Five Million Germans: “It’s time we had a ‘Führer‘ again...”

5 Millionen Deutsche: „Wir sollten wieder einen Führer haben…“

The SINUS study was a survey commissioned by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1980 on right-wing extremist ideas in West Germany. The study was the first of its kind in the Federal Republic of Germany. Rarely have the results of a social science survey attracted as much attention as this SINUS classic from 1981.

The study looked at six components that, taken together, yield a right-wing extremist pattern of attitudes: authoritarianism, nationalism, xenophobia, prosperity chauvinism, anti-Semitism and pro-Nazism. SINUS research was able to show that at that time 13 or more percent of the West German population had a “closed right-wing extremist worldview.” About one in two in this group also found violence to be an effective means of enforcing it. Another 37 percent were immune to anti-Semitism, militarism and the Führer cult but were still receptive to “right-wing extremist thought content.” The study argues that conservatives in particular have made radical right-wing thought “socially acceptable.”

The study provided – and continues to provide – rich material for debate on right-wing extremism, and offers practical politics a wealth of starting points for combating this phenomenon.


The authors:

Overview SINUS studies


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