolf Hitler. On April 30th 1945 he and Eva Braun committed suicide in the Führerbunker as Berlin crumbled around them. READ  

Munich man hurls white mice at passersby

Munich man hurls white mice at passersby

Police in Munich had to intervene to stop a drunk man attacking passersby with mice on Thursday morning, reports the Augsburger Allgemeine. READ  

Police 'capture escaped murderer in Cologne'
Detlef Witte, on the run from police in Bonn. Photo:DPA

Police 'capture escaped murderer in Cologne'

Local journalists are reporting police in Cologne have caught a murderer who escaped from jail on Tuesday. The man had been described as “highly dangerous.” READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
Pupils mourn lost classmates
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
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
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
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

7,156
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd
?>