Date of Original Version

1994

Type

Article

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

Ideology is the source of all organized activity—there is no possibility of organized social activity without an internalized morality or ideology to legitimate it. Indeed, ideology is the transcendent phenomenon of everyday life, not as the causal or motivating factor in social activity, but as the link between organized mental activity and the organized social world. Ideology serves to legitimate realistic social activity, focus heterogeneous cognitive, moral, and wishful ambitions on the completion of social tasks, and define the range of appropriate behaviors in terms of those tasks. Ideology is the most important variable in the explanation of social stability and social change. Why does mankind have a much greater tendency change its ideology and produce feelings of fear and hatred in times of economic distress, hardship, or social upheaval? This paper attempts to answer this question and to provide socioeconomic, psychological, and political theory rationalizations for Germany's consistent history of racial and ethnic intolerance in the twentieth century. First, intolerance during pre- and post-World War II Germany are briefly discussed to provide a background and a greater understanding for what has occurred in more recent years. Since right extremist parties have once again entered parliamentary politics in the 1980s, it is necessary to examine the political focus and the socio-economic environment which helped mobilize voters and contributed to the success of the extreme right. Finally, the dramatic wave of intolerance and violence after the reunification of Germany is looked at and analyzed

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Published In

The Sloping Halls Review, 1.