WSJ The German Right Believes It’s Time to Discard the Country’s Historical Guilt


As part of the nationalist tide sweeping Europe, the Alternative for Germany is pushing to change how the country views its Nazi past, upending decades of consensus

By ANTON TROIANOVSKI

KARLSRUHE, Germany—The draft budget for Baden-Württemberg state set aside $69,000 this year for educational trips to “memorials of National Socialist injustice.”

The Alternative for Germany party submitted a motion to strike the reference to the Nazi Party and instead use the money for visits to “significant German historic sites.”

“We strive for a balanced view of history,” the motion said. “A one-sided concentration on 12 years of National Socialist injustice is to be rejected.”

The upstart Alternative for Germany, known as the AfD, began as a party opposed to the euro and moved on to fighting Germany’s refugee influx. Now it is increasingly emphasizing a broader, substantially more provocative goal: changing how Germans see their past.

AfD politicians say an unhealthy obsession with the Nazi crimes of World War II skews Germans’ understanding of their country’s history, leaves no place for national pride and interferes with government policy. Nazi-era guilt, they say, was behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to let in hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa.

“The negation of our own national interests is something that has become a political maxim in Germany since World War II,“ said AfD leader Frauke Petry.

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