Germany’s Election, KT zu Guttenberg, and Ending the Rise of the AfD
The rise of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) political party is one of the most important developments in German politics right now.
The AfD was only founded in 2013. Since then, its popularity has expanded rapidly and today it’s more popular than the Greens, the Left and the Free Democrats. Polls show that the AfD will win 11 to 13 percent of the national vote in Sunday’s election. If this proves true, the AfD will be the third-largest political party in Germany.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the AfD performs even better than expected. The party is widely seen as far-right. Many of its supporters are Nazis, and some of its leaders have come close to flagrantly championing Nazi beliefs. How many Germans are closet AfD supporters?
If the AfD does as well as many expect, this will be a remarkable accomplishment for the party and it will mark an epic moment in German politics. It will be the first time in 60 years we’ve seen a party this far-right in German parliament. And as the third-largest party, and the primary opposition party, the AfD will have significant influence in Germany’s new government. The AfD will make Angela Merkel’s life very uncomfortable.
So, who is Alternative für Deutschland and what does it stand for?
First, the AfD wants the migrant crisis fixed. It wants Germany’s borders locked down, migrants deported, and much stricter laws to prevent migrants bringing family into Germany.
Second, the AfD is patently anti-Islamic. It’s manifesto explicitly states, “Islam does not belong in Germany.” The AfD believes that the practices and teachings of Islam undermine Germany’s Christian heritage and that Islam must be curtailed.
Third, the AfD opposes the EU. It actually started out as primarily as an anti-EU party. The AfD opposes bailouts, it wants the deutshe mark reintroduced, and it wants Germany out of the EU.
Finally, the AfD is staunchly nationalistic. It believes Germany needs to stop apologizing for World War ii. It says Germany needs to stop carrying around guilt and shame.
Alexander Gauland is a key AfD leader. Last week he said that Germany ought to be proud of German soldiers in World Wars i and ii. Gauland has also stated that Germany’s immigration minister—of Turkish descent—ought to be “disposed of” in Turkey. Earlier this year, another key AfD leader condemned the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and stated that Adolf Hitler wasn’t all that bad.
The popularity of the AfD speaks to the quiet crisis brewing in Germany. The AfD’s success is evidence of mounting anxiety and concern. It signals that Germans are concerned about the destruction of their nation’s heritage and culture. The rise of the AfD is proof that a nationalist spirit is being revived.
The party’s rise obviously has a lot of people concerned. Many are wondering if, and how, the AfD can be stopped.
There might be a antidote to Germany’s AfD problem. He hails from Bavaria, and his name is Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. We’ve spotlighted KT’s return to German politics in a few recent articles and videos. Guttenberg has been in Germany campaigning for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He is appealing to many AfD supporters. He talks about the migrant crisis, about Islam, about Germany’s Christian heritage. He believes some migrants need to be tossed out, and he believes Islam’s presence needs to be curtailed. Guttenberg talks publicly about the need for Germans to “stand up for their culture.” He criticizes the political correctness of many politicians. And there is a distinct nationalist tone to his speeches.
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg could be just the antidote to the rise of AfD. He communicates with clarity and force about solving the migrant crisis and putting Germany first. But he doesn’t sound like an extremist. He doesn’t make overtly racist remarks. He doesn’t sound like a Nazi. This is hugely appealing to many Germans. One can embrace KT zu Guttenberg without feeling like he’s supporting a far-right party or a Nazi.
There are already rumors that KT will be given a cabinet post in Germany’s new government should Merkel win the election. This makes a lot of sense. If Guttenberg is in Merkel’s administration, he could mitigate the impact of the AfD. He could persuade AfD supporters to come over.
Nothing is certain, and this could unfold in any number of ways. But watch KT zu Guttenberg—he could be the solution to Germany’s AfD problem.