Attention Grab

AfD's Provocation Game

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    After the election of Donald Trump, Germany’s far-right populist AfD party believes it too can deploy a strategy to create media attention among voters to help it make major gains in federal elections.

  • Facts


    • Germany is set to hold federal elections in September. It is currently governed by a coalition of the center-right CDU and center-left SPD.
    • The far-right, populist “Alternative für Deutschland” party was established four years ago. Frauke Petry is the party’s leader.
    • The AfD hopes to secure around 14 percent of votes in the federal election and enter the Bundestag for the first time.
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Kundgebung der AfD Merseburg
Even of some see Björn Höcke as a burden for the AfD party, they still see value in hanging on to controversial Thuringa leader. Source: Martin Schutt/DPA

They weren’t the first controversial remarks coming from a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany party. And an internal strategy paper, outlining the party’s campaign of “targeted provocation,” suggests they certainly won’t be the last.

In a speech to an AfD youth group in Dresden last week, regional party leader Björn Höcke urged Germany to end its “culture of remembering Nazi crimes,” claiming the country needs to make a 180-degree change in how it reflects the past.

“We Germans, our folk, are the only people in the world who planted a memorial of shame in the heart of the capital city,” he said, referring to Berlin’s Holocaust memorial. He described Germany’s frame of mind as a “brutally-beaten people.”

Despite the remarks, leaders of the fledging AfD party, formed four years ago, decided on Monday not to oust Mr. Höcke, who heads the party’s operations in the state of Thuringia, but to have him face disciplinary measures instead.

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