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Authoritarianism and Aggression: German Youth and Right-Wing Extremism (From Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Youth and Violence, P 39-51, 1998, Meredith W Watts, ed. -- See NCJ-180190)

NCJ Number
Detlef Oesterreich
Meredith W. Watts
Date Published
13 pages
This study hypothesized that young people in East Germany would be no more authoritarian than young people in West Germany and would not tend to be more oriented to the extreme political right.
Data were collected in 1991 on approximately 1,400 young people between 16 and 21 years of age in East and West Berlin, with about 600 young people in 1993, and with about 450 young people in 1995. Questionnaires were distributed at vocational schools and high schools. Right-wing extremism was measured by 10 items covering 5 different topics: identification with national greatness, hostility toward foreigners, punitive and undemocratic dealing with the socialist past, law and order mentality, and denial and minimizing of fascist crimes. Results showed that young people from East Berlin did not orient themselves toward extreme right-wing ideology more than young people from West Berlin in 1991. This changed in the following 2 years. In 1993, young people at vocational schools in East Berlin exhibited more right-wing tendencies. In 1995, these tendencies were lower, suggesting right-wing extremism varied with the amount of stress in the political situation. The author concludes that the rise of right-wing extremism and violence against foreigners in Germany was the product of a combination of two factors: (1) the crisis in Germany between 1990 and 1994; and (2) the failure of authorities to solve this crisis. 10 references, 3 notes, 1 table, and 2 figures