The National Democratic Party of Germany : An analysis of a radical right wing political party



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Is Nazism destined to become a potent political force in West Germany? Many observers feel the longevity of a flamboyant party of the Radical Right, the National Democratic Party of Germany, is sufficient reason to answer this question in the affirmative. They conclude the party, which has had moderate successes in state and local elections, is neo-Nazi in orientation with the objective of resurrecting the political structure and style of the Third Reich. Just how sound is their hypothesis? Is the neo-Nazi appellation accurate or is the NPD really a conservative democratic party content to work within the boundaries of Bonn's parliamentary democracy. The conclusion of this study is that the National Democrats can not be described in terms of any such "categorical absolute" as National Socialism. The NPD's anti-democratic proclivities are plain but to assert an identity with National Socialism because of similarities in the composition of voter reservoirs, patterns of membership recruitment, and ideology is an exaggeration. For Instance, although the NPD draws considerable support from former NSDAP regional strongholds, secondary analyses indicate the party has managed to attract Catholics and workers, most of whom have generally been cool in the past to the overtures of Radical Right parties, including the Nazi party. Both the NSDAP in the past and the NPD more recently have drawn significant membership support from the lower middle class; yet so too have political movements such as Poujadism and McCarthyism. Similarly, the frequently heard argument concerning the prior Nazi affiliation of some NPD members diminishes in significance when one notes the number of erstwhile Nazis to be found in the ranks of the "respectable" Christian Democratic Union and Free Democratic Party. The NPD ideology, as drawn from the party program (Politisches Lexikon) and party newspaper (Deutschen Nachrichten), shows significant overlap with National Socialism doctrine. However, it should be noted the two parties are products of significantly different political and social milieus. Today, the National Democrats seem to be just one of a number of political parties in various political contexts whose Weltanshauunq manifests itself in anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and cultural pessimism.



Germany, Radical Right, National Democratic Party