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Neo-Nazis in the U.S.

The recent neo-Nazi resurgence in the United States has sparked the attention of many citizens and is continuing to resonate as a source of terror…

 

 

What is a ‘neo-Nazi’?

The term ‘neo-Nazis’ refers to those, after the war, obtaining a viewpoint connected with Nazi ideology. Neo-Nazis are a group of people who hold values similar to the German Nazi Party. They desire to revive the ideology and practice of Nazism, or National Socialism. Their beliefs include:

  • White supremacy: the notion that white people are superior to other races.
  • Fascism: “a political philosophy, movement, or regime… that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  • Rejection of democracy
  • Immense pride in their party
  • Targeting of Blacks, Jews, gays and lesbians, Muslims, and many other minorities.

 

The History

The injustices that occur because of the neo-Nazi resurgence in the U.S. have lead me to become interested in this problem. I personally care about this issue because I believe that America should be a place where safety the public’s safety is a priority. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their country and not feel threatened by extremist groups. The rebirth of Nazism is something that many Americans are aware and frightened of, but the roots of this uprising are not always clear. After their downfall at the end of World War II, Nazi presence noticeably declined. However, over time, small groups began to emerge. These groups shared the same thing:  Nazism ideology. In 1959, the American Nazi Party was formed by George Lincoln Rockwell. Multiple organizations were being founded under this name, and the recruitment numbers to neo-Nazi groups increased. In modern day, ever since President Donald J. Trump’s election, a huge amount of media coverage has been sparked on the uprising in neo-Nazi activity.

 

Neo-Nazi Activity

Neo-Nazis have attempted to spread a positive outlook and overall awareness of Nazism by celebrating its ideology publically. In 2008, there were reports of neo-Nazis gathering to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s 120th birthday. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “Groups are promoting the meetings and celebrations as “family friendly” in an effort to pass on their hateful ideology to children and continue Hitler’s legacy for future generations” (“Neo-Nazis Plan “Family” Events to Celebrate Hitler’s Birthday”). This shows the efforts the neo-Nazis have made to create a positive outlook on their presence in society. The involvement in childhood participation in younger generations is also extremely concerning, as they are normalizing and ingraining their ideology into children who are not old enough to fully comprehend such topics. In another article by the Jewish Virtual Library, “right-wing politicians in several countries often tried to capture those voters who might be inclined toward neo-Nazism” (“Anti-Semitism: Neo-Nazism). Here is an example of the publicity that neo-Nazis are desiring, and the awareness they are spreading quickly through ways such as elections. Campaigns and other forms of advertising for elections may convince others to join their white supremacist groups, ultimately increasing the participation in neo-Nazi activity.

The recent riots and rallies have also been a way for the neo-Nazis to promote their presence socially and politically. The result of the neo-Nazis putting themselves forward is a violent and threatening atmosphere surrounding the U.S.. The neo-Nazi population in the U.S. is increasing rapidly, and citizens are aware of the movement especially because of their strong presence in the media. Riots are given a large amount of attention and coverage across the nation.

“Unite the Right” Rally
Charlottesville, Virginia (August 12, 2017)

The “Unite the Right” rally was deemed to be the largest hate-rally the nation has seen in decades. The participants included neo-Nazis, but also Klu Klux Klan members, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, and other alt-right extremist groups. A CNN report from the Charlottesville police states that “on Saturday around 7:40 p.m., a group of about 40 to 50 people… gathered at Emancipation Park, where the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee stands…” (“Charlottesville mayor slams ‘despicable visit’ as another torch rally held”). The original motivation was to riot against the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. In an NPR interview, Professor George Hawley of the University of Alabama said that “[a] lot of the symbols of the most marginalized elements of the radical right were on visible display, things like swastika flags, et cetera” (“’Unite The Right’: Charlottesville Rally Represented Collection Of Alt-Right Groups”). Counter protests were planned by members of Black Lives Matter and others who were against any uprising in fascism as a result of Donald J. Trump being elected president. This sparked chaos. Then, 20 year old James Alex Fields Jr, suspected Nazi sympathizer, plows a car into a group of protesters, killing a woman and leaving 19 others injured.

 

Steps to End Hate

The problem that neo-Nazis impose on the United States is mainly the distress from their very presence. Not only have violent events resulted as a part of their so-called political “movement”, but they have spread negative and discriminatory ideology to people of all ages across the nation. The neo-Nazis’ participation in violent riots have put citizens in danger, which is an unacceptable way for any group to stand up for themselves. I support the right to freedom of speech; however, I do not find it justifiable when it infringes upon the well being of others.

A solution for this issue is extremely difficult, especially because of the massive amount of participants in neo-Nazism. It is also a national problem, so finding a way to stop all neo-Nazi action is nearly impossible. Typically, groups who have strong beliefs do not completely die out. Although, there is a chance to decrease neo-Nazi participation by spreading views of diversity, acceptance, and non-violence throughout communities. For example,  Christian Picciolini shared his story and experiences as an ex-neo-Nazi. He speaks on how he discovered new ways to live that diminished his need for hate. Christian’s story has the ability to inspire people from any hate group that there are alternatives to being hostile in this world.

Here is a short video segment on his story:

Instead of trying to directly contact neo-Nazis and convert them to more peaceful ways to express themselves (which would be potentially risky and likely ineffective), I think that spreading awareness of certain advocacy organizations for the groups who are being targeted by neo-Nazis would be a better approach. These organizations may include: 

There is also something simple that everyone can do:  start a conversation. Sometimes there are questions that just can’t be answered at this point in time, but if we don’t ask them, then how is change ever going to occur? A solution to reducing hate across the U.S. is to talk about it, engage with our fellow citizens, and question the aspects of our nation. Here are some questions that could get you started:

  1. What is your opinion on the 1st Amendment? Should it be more or less strict?
  2. Should rallies have better police enforcement? Or alternative police training?
  3. How should activist movements react towards the neo-Nazis?
  4. What should political leaders do to combat the issue of neo-Nazi activity in the U.S.?
  5. What are ways to prevent violent hate-group events happening?
  6. How should Americans be allowed to spread their opinions and views?
  7. Are we aware of the impact our beliefs have on others?

 

 

Made with Padlet

 


Bibliography:

“Anti-Semitism: Neo-Nazism.” Jewish Virtual Library, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/neo-nazism-2.

“Charlottesville Mayor Slams ‘Despicable Visit’ as Another Torch Rally Held.” CNN,

www.cnn.com/2017/10/08/us/charlottesville-torch-rally/index.html.

“Charlottesville Neo-Nazis Alt-Right.” Https://Limacharlienews.com/Wp-

Content/Uploads/2017/08/Charlottesville-Neo-Nazis-Alt-Right.jpg, limacharlienews.com/wp-

content/uploads/2017/08/Charlottesville-neo-Nazis-alt-right.jpg.

“Extremists’ ‘Unite the Right’ Rally: A Possible Historic Alt-Right Showcase?” Southern Poverty Law Center,

www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/08/07/extremists-unite-right-rally-possible-historic-alt-right-showcase.

“Fascism.” Fascism, departments.kings.edu/history/20c/fascism.html.

“Fascism.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism.

“Former Neo-Nazi Explains His Radicalization.” Youtube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMkHzB7-nHo&t=89s.

History.com Staff. “Nazi Party.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/world-war-

ii/nazi-party.

“Nazi Ideology.” Nazism, www.nazism.net/about/nazi_ideology/.

“Nazism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism.

“Neo-Nazism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Nazism.

Neo Nazis. currentinternational.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/neo-nazi.jpg.

“Neo-Nazis Plan ‘Family’ Events to Celebrate Hitler’s Birthday.” ADL, www.adl.org/news/article/neo-nazis-plan-

family-events-to-celebrate-hitlers-birthday.

“Nephew of Fascist Who Marched in Charlottesville & Former Neo-Nazi on Confronting Racists.” Democracy Now!,

www.democracynow.org/2017/8/18/part_2_nephew_of_fascist_who.

“The Nazi Party: Background & Overview.” Jewish Virtual Library, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/background-and-

overview-of-the-nazi-party-nsdap.

“The Rise of the Nazi Party.” A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust, fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/TIMELINE/nazirise.HTM.

“’Unite The Right’: Charlottesville Rally Represented Collection Of Alt-Right Groups.” NPR, NPR, 15 Aug. 2017,

www.npr.org/2017/08/15/543730227/unite-the-right-charlottesville-rally-represented-collection-of-alt-right-groups.

 

 

Share this project
COMMENTS: 9
  1. April 29, 2018 by Annabel.Edwards

    Interesting project page! I agree that this issue is growing each day in American, and people don’t realize how important it is to know about these groups forming/increasing. I’ve found it very interesting that since Trump was elected more and more people are coming forth as racists or white supremacists whereas before they were there but not speaking out as much. It scares me to think that people are still able to follow Hitler despite the history. How do you think we can educate the next generations to try and rid of these groups?

  2. April 29, 2018 by Anna Thompson

    This is a very interesting topic! I can tell that you’ve done a lot of research and put good thought into a solution for this problem. Your listing of discussion questions seems like a great way to catalyze change, and the video of the ex-Neo Nazi was very moving and added a personal touch. Just as an interesting side note, I would encourage you to explore the concept of Social-Darwinism, basically the foundation behind the idea of Aryan Supremacy and Nazism (we studied it in my AP European history class). Also, as another question for you, how far do you think that the U.S. government can go in restricting the activity of Neo-Nazis? I ask this because although I, and most sensible people, overtly disagree with Neo-Nazism, do you think it is just to eliminate their right to free speech? Obviously Neo-Nazis present a threat, especially if violence is involved, but I was just curious about your thoughts on this. Thought-provoking project– well done!

  3. April 29, 2018 by Sophia.Lawder-Gill

    This is a fascinating project. I especially think that it’s a very good time to choose a topic like this, as the issue of Nazis in the US is sadly all too real. I really enjoyed your video, as personal narratives always really resonate with me and I think that in dealing with any hate group, it’s important to combat it from the inside out–i.e, interviewing the members (or previous members.) A question I’d pose would be: do you think that hate groups such as these will ever be entirely eradicated, or is it unrealistic to think that dissent will ever be one hundred percent free from our country?

  4. April 30, 2018 by Rio.Townsend

    Hi Tara! This is such an interesting topic that you’ve decided to dive deeper into. I have always been fascinated and I guess, alarmed by the growth of interest in neo-nazi and far-right extremism although, your project really locked in my interest. I think you hit a really important point at the end when you say, “Sometimes there are questions that just can’t be answered at this point in time, but if we don’t ask them, then how is change ever going to occur?” You definitely sparked a passion in this topic for me and were able to get me to start a conversation with my peers in class, so thank you! Anyways, I loved your piece and especially the compelling photos that you incorporated into your writing. Just a small thing, your interactive Padlet isn’t seeming to be working:( but overall it is so good!

  5. April 30, 2018 by Julia.Cohon

    Tara, this is a really interesting topic that you have worked on! Great work! I really like everything that you incorporated and utilised because it was very organized and extremely well thought out! In your reasearch, what did you find to be the most astonishing thing that you learned? What kind of impact od you think this will have in the future?

  6. April 30, 2018 by Vivian

    Wow! You’re project is so interesting! You mention that you support the freedom of speech, but that you don’t find it justifiable when it infringes on the rights of others. Do you think then that it would be just to ban neo-nazi interest groups and parties in the US? I know that Germany has been debating about whether or not their Neo-Nazi party should be allowed to compete in elections and voice their opinions. I would be interested to know what you think!

  7. April 30, 2018 by Winter.Murray

    Hi Tara! I think that this is a really important project, especially since the issue with neo-Nazis has become too prevalent recently. I remember reading an article in a well-known news outlet about a member of the “alt-right” that described him as a family man and almost tried to normalize his ideology. What do you think of the impact media coverage like this has?

  8. April 30, 2018 by Tatum

    Hi Tara, this was a very fascinating and well done project. You talked briefly about how you support free speech until it infringes upon another person or group of people’s rights which got me thinking about the First Amendment and how far it can go in terms of protecting these neo-nazis from spreading hate. It would be really interesting to hear your opinion on this. Overall great job!

  9. May 04, 2018 by Jerome Nashed

    I love how you choose such a relevant topic! I think within the past couple year’s we’ve seen a larger and larger division between U.S. citizens and that’s not the direction we want to go in. I think the discussion of freedom of speech is an important one especially when there is an infringement on someone else’s wellbeing. I think there has to be a nuanced middle ground that we can find to stay true to true U.S. values but also make sure that everyone feels safe. Great job!

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