Why Does Germany Have So Many Neo-Nazi Conspiracies?
What is going on under the surface in Germany?
Germany’s elite special forces—the Kommando Spezialkräfte (ksk)—are so full of neo-Nazis that the government is considering shutting down the whole unit. Senior members of the military have looked the other way while Nazis embed themselves in their ranks. Far-right members in the police have used their positions to target left-wing politicians. Intelligence agencies funneled money to a neo-Nazi group. Civilians have been joining secretive far-right groups.
Why are there so many neo-Nazis hiding in Germany’s institutions? How have they been able to stay hidden? And what does that say about modern Germany?
One of the most widespread movements are “Day X preppers.” They believe German society will soon collapse, and they want to be ready to not only survive the chaos, but to use it to kill their political opponents and rid Germany of migrants.
To that end they stockpile body bags, ammunitions and explosives. They’ve drawn up hit lists and chosen locations for mass killings.
“Today, Day X preppers are drawing serious people with serious skills and ambition,” a recent New York Times investigation by Berlin bureau chief Katrin Bennhold warned. “Germany has belatedly begun dealing with far-right networks that officials now say are far more extensive than they ever understood” (August 1).
“This movement has its fingertips in lots of places,” said local politician Heiko Böhringer. “All this talk of Day X can seem like pure fantasy. But if you look closer, you can see how quickly it turns into serious planning—and plotting.”
“I fear we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg,” said Dirk Friedriszik, another local politician. “It isn’t just the ksk. The real worry is: These cells are everywhere. In the army, in the police, in reservist units.”
It’s no wonder both Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Thomas Haldenwang—president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the nation’s domestic intelligence agency—identify the far right as the biggest threat to German democracy.
The German Military
The German military intelligence service said it believes the special forces are a “hotbed of the far right.” Forty-eight thousand rounds of ammunition and 137 pounds of explosives have gone missing from the ksk—presumably to far-right groups. In June, one of the ksk’s four companies was disbanded because it was so full of far-right sympathizers that it was deemed beyond rehabilitation. Some say the entire ksk and its semi-independent command structure could be shut down.
In May, a sergeant major was arrested after police found thousands of rounds of ammunition, 2 kilograms of explosives, an AK-47 and Nazi memorabilia in his home. A few months before, a lieutenant colonel was suspended for making far-right posts online.
In 2018 the German government revealed a plot involving 200 people, including veterans of the ksk, to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, former President Joachim Gauck and many other leaders. The conspirators had stockpiled weapons and ammunition.
There are worrying signs in the wider military, too. In April 2017 a lieutenant in the German Army was arrested after planning a terrorist attack that could be erroneously blamed on migrants.
In an earlier article, Bennhold wrote: “In interviews I conducted over the course of the year with military and intelligence officials, and avowed far-right members themselves, they described nationwide networks of current and former soldiers and police officers with ties to the far right. … Some German news media have referred to a ‘shadow army,’ drawing parallels to the 1920s, when nationalist cells within the military hoarded arms, plotted coups, and conspired to overthrow democracy” (July 3).
Some dismiss the idea of a shadow army. But Gen. Markus Kreitmayr, the head of the ksk, isn’t so sure. “I don’t know if there is a shadow army in Germany,” he told Bennhold. “But I am worried, and not just as the commander of the ksk, but as a citizen—that in the end something like that does exist and that maybe our people are part of it.”
Police and Intelligence Services
For the last two years, someone in the police force has been using police databases to send threatening letters to left-wing political figures. The fact that neither the police nor Interpol has been able to track them down suggests it’s more than one person.
The head of Germany’s largest police union complains that police officers are increasingly leaning far right in response to the influx of migrants since 2015. A Der Spiegel investigation found at least 340 cases of right-wing extremism, racism or anti-Semitic activities in police officers or candidates in training since 2014.
The BfV has also been implicated. The National Socialist Underground (nsu) is a neo-Nazi group that killed nine migrants and a police officer between 2000 and 2007. The BfV was supposed to shut it down; instead it gave the group significant funding. The BfV claims it was paying off informants. Others said the informants were handing the money straight to the nsu with the BfV’s blessing.
The BfV was also suspiciously incompetent in investigating the nsu. For years, the intelligence agency insisted there was no wider conspiracy to targeting migrants. A BfV agent was even present at the murder of one of the migrants—and claims not to have noticed.
“The worrying question that arises is whether the German security agencies merely failed at doing their job, or did they actually turn a blind eye and intentionally enable the nsu’s activities,” wrote Ynetnews. “And if so, could neo-Nazis have infiltrated Germany’s spy agencies and actively encouraged the crimes? The authorities’ insistence on covering up information and stonewalling investigation on the matter only raise further suspicions” (April 24, 2017).
Who Investigates the Investigators?
Meanwhile, far-right violence is rising in German society. In June, newly released data shows anti-Semitic crimes reached the highest levels on record, with 2,000 committed in 2019. In February a far-right shooter killed nine in a terrorist attack. In October, another far-right gunman attacked a synagogue in the town of Halle. Last summer, Walter Lübcke, a politician in the state of Hesse, was assassinated by a far-right extremist.
So many people are involved that it’s hard to see how widespread the networks are. One high-ranking investigator was suspended in June after he gave confidential information to a contact in the ksk, who then tipped off other potential neo-Nazis who could have been investigated. In another investigation, a lieutenant colonel in military intelligence was found trying to cover up an effort to infiltrate the military with neo-Nazis.
“If the very people who are meant to protect our democracy are plotting against it, we have a big problem,” said Stephan Kramer, BfV president in the German state of Thuringia. “How do you find them?”
The New York Times investigation focused on one group of Day X preppers, Nord Cross. Investigation and prosecution of Nord Cross has been so minimal or ineffectual that only one member has faced any charges: One of the group’s leaders, Marko Gross, received a suspended sentence for “illegal weapons possession” (the list of those weapons was so long it took 45 minutes to read out in court). But there have been no prosecutions for a wider conspiracy.
It is reminiscent of another far-right leader who received only a slap on the wrist for his attempt to overthrow the government in 1923: Adolf Hitler.
“The outcome is typical of the authorities’ handling of far-right cases, extremism experts say,” wrote Bennhold. “The charges brought are often woefully narrow for the elaborate plots they are meant to deter and punish.”
Why is far-right extremism such a systemic problem? Why do those involved get off so lightly? And if so many are willing to act on such beliefs, how many more sympathize from the sidelines?
This is the crucial question too few are asking: What does this mean for modern Germany?
A Warning for Germany
This rise in the far right is a clear sign that all is not well. Under the surface, a Nazi spirit is brewing.
It’s also proof of a startlingly accurate forecast from Herbert W. Armstrong. On May 9, 1945, just hours after World War ii ended, he warned, “We don’t understand German thoroughness …. Now a Nazi underground is methodically planned. They plan to come back and to win on the third try.”
We now know there was a Nazi underground.
Across Germany’s government, civil servants insisted they had had nothing to do with Nazi atrocities. In fact, they claimed they had secretly worked against the Nazis! Over the last 10 years, a series of German government reports prove that claim false. The postwar government, police, judiciary and civil service were full of ex-Nazis.
Other reports show that ex-Nazi army officers set up secret armies. Once Germany was allowed to have an army again in 1955, many of these ex-Nazis were absorbed right back in. Men who knew and worked with the leaders of these secret armies went on to rise to the very top of the new West German military.
And now we find neo-Nazi conspiracies everywhere. Clearly the spirit of Nazism didn’t die after World War ii. It just went into hiding.
How could Mr. Armstrong make this forecast on May 9, 1945? Germany had formerly surrendered to the Allies only hours before. It had lost nearly 10 percent of its population. Its factories were in rubble. Even its agriculture production was only at 35 percent of its pre-war level. No one was forecasting that Germany would rise again—except Mr. Armstrong.
Mr. Armstrong based his analysis on Bible prophecy. Revelation 17:8 describes a “beast,” symbolic of a major world power, that “was, and is not, and yet is.” This beast exists, then vanishes—only to then “ascend out of the bottomless pit.” You could say it comes out of nowhere—from “underground.”
Built into this same passage is another prophecy—a prophecy of an individual God would use to expose this beast. Verse 10 says, “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” These seven kings reign one after the other. But during the time of the sixth king, God would inspire a man to explain to the world what this scripture was prophesying.
This is how Mr. Armstrong could pinpoint the trend within Nazi Germany in 1945. The Bible prophesied the ongoing undercurrent of neo-Nazi conspiracies in Germany. They are the foreshocks of this subterranean beast as it rises to the surface one last time.
That’s not to say this new power will be a carbon copy of Hitler’s Germany. There is a spirit in Germany—a will to dominate—that has risen and fallen over 2,000 years of history. This is what is rising. This power may have some key differences from the Nazis. But it will have important similarities—particularly its desire to conquer.
Today, a determined minority are willing to make concrete plans for a far-right takeover. Many more support them from the sidelines. And this is in relatively good times. What happens if the economy collapses, or if Germans lose their savings? In the face of such adversity it is easy to see Germany turning in a radically new direction.
The empire that this revitalized Germany will dominate is about to change the world and have a major impact on your future. This is why the Bible says this beast “was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit” (verse 8). The tenses are important. While Mr. Armstrong was alive, this beast “was, and is not.” Mr. Armstrong was there during World War ii and when the beast went underground. But the beast’s ascension out of this bottomless pit is future tense—it was to happen later, once the man explaining all this had passed from the scene. Mr. Armstrong died in 1986. Just three years later, Germany unified, and soon the early signs of its rise were visible.
This beast is still rising today, but it is a mystery to the world. You, however, can understand. God reveals His prophecies to the man He is using. Understand these, and you can understand world events. More importantly, your Bible comes alive, revealing the great, all-powerful God who reveals the secret plans of the world’s most powerful nations.