Nazism Rises Again in Germany

Election campaign posters for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) hang from lampposts on June 3 in Berlin ahead of June 6-9 parliamentary elections.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Nazism Rises Again in Germany

Germany marked an ominous milestone last weekend: the best performance by a far-right party in a nationwide election since World War ii. In votes for the European Parliament, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) came in second place.

The same dramatic trend hit all of Europe.

In France, the fringe National Rally party came in first place. It received more than twice as many votes as the alliance led by French President Emmanuel Macron. The National Rally is far outside the norm of French politics. For decades, left and right mainstream parties have united to ensure it doesn’t get into office. President Macron was humiliated by the election result. He tried to save himself from becoming a lame duck by calling snap parliamentary elections.

Austria’s fringe-right Freedom Party of Austria came in first place with 24.7 percent of the vote. That was its first win in a nationwide vote.

Belgium held federal elections alongside the European ones. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s party did so poorly, he decided to resign.

But Germany is where this trend is most important to watch.

The AfD is the fastest growing party in Germany. Earlier polls showed it had about 20 percent support. But then in the lead-up to the vote, it was hit with major scandals. Its leading candidate, Maximilian Krah, defended soldiers who fought in the Waffen SS in World War ii. The Nuremberg tribunal declared the Waffen-SS a criminal organization because of its involvement in the Holocaust and its many other atrocities. But Krah disagreed, saying he would “never say that anyone who wore an SS uniform was automatically a criminal.” On top of that, AfD staff members were caught spying for China and taking bribes from Russia.

The AfD has been so extreme that other fringe parties in Europe refuse to associate with it. In the lead-up to its election, French populist leader Marine Le Pen kicked the AfD out of her European parliamentary group.

Yet despite all the controversy, the AfD won record support.

In most of what used to be East Germany, the AfD is the most popular party. It is also popular among young people; its share of the 16-to-24-year-old vote rose 11 percentage points. The party is by far the most active on video-sharing site TikTok.

The rise of this extreme party is just one sign of a German society in trouble.

“I’ve been in and out of Germany a lot in recent months, and it’s hard not to gain the impression that its society is falling apart at the seams,” wrote historian Katja Hoyer. “Wherever you go, there seem to be angry political rallies and street protests. The news is full of violent attacks on politicians and activists. … [T]his time the threats to social cohesion feel very real.”

Hoyer warned, “The rise in political violence combined with a rapidly shifting party landscape in which a right-wing force is emerging as a major player reminds many Germans of the 1920s and ’30s.”

There is a good reason for that.

Nazi Sympathies

The AfD is a far-right party. It shares some important similarities with the Nazi Party. It wants Germany to reject migrants, to be more assertive nationally—and to fundamentally change its view of history, particularly of World War ii.

One of the AfD’s top leaders, Björn Höcke, said in a 2017 speech: “German history is handled as rotten and made to look ridiculous.” He said German attempts to commemorate and apologize for World War ii are a “stupid coping policy” and called Germany’s Holocaust memorial “a monument of shame in the heart of its capital.” The nation needs a “180-degree reversal on the politics of remembrance.” “The AfD is the last revolutionary, the last peaceful chance for our fatherland,” he said, and the crowd chanted, “Deutschland, Deutschland.”

The same year, AfD leader Alexander Gauland said, “If the French are rightly proud of their emperor and the Britons of Nelson and Churchill, we have the right to be proud of the achievements of the German soldiers in two world wars.”

Four years later, Höcke used the slogan “Alles für Deutschland” (Everything for Germany). That was the slogan of Hitler’s Stormtroopers, the military wing of his Nazi Party. It is forbidden in Germany today. Höcke was fined €13,000 for using it.

Last year, AfD leader Tino Chrupalla said, “I find it fundamentally problematic to always link commemoration with the question of guilt.” Germany needed to stop feeling guilty. “Historical guilt should no longer determine the way we act,” he said. His comments didn’t really raise any eyebrows—but they were really no different from Höcke’s comments in 2017, which stirred a lot of controversy. By 2023, those kinds of statements had become normal.

Compact is a magazine by and for AfD supporters. It presents a view of World War ii in which Germany is the victim. Its special editions have included:

  • “Lost Homeland,” describing the “unspeakable suffering” of the 14 million Germans expelled from Eastern Europe after the war and the “martyrdom they had to endure”
  • “Crimes Against Germans,” on how Germany was victimized by war crimes during World War ii
  • “Dresden 1945: The Dead, the Perpetrators and the Trivializers,” on the “Anglo-American bombing terror” and the “mass murderer” Winston Churchill
  • “The Death Camps of the Americans,” which accuses Gen. Dwight Eisenhower of carrying out the mass execution of German prisoners of war in 1945

“The German soldiers fought mostly chivalrously and honorably in the Second World War,” stated Compact. There were only a small number of criminals, and “offenses were usually severely punished by the military justice system.”

It’s hard to argue that the Nazis were actually the good guys. So Compact tries to show that both Axis and Allies were equally bad and that the Nazis were unfairly condemned by history.

Even now, according to Compact, Germany is the victim of a vast American conspiracy. Hitler’s agreement with Stalin to divide Eastern Europe between them is held up as an example to be copied. Germany needs to ally with Russia to escape America’s trap.

This worldview is rapidly growing in Germany. Ordinary Germans are starting to support these kinds of extreme ideas.

An Italian electronic dance tune has become a kind of AfD anthem. Crowds of Germans are replacing its lyrics with words like, “Germany for the Germans, foreigners out.” And it’s not just skinheads singing along: It’s wealthy businessmen and private school students. It’s now the most downloaded song in Germany.

Last year, Spiegel interviewed ordinary people on the street about German politics. Here’s one exchange:

Citizen: “If the nsdap [Nazi Party] leads again in the elections, then I’ll come back.”

Reporter: “Well, you can’t say that.”

Citizen: “Yes, you can.”

Reporter: “The nsdap … killed 6 million Jews.”

Citizen: (shrugs shoulders)

Reporter: “Do you really think it would be good to have fascists again in parliament?”

Citizen: “Well, do you think it’s better in today’s parliament? Look, [they] just talk and don’t do anything.”

How can this be happening in modern Germany?

Looking for a Strongman

Herbert W. Armstrong warned in the 1940s that Germany would rise again.

In March 1950, he wrote that European nations are becoming “distrustful of America and thinking more and more about uniting themselves into a united states of Europe.” To do that though, they needed a “new supreme leader—the successor of Adolf Hitler—to rise up and assert himself and take command.”

It’s this strong, charismatic leader that Germans, and many other people across Europe, are desperate for. They see their country spinning out of control.

In the days before the election, a video of a Muslim stabbing a German policeman to death went viral. Germans want a strongman to protect them from such threats—even if it means embracing Nazism.

Mainstream pro-European parties took a beating in these recent elections. People don’t trust European bureaucrats. But they also want a strong leader to rescue them. They are calling for a new “Charlemagne” to lead the European Union.

How much do Europeans really know about Charlemagne?

The Charlemagne Prize is awarded each year to a politician who has done the most to unify Europe. When former German Chancellor Roman Herzog was awarded the prize in 1997, he said this: “Charlemagne, after whom our prize is named, made his own particular choice: the first unification of Europe. At such an hour the truth must be told: Only by wading through a sea of blood, sweat and tears did he reach his goal.”

Charlemagne was emperor of both France and Germany, so both countries can get behind him. He ruled over the First Reich; Hitler led the third. Reich is all about empire. That is what many in Europe really want: a strong leader and a new empire.

Europe’s elections show a very divided continent. Yet a new charismatic Charlemagne could unite the Continent.

What Prophecy Says

Here is one of the Bible’s main prophecies that Mr. Armstrong used to foretell Germany’s rise: “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” (Revelation 17:10).

God revealed this prophecy to Mr. Armstrong as Hitler was rising. Hitler was the sixth “king” of the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne was the second.

Many scoffed at Mr. Armstrong when he warned that the Nazis would rise from the ashes of World War ii. But no one is scoffing now. Many observers can see that Germany has gotten control of Europe. But for him to have seen it so far in advance is a miracle from God! No man can interpret prophecy without God’s inspiration.

Based on the Bible’s prophecies, Mr. Armstrong proclaimed back in 1934 of the appearance of a world dictator in charge of the Holy Roman Empire. Though Hitler was destructive, he never achieved world domination. This coming leader will electrify the world! He will pare down the European Union to 10 nations and cause the worst suffering this world has ever seen (verses 12-13).

Daniel 8:23 warns that “a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” This is talking about the coming leader of Germany. We can know this by putting this together with other prophecies. For example, the prophecy in Daniel 11:40-45 says “the king of the north” shall rise “at the time of the end.” This is talking about a German-led European superpower. Isaiah 10:5-19 give a similar prophecy, adding that this leader shall be “the king of Assyria.” The modern Germans are the descendants of ancient Assyria. (For proof, read “The Remarkable Identity of the German People.”)

Daniel 8:23 supplies some key details about this soon-coming strongman. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament explains that “dark sentences” means riddles, difficult or dark speeches, sayings, questions or parables. It says it is used “at a higher social level.” Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines “dark sentences” as “twisted, involved, subtlety, fraud, enigma.” This strongman grasps things that are obscure, things you can’t understand without explanation or interpretation.

This is revealing insight. The prophesied strongman operates on a high social level; he is capable of understanding and solving complex issues and questions. He is brilliant and sophisticated, and he has intellectual depth and power. The context shows he enjoys notoriety and fame for it.

The next political leader will be much more suave and sophisticated than Hitler was. He doesn’t just rule Germany, he unites 10 European nations behind him. Verse 25 states, “by peace [he] shall destroy many.” Hitler did this very effectively, lying about his intentions and using peace negotiations to weaken his opponents. But this next leader is even craftier.

(We think we know who this charismatic leader will be. My booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent explains.)

Being more cultural and sophisticated does not make this leader less destructive. In fact, the Bible says that the death toll from this man’s wars of conquest will be even higher than Hitler’s!

Why would God allow this? In Isaiah 10:5, He says this man is God’s tool for correcting His people! Verse 6 says that God actually sends him. Revelation 17:17 says God is putting thoughts of conquest into the minds of these leaders. Most people would reject these clear statements about God. That is because they don’t know the true God! When you read such prophecies, you need to strive to understand things from God’s perspective.

The rise of this Nazi spirit in Europe is sobering. It certainly shows how the climate is ripe for the rise of this strongman. But prophecy shows the ultimate positive outcome of these events. Daniel 8:25 tells us this strongman will be defeated by Jesus Christ Himself!

That is what these prophecies are ultimately about. Jesus Christ is preparing to return to Earth. Before that, He is going to allow World War iii to correct man. But He is ultimately in control. Only Jesus Christ can bring us peace, joy and happiness forever. So this is the best possible news you could ever hear!