Germany Yearns for a Führer

Some of the 48,000 boys and 5,000 girls who attended the Nazi Party Congress rally in Nuremberg cheering and saluting Adolf Hitler’s speech.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Germany Yearns for a Führer

Conditions in Germany are ripe for the rise of a dictator.

It has been 78 years since the death of Adolf Hitler. But the present German generation looks to that history with nostalgia. Last week, an old Nazi marching song played in a beer tent in Saxony, Germany; people responded with the Nazi salute. A video of the event went viral.

A May 6 insa survey showed that the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) was the most popular party in eastern Germany, with the exception of Berlin. The party’s popularity is also rising in western Germany. A survey from the Sinus Institute for Social Research revealed that the AfD’s share of middle-class voters jumped from 43 percent to 56 percent in two years. But that is not the only indication that Germany yearns to revive its past.

In a May 2021 speech, AfD party leader Björn Höcke allegedly used the phrase “Everything for Germany,” which is forbidden in Germany because it was a motto of the SA, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party.

Hubert Aiwanger, leader of Bavaria’s Free Voters, was accused of carrying an anti-Semitic pamphlet, making repulsive Jewish jokes, practicing Hitler’s speeches, and more. His party’s popularity went up 4 percent in the polls after the accusations became public.

It has become common among right-wing circles to resurrect slogans, policies and propaganda from the Nazi era.

Little by little, the mood in Germany is changing.

Troubling Worldviews

A recent study conducted by the University of Leipzig found 33 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: “We should have a leader who rules Germany with a strong hand for the good of all.” Nearly a quarter of respondents said National Socialism (Nazism) had some advantages.

A survey of Germany’s middle class by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation stated: “More than 6 percent favor a right-wing dictatorship with a single strong party and one führer for Germany. Twenty-three percent agree with such a dictatorship at least partially.”

Political and communications consultant Johannes Hillje wrote:

The poison of the AfD and its accomplices is working. The new Mitte-Studie … shows an increase in people with a closed right-wing extremist worldview …. The negative development can be exemplified by the support for a dictatorship: Only 70 percent still oppose it; almost 30 percent do not.

Comparing results from the 2020–2021 Mitte-Studie to results from the 2022–2023 survey shows an almost fourfold increase in approval of xenophobia. Just over half of respondents opposed it. Support for trivializing National Socialism rose from 1.4 to 4 percent. Support for anti-Jewish views went from 1.7 to 5 percent.

For years, the Mitte-Studie found that around 1.5 to 3 percent of Germans have extreme right-wing views. This year, the figure is 8 percent.

It is important to understand the causes of this dramatic shift. EuroIntelligence explained:

It was not a corrupt conspiracy and a dysfunctional constitution that swept the Nazis to power in 1933. It was centrist coalitions that pursued austerity in the years before. German political parties today have drawn the wrong conclusions from the breakdown of the Weimar Republic. By refusing to enter coalitions with the AfD, they are repeating exactly the same mistake their predecessors did in the early 1930s. They are only looking at 1933, when it was already too late. The political error occurred in the years before.

The AfD’s strength lies in German citizens’ dissatisfaction with the current democratic system. The party grows in popularity when other parties seek to isolate it. The stronger it becomes, the more people see it as the new normal.

Economic Woe

According to Geopolitical Futures:

[Germans] are currently confronted with significant demands that jeopardize their ability to meet their own expectations in terms of owning a car and a house, and raising their children in a safe environment. They blame the government and the political system for not creating solutions and are therefore seeking alternatives. Instead of driving social change, they appear to be getting increasingly pessimistic, with concerns over unemployment and other issues similar to those of other classes.

Germany entered a recession at the beginning of the year. In August, Forbes wrote:

Currently, things are looking as bleak as they were during the covid-19 pandemic and associated government lockdowns. … The current situation may even be worse as it isn’t limited to certain sectors.

This economic crisis is coming at perhaps the worst possible time: A financial crisis, another refugee crisis and rising extremist views in Germany are a toxic mix.

Hitler couldn’t have stirred nationwide hatred for Jews and foreigners if not for the global financial crisis of 1929. His accusations that Jews were infiltrating banks gave people a scapegoat for their financial trouble.

Hitler used the economic crisis to create an empire. Infrastructure programs and increased weapons production brought the unemployment rate close to zero. He switched Germany’s peacetime economy to a wartime economy. He took charge of Germany’s problems and brought back prosperity, making him a hero whom millions would follow into a global war to sustain the empire.

Could this happen again?

A Striking Warning

“If a real crisis develops, will the Germans call for a new führer?” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in our December 1991 issue. “Your Bible says that is going to happen! That crisis will probably be triggered by an economic collapse in the U.S.”

Three decades ago, some may have dismissed this warning as alarmist. But considering the current opinion in Germany and the economic woes, what will happen when our current financial system collapses?

The Bible gives the answer.

A multitude of crises will cause Germany to demand a strongman. This leader will not receive power through a democratic election; he will “come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21).

As Daniel 12:4 shows, this book is for our time today. Jesus Christ echoed this prophecy in Matthew 24.

Revelation 17 details the rise of another empire in the fashion of the Nazi Reich, made up of ten nations or groups of nations. “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (verse 12).

For decades, Hebert W. Armstrong warned this beast would rise again as the Bible prophesied. He also proclaimed the rise of this empire would lead to the second coming of Jesus Christ (verse 14). These astonishing prophecies and their fulfillments are explained in our free booklet He Was Right.

Isn’t it increasingly obvious that we need Christ’s intervention in world affairs?