Taking Nativism to the Streets

Historical Perspectives on Right-Wing Extremist Protest Campaigns against Immigration in Germany


  • Gideon Botsch




antisemitism, racism, nativism, radical right parties, radical right movements, protest, violence, terrorism, Germany, nineteenth century, twentieth century


In this article, I give an overview on nativist street protests in Germany from the early nineteenth century to the present from an historical perspective. In a preliminary remark, I will reflect on some recent developments in Germany, where nativist protest campaigns against immigration took place in the streets when voters were turning towards the populist radical right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). In the first section, I will outline an older tradition of anti-immigration protest in nineteenth and early twentieth century Germany, which is closely connected to modern antisemitism. In sections two and three, I will retrace how, from the late 1960s onward, the far right in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) discovered concerns about immigration in the German population, addressed them in protest campaigns and developed narratives to integrate such sentiments into a broader right-wing extremist ideology, itself deeply rooted in antisemitism. Studying nativism and the radical right from an actor-oriented perspective, I will focus on traditionalist movements, including the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD) and neo-Nazi groups.