The Balancing Act


Welcome back to the Francesco report! (and no, this will not be the last that I will be saying that, it will catch on)

For this week, we have been served up some rather interesting articles regarding the “new left” and “new right” ideologies that arose into place not long after the end of WWII. From what I can derive from the readings, there seems to have been a great attempt by people all over the European world (France, Germany, Italy etc) to try and replace the fascism of the Nazi’s with their own subdued versions. One example that is represented in two of these sources is that of the ND (or Nouvelle Droite) which was basically the “new right”. The new and improved way to support white power and segregate those who were seen as lesser. While this new theology may have been better then the Nazi regime and their ideals, this was not an improvement upon matters. This was simply a way to make fascist ideals more acceptable in the modern world. Although, with this “new right” there also comes the balance of the “new left”, which can be seen by writer Frank Biess, in an article titled: Revolutionary Angst. In this article, the reader learns of a West German student movement that was able to gain real ground in the year 1967, when they claimed their first martyr, a man by the name of Benno Ohnesorg, who was killed during a “cleaning up” at the West Berlin Opera by police officers. The death of this man was taken to heart by many students who believed that this action by the officers; “had ripped the mask off the face of West German state and society.”. The author goes on to say that the Federal Republic had now become a “democracy of anger”. With these samples, a balancing act of opposing ideologies is made quite clear and is still being debated today.

A photo depicting the Benno Ohnesorg (laying down) and Friederike Dollinger (cradling his head). Frank Biess states that this image “became an iconic image of the student movement.”.


Sources (just in case any of you want to follow up on any of this info)

Frank Biess, “Revolutionary Angst” German Angst: Fear and Democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2020), 195-241.

Robert Deam Tobin, “The Evolian Imagination: Gender, Race, and Class from Fascism to the New Right” Journal of Holocaust Research vol. 35, Issue2 (Confronting Hatred; Neo-Nazim, Antisemitism, and Holocaust Studies): 75-90.

Roger Griffin, “Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite’s Strategy for Conserving the Fascist Vision in the ‘Interregnum.’” Modern & Contemporary France, vol. 8, no. 1 (Feb. 2000): pp. 35–53.

Tamir Bar-On, “Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite.” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 45, no. 3 (July 2011): 199–223.

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