Conspiracy Theories in Europe

Sara Dix

The spread of conspiracy theories has become a major influence in spreading disinformation, particularly as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The QAnon conspiracy, while maintained in the fringes throughout Europe, it has taken a strong hold in Germany as described in the YouTube video about TV Chef, Attila Hildmann, and briefly in Mark Scott’s QAnon goes European article. Aside from QAnon, Ivan Kalmar focuses on the utilization of conspiracy theories and the “Soros Plot” by Orban and his Fidesz party in Hungary.

In general, there are a variety of conspiracy theories that have attracted people from various groups such as the Yellow Jacket movement in France, the anti-vaccine community in Italy, and Brexit followers in Britain. The main conspiracy theory that has grown recently in Europe is QAnon; a theory that blends anti-government, anti-lockdown, and anti-Semitic rhetoric with the unfounded belief that the global elite is running a vast pedophile ring. But the main reason that this conspiracy has spread is due to the coronavirus crisis.

While this conspiracy began in the US, it has become a problem in Europe, particularly Germany. I found it interesting how many Germans found themselves believing the QAnon conspiracy because Germany was not as effected by Covid-19. They were able to handle the coronavirus more effectively than other places through lockdowns. I’m also not surprised that conspiracy theorists are negatively impacted both economically and emotionally as conspiracies do appear to be extremely unsound by those who did not fall into the conspiracy trap.

One Reply to “Conspiracy Theories in Europe”

  1. You are definitely right that conspiracy theories have flourished during Covid. I would even argue that the pandemic has made conspiratorial thinking an almost mainstream attitude, at least in some countries. You mention that you found it interesting that despite Germany’s relative success in dealing with the virus, many Germans got sucked into QAnon. I would argue that the lockdowns are in fact the reason why this is the case. The lockdowns are seen as “part of the plan” and something being coordinated on a global scale, behind closed doors.

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