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15 Oct, 2010 04:40

10% of Germans want Führer back - survey

One in ten Germans would like to see a Führer in power; they see dictatorship as the best option for the country, a survey has revealed.

According to a social study conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the longing for a strong hand is still common among Germans.

The poll, aimed at revealing ultra-right and nationalistic feeling, covered 2,400 Germans aged 14 to 90, and yielded unexpected results.

Ten per cent of respondents said that for its own sake, Germany needs a strong leader, a Führer who can rule the country with a steady hand. They pointed out that dictatorship was the best form of government.

The results were even more worrying regarding the nationalistic sentiments of the Germans.

More than 35 per cent expressed concern that Germany risks being packed with immigrants; almost 32 per cent suggested that considering the current labor market conditions, foreigners should be “sent home.”

Xenophobic attitudes toward Muslim immigrants turned out to be especially strong. According to 58 per cent of the respondents, the religious freedom of Muslims in Germany should be limited.

The results of the poll came just as the German History Museum in Berlin opens an exhibition on Adolf Hitler. It is the first exhibition in Germany's postwar history focusing exclusively on Hitler's life.

According to Johannes Kiess, researcher from the University of Leipzig, democracy should not be taken for granted as xenophobic feeling is on the rise.

“The study shows that there is a lack of education in some parts of society. Secondly, people always, especially in times of crisis, search for scapegoats for their own political, economic or social deprivation,” he said.

“This combination of all things together points up to the actually important thing which is that democracy itself is nothing self-fulfilling, or which is always there, or something we have in Europe without doing something for it. We have to fight for democracy every time and every day.”

Another researcher at Leipzig University, Marliese Weissmann, told RT xenophobic attitudes might be related to the discrepancy in the perception of democracy.

“You can observe that people in general approve democracy, but in fact they are not satisfied with how it works in practice,” she said.

But of course there are other factors as well, she noted.

“The economy is quite an important factor, but there are also other factors playing an important role in the rise of right-wing extremist attitudes, such as education and political declarations,” she said.