The American is a gun-toting cowboy; the Russian is a corrupt oligarch; the Saudi is an oil-rich sheik. The European, meanwhile, is a vegan metrosexual; he cycles to work, takes a month of vacation each year, drinks soy lattes, and, with cool sophistication, preaches the virtues of his enlightened lifestyle to others.
These are crude stereotypes. Yet however true or false they once were, they are now obsolete.
The 2008 financial crisis and 2015 migrant crisis gave our European a whack on the head. His personality has changed. You might say that he now drives a truck, eats meat, and has started bodybuilding.
Most of the world hasn’t noticed. Many who have noticed are happy about it. But Europe’s altered personality is about to alter the course of world history.
A Far-right European?
A new type of party is growing in Europe. In the press it is generally called “far right.” But that term is so overused, it is practically meaningless.
For some of these groups, like France’s National Rally, “far left” would better describe their economic policies.
Perhaps “fringe” is the better term. These groups are so different that the mainstream parties deliberately exclude them from politics. Journalists try to stigmatize them so that no decent person would admit to voting for the “fringe.”
But even the term fringe is outdated. Across Europe these politicians are adopting a new winning strategy and reaching new heights of electoral success. They have dropped the most odious parts of their programs. Anti-Semitism is out. Many have switched from supporting Vladimir Putin and Russia to supporting Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukraine.
Giorgia Meloni, who leads the successor party to Benito Mussolini’s literal National Fascist Party, is now Italy’s prime minister. Poland is run by this kind of fringe party. So is Hungary. Fringe parties are supporting the governments of Finland and Sweden.
More could follow. Right now, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is Germany’s second-most popular party, even as it shifts further right. In France, Marine Le Pen of the National Rally went up against Emmanuel Macron in last year’s presidential elections, forcing, then losing, a runoff. She is still popular and is a leading contender for the next presidential election. The Freedom Party of Austria is polling well and seems set to win its election next year.
These parties have made another critical shift in their platforms that could prove more important than any other: They are now working together. They have been called “far right” because they are nationalist: They want their nation to be great again, and they don’t care as much about other nations. The idea that they could work together to take over the European Union was preposterous. But that is just what they are doing.
To many of its supporters, the EU is the antidote to far-right nationalism. It is a multinational, globalist, progressive, left-wing project designed to destroy nationalism. It has been built by nations surrendering national sovereignty.
Europe’s far-right parties have generally been euroskeptic. But their Europe-wide success means that they now have a shot not necessarily at destroying the EU, but at remaking it.
Elections in individual EU nations are part of a wider struggle. What will the EU look like; what is its purpose; what is its soul? At the heart of this struggle is a backlash against two key EU policies adopted in country after country.
Europe’s old vegan lifestyle was simply not healthy, and many now see that.
In 2015, 1.3 million migrants applied for asylum within the EU; the next year, this slowed only slightly to 1.2 million. Many were Muslims fleeing the Syrian civil war. Chancellor Angela Merkel famously opened up Germany to any who came through its borders.
The ramifications were immediate. Cities felt dangerous. Women complained of assault. A hospital was forced to hire armed guards. Cologne infamously experienced the New Year’s Eve mass sexual assault, in which 1,000 migrants gathered into a crowd and allegedly committed 331 sexual offenses, including two rapes.
Yet the mainstream media refused to talk about it. Police and local authorities hid statistics. Mainstream political parties refused to deal with it.
Their indifference continues. This summer, public swimming pools have become a hot topic in Germany. Some have shut down. Others have called for police protection. Why? Because of a spike in attacks, particularly on girls in revealing swimsuits. Mainstream journalists and politicians don’t want to talk about this, but these attacks are mainly by immigrants from Muslim countries.
France has experienced similar problems. On June 27, French police shot Nahel Merzouk during a traffic stop. Video of the shooting went viral and sparked accusations of police abuse of black and Muslim minorities. The nation exploded in violence for days: Over 700 businesses were burned and over 1,300 cars torched. People attacked schools and cultural centers. One fireman died trying to put out the flames in an underground car park. Forty-five thousand officers were deployed to stop the riots; over 500 officers were injured and 2,000 rioters were arrested.
Rioters also attacked the family of the right-wing mayor of L’Haÿ-les-Roses, driving a burning car into his house. One of his children was injured, and his wife broke her leg as she escaped.
“People talk about riots,” the police chief for L’Haÿ-les-Roses said, “but for those of us who have to deal with all this, it’s not riots. It’s war.”
This violence took place against a steady backdrop of Islamist attacks in Europe. On June 8, a Syrian migrant stabbed four children between 1 and 3 years old in a park in southeastern France. On June 10, a 15-year-old boy was killed and three people were injured in a shooting in Stockholm, Sweden, shortly before another unrelated shooting in the area injured three people. Gang violence in Sweden has exploded since 2015, when the government opened the nation up to the second-highest number of migrants per capita in Europe.
In France the problems are much older than the 2015 migration crisis. Mainstream political parties have had decades to fix this, but they have failed.
In all these situations, the public reaction has been the same. As we wrote during the 2015 German migrant crisis: “Many of the Germans becoming disillusioned with mainstream politics … don’t want to persecute the migrants or see them imprisoned, beaten up or killed. They are not extremists seeking genocide. They are regular, sound-thinking, rational people, many of whom have terrific empathy for those suffering in Syria and elsewhere. These people are simply concerned about the impact millions of migrants will have on their nation, its institutions, its infrastructure, its economy, its culture and on the German people. … But Angela Merkel’s government refuses to give serious attention to these concerns and refuses to tell the truth about the impact the migrants are having and will have on the nation. …
“The Merkel government’s handling of this situation is turning the German people into a ticking time bomb! The more disillusioned, frustrated and angry the German people become, the more vulnerable they will be to radical politics and radical leaders with radical solutions” (Trumpet, March 2016).
Ignored by the mainstream, concerned voters have sought solace in the political fringe in country after country.
Now we are seeing this trend merge with the seemingly unrelated issue of environmentalism. Our stereotypical European is conspicuously conscientious environmentally. But now this is starting to hurt.
Environmentally overzealous politicians in the Netherlands (the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter) are actively shutting down farms. Members of the EU government are debating laws that would push these calamitous policies on farmers—and on people who eat—across the Continent.
The EU says it will ban new fossil-fuel gasoline and diesel cars by 2035. Germany’s car industry makes up about 10 percent of its economy. But foreign companies lead the way on electric cars. This could devastate German manufacturing and lead to mass unemployment.
The German government will ban the sale of all oil- and gas-heating systems after the end of 2024. An EU-wide ban is planned for 2029. After that, if your boiler breaks, you will be forced to replace it with an expensive and often less effective “environmentally friendly” alternative.
All the major newspapers and political parties completely support these moves: They consider them indispensable for tackling climate change; there is no alternative. No alternative, that is—unless you turn to a fringe-right group like the Alternative für Deutschland.
If you don’t want your farm shut down or you don’t want to shell out thousands for an electric heat pump, that hardly makes you a Nazi. But if none of the mainstream parties will listen to your concerns, and the entire economy seems set to self-destruct, wouldn’t you consider voting for one of these groups?
These concerns had already sparked mass resistance in the form of the “yellow vest” protests in France in 2018. In the Netherlands, the pushback prompted the creation of a new Farmers’ Party—which has already become the largest party in the Senate. This Farmer-Citizen Movement comes with no historical baggage—but that is not the case elsewhere.
In Germany, opposition to destructive environmental policies are a key reason the AfD has risen to new heights of power. If a German doesn’t want his government to destroy the national economy, he has nowhere else to go.
As these “fringe” parties are becoming more popular, they are also becoming more extreme. In 2017, rising AfD star Björn Höcke attacked the idea that Germany should be sorry or atone for its Nazi history. This attitude, he said, is a “stupid coping policy.” He complained that “German history is handled as rotten and made to look ridiculous” and called for a “180-degree reversal on the politics of remembrance.” Germans should stop commemorating the Holocaust. He called Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe “a monument of shame.”
Höcke’s audience loved it, but he went too far. Moderate members of the AfD wanted him tossed from the party. The next year, party leader Alexander Gauland gave a similar speech, praising Germany’s “glorious history that is much longer than 12 years”—the time span of Adolf Hitler’s regime. In the face of an outraged public, he made a halfhearted apology.
Now, however, things have changed. In May, AfD leader Tino Chrupalla gave an interview to the right-wing blog “Sezession.” Asked about Germany’s war history, he said: “I find it fundamentally problematic to always link commemoration with the question of guilt.” Germany’s view of its history has to change, he explained. “Historical guilt should no longer determine the way we act,” he said.
This time, instead of outrage, the response was just crickets.
Chrupalla’s coleader, Alice Weidel, is one of the party’s more moderate voices—one of those who tried to force Höcke out five years ago. In April, she boasted in a campaign speech that the party was on the brink of breaking into government. She walked around the stage arm in arm with the AfD’s local candidate: Björn Höcke.
Instead of receiving censure, the AfD is rising to new heights. They got their first mayor, in the town of Raguhn-Jessnitz in Saxony-Anhalt, on July 2. The week before, they won their first regional district in the neighboring state of Thuringia. Friedrich Merz, leader of the mainstream Christian Democratic Union (cdu), opened the door to doing business with the AfD on the local level—breaking the precedent that had, until then, kept the AfD from office. He swiftly backtracked, but for the AfD these days, defeat always seems only temporary.
The people who vote for the AfD because of the mainstream parties’ misguided policies on climate change or immigration are not far-right extremists. But they are empowering a party with dangerous views. And mainstream parties have left them no choice.
This may soon change. Across Europe the mainstream parties are starting to follow the example of the fringe parties. They are slowly waking up to the dangers of immigration. Some are even softening their stances on climate change.
But they are doing even more: They are copying the fringe views of history, empire and national pride.
In June, the cdu announced plans for a Federal Program of Patriotism. It wants more flag-waving and anthem-singing, and more ties to the military. Plans include a new national day to celebrate the constitution on May 23 and another celebrating Germany’s reunification on October 3. The German parliament would also get an upgrade with more pictures of great Germans and symbols of German history to boost the “patriotic self-assurance” of lawmakers.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron has become more and more extreme in his rhetoric. He has given police the power to shut down mosques and kick out preachers. He has outlawed homeschooling, primarily to stop Muslim children from avoiding the French educational system. The French interior minister has dissolved dozens of French Muslim organizations and deported radicals. “Islam is a religion living through a crisis today, everywhere in the world,” said Macron in a landmark 2020 speech. Yet as Islamist attacks and mass riots continue, support for European fringe parties continues to grow.
At the EU level, conservative leaders are looking to Italy and Meloni as their solution. Leaders from across Europe are making the pilgrimage to Rome, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola and European People’s Party leader Manfred Weber.
“Giorgia Meloni is steadily becoming the most important political leader in Europe,” the Spectator stated in an article dated March 4. “Some are even saying that it is her destiny to be the next Angela Merkel. If so, that would mean a dramatic change in direction for the European Union ….”
“Meloni is now leader of the European right,” said talk show host Massimo Cacciari. “And the traditional European coalition of social democratic forces and popular Catholic forces is losing water. … Meloni and those around her will be able to move the axis of European politics at the next elections. That’s the strategy they’re pursuing” (ibid).
Spain’s July 23 elections proved that this approach just might work. Neither side won enough votes to win a majority. But the mainstream right Popular Party did very well—at the expense of the fringe-right Vox party. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but more and more Europeaon politicians can see that it is also a smart way to win elections.
“Fringe” beliefs and rhetoric, then, are taking over Europe in two ways. The fringe parties themselves are rising to the top. And when they’re defeated, it’s only because their ideas have infiltrated the mainstream parties. Either way, Europe’s personality is changing.
A Good Thing?
This rightward shift has caused some U.S. media outlets to sit up and take note. “A Far-right European Union Could Be Around the Corner,” headlined the Washington Post on July 21. In the Middle East, Al Jazeera warned: “We always assumed European unity would imply greater cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism. With the recent rise of the far right, that may not be the case” (July 19).
Many American conservatives are delighted by this trend. They connect the rise of the right in Europe to the pro-Trump movement. The forces of globalism and environmentalism are being rolled back. But the trouble is, this view overlooks some vital history.
In truth, the EU’s origins do not lie with liberal do-gooders wanting to consign nationalism to the dustbin of history. Its origins are much older.
In World Wars i and ii, Germany wanted to create a form of European Economic Union to make its domination of the Continent more palatable. In World War i, German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg said he aimed to create a “central European economic association” where “all its members will be formally equal but, in practice, will be under German leadership and must stabilize Germany’s economic dominance over Mitteleuropa.”
Nazi propaganda in the 1930s advocated Großraumwirtschaft, (meaning a large economic area). In 1940, German Ambassador to France Otto Abetz wrote to Hitler recommending that Germany “usurp the European idea” to try to control Europe in the same way that Hitler had “usurped the idea of peace” before the war.
That summer, Hermann Göring began plans for the “large-scale economic unification of Europe.” Walther Funk, economics minister and president of the German central bank, developed these plans, calling it the European Economic Community and outlining its characteristics in a series of papers in 1941. Not even two decades later, in 1957, the European Economic Community (eec) became the name of what is now the EU.
The Nazis also called for a “European currency system” that would operate with fixed exchange rates among certain currencies—until a single currency could be gradually introduced. This is exactly what has happened with the euro.
After the war, the infamous Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, became an ardent pro-European. Reich Credit Co. head Dr. Bernhard Benning, who spoke at the 1942 Nazi eec conference on the “European Currency Question,” went on to become a senior figure in the Bundesbank.
Other EU figures had sympathies toward the Nazis before the war, such as Paul-Henri Spaak, one of the EU’s founding fathers. As a member of the Belgian Workers’ Party before the war, he praised “some of Hitler’s magnificent achievements.” In 1937, he said that “the hour of Belgian national socialism has come.” He urged Belgium to remain neutral rather than joining France to fight against Germany. (Germany went on to invade Belgium in 1940.)
Many saw the European Union as a tool to combat German nationalism. But others saw it as a way to unite Europeans behind larger goals.
Now we see European leaders with links to World War ii’s fascist regimes taking power. Germany’s AfD wants to revise that history (sidebar, page 12). Italy’s Meloni isn’t merely leading the successor to Mussolini’s party; she is rebuilding his foreign policy, rebuilding Italy’s links to North Africa.
What we are seeing now is not an abrupt personality change in Europe. It is a slow removal of the mask.
There All Along?
This is not be the only time Germany has rapidly changed its personality. In his book The Europeans, Luigi Barzini compared the Germans to Proteus, the shape-shifter of Greek mythology, because of their tendency to change their identity. Throughout the 19th century, Germans were both mocked and loved for their pacificism and harmlessness. But all of that changed in 1870.
“They crossed the border of France as a gray tide of faceless, disciplined soldiers with spiked helmets, a relentless unstoppable war machine,” he wrote. “Where had they come from? Only a few Germans and no foreigner had suspected what the imminent metamorphosis would be like. … Weeping French writers went on for decades telling innumerable heartbreaking stories of how ruthless, rapacious and contemptuous the invaders had been. How could these Germans be so dissimilar from those harmless and peaceful people Madame de Staël had described, those whom Europe had known and loved only a few years before?”
Then, during the 1930s, Berlin changed quickly from a den of hedonism to the center of military efficiency.
The rise of the AfD right now suggests a similar change is coming.
For those who will listen, the Bible gives an even starker warning than history does. Revelation 17 describes a “beast.” Throughout the books of Revelation and Daniel, a beast symbolizes an empire. This one is ridden by a woman, the biblical symbol for a church.
This beast is led by a series of kings. Revelation 17:10 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.” This tells us that these kings come one after another. This empire rises, is led by a strongman, and then falls, only to be resurrected by another.
Where is there an empire, dominated by a church, that has repeatedly risen and fallen? The only answer is Europe. The last half dozen times it has gone by the name “the Holy Roman Empire.” Most recently it was led by Adolf Hitler.
This prophecy in Revelation is frozen in time. It describes the state of this beast during its sixth leader, Hitler.
Verse 8 describes “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” This beast exists, then vanishes, only to later “ascend out of the bottomless pit.” You could say it emerges out of nowhere—from “underground.” This describes the state of this beast power today. The signs are there, but few recognize them. When this power fully ascends, “the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (verse 8; New Living Translation).
The world thinks this beast has gone, and that the Europeans just want soy lattes, wind turbines and reductions in cow flatulence. But these issues only mask the truth.
Revelation 17 describes this beast during its sixth resurrection because it was at that time that a man was on the scene through whom God revealed these scriptures and exposed this beast. That man was Herbert W. Armstrong. He explained what was happening in Europe and warned that it would rise again.
“We don’t understand German thoroughness,” he said in May 1945. “From the very start of World War ii, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii! Hitler has lost. This round of war, in Europe, is over. And the Nazis have now gone underground. In France and Norway they learned how effectively an organized underground can hamper occupation and control of a country. Paris was liberated by the French underground—and Allied armies. Now a Nazi underground is methodically planned. They plan to come back and to win on the third try.”
Despite all the signs, this personality change will soon catch the world by surprise. But it doesn’t have to surprise you.
The details about this beast power spelled out in your Bible point us to God the Father. The rise of this beast power will be terrifying. But these detailed prophecies assure us: God is in control. These events are all part of His plan.
Now is the time to get to know what is happening, to see what is happening in Europe behind the mask. Then, instead of being startled, terrified or victimized by what is happening, you can be encouraged.
Verse 17 states: “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” Ultimately He is the one behind Europe’s personality change. Seeing God’s role in these events is our only hope.
Man has tried left-wing and right-wing governments. He has tried a staggering range of political and economic systems. None have brought peace or solved all his problems.
God is allowing the final rise of this beast power for a very positive reason: to show mankind the failures of human-devised systems and solutions, and to help us see that He is the only sure solution to man’s problems. Study these prophecies for yourself, and it will point you toward the only sure solutions to both your problems and those of this whole world.