I'm often approached by people who try to tell me that groups like Generation Identity are simply interested in 'preserving historic identity and culture'.
What most of these kids - and they are kids - don't realise is that culture is a major weapon used by fascists. /1
How do you bring angry, directionless young men onside to your organization? Convince them that things have gone badly wrong - that 'elites' and the 'other' are rotting culture and society from the inside out.
The Nazis hijacked existing ideas that push their agenda. /2
The Nazi Party most famously took the idea of the 'Dolchstoßlegende', or myth of the 'stab in the back' to explain Germany's loss in WW1.
Simply, their rhetoric blamed the loss on bankers, Jews and other groups, who supposedly did not fully back the army and the Emperor. /3
As time progressed, this idea of a rot at the heart of German culture became a major subject of Nazi propaganda.
1937's 'Degenerate Art' exhibition that toured the country was one of the most recognizable manifestations of this focus on culture as under threat. /4
It's worth pausing at this point to consider the foundational document of the Identitarian movement - Markus Willinger's 'Generation Identity'.
Almost the entire document rails against the supposed weakening of European culture and it's takeover by 'invaders'. /5
How else do you get the angry and disenfranchised onside?
You evoke the idea of a glorious past that can somehow be rekindled in the present.
You evoke a fire in hearts by wielding the symbols of the past. /6
Aspects of Germanic history we're woven into the fabric of an 'Aryan' past, the trappings of which were presented over and over to the young.
'Ancient' solstice rituals, Germanic runes, torchlit processions &folk dances were all a heavy feature of life in youth organizations. /7
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