Event Title

Downfall: 1933

Presenter Information

Athahn Steinback

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

History

Session Number

1

Location

RM 217

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Timothy Pytell

Juror Names

Moderator: Dr. Nerea Marteache

Start Date

5-18-2017 1:20 PM

End Date

5-18-2017 1:40 PM

Abstract

It is no secret, that the democratic western world is fraught by internal divisions, economic insecurity, and ethnic nationalism. Right-wing populist movements and anti-international parties such as AfD (Germany), PVV (Netherlands), FPÖ (Austria), UKIP (United Kingdom) and others, currently flourish across Europe. However, this resurgence of populist sentiments and ethnic nationalism is nothing new and echoes of the 1930s crises that brought fascist ideologies into the political ‘mainstream’ across the continent and presented a very real existential threat to European democracy. My research explores the evolution of populist movements and the downfall of democratic systems using the development of the Nazi party and collapse of the German Weimar Republic as a case study. Populist movements do not emerge fully fledged, and I will demonstrate how the Nazi party in Germany evolved from a disparate collection of racial nationalists, anti-internationalists and anticapitalist socialists to become the party that destroyed a democratic society, launched a world war and the largest genocide in human history. Although none of the major populist parties active in Europe today have reached the level of influence, radicalization or overt aggression of the Nazi party, they spring from similar ideological foundations, predicated upon a phobia of outsiders and internationalism, fueled by economic insecurity. The current crop of populist parties may not be the Nazi party reborn, but they do represent a threat to democracy and Western liberalism as a whole.

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May 18th, 1:20 PM May 18th, 1:40 PM

Downfall: 1933

RM 217

It is no secret, that the democratic western world is fraught by internal divisions, economic insecurity, and ethnic nationalism. Right-wing populist movements and anti-international parties such as AfD (Germany), PVV (Netherlands), FPÖ (Austria), UKIP (United Kingdom) and others, currently flourish across Europe. However, this resurgence of populist sentiments and ethnic nationalism is nothing new and echoes of the 1930s crises that brought fascist ideologies into the political ‘mainstream’ across the continent and presented a very real existential threat to European democracy. My research explores the evolution of populist movements and the downfall of democratic systems using the development of the Nazi party and collapse of the German Weimar Republic as a case study. Populist movements do not emerge fully fledged, and I will demonstrate how the Nazi party in Germany evolved from a disparate collection of racial nationalists, anti-internationalists and anticapitalist socialists to become the party that destroyed a democratic society, launched a world war and the largest genocide in human history. Although none of the major populist parties active in Europe today have reached the level of influence, radicalization or overt aggression of the Nazi party, they spring from similar ideological foundations, predicated upon a phobia of outsiders and internationalism, fueled by economic insecurity. The current crop of populist parties may not be the Nazi party reborn, but they do represent a threat to democracy and Western liberalism as a whole.