The rise of Germany's most successful far-right party since the Nazis
In Germany, the last few months have seen the rise of the country's most successful far-right party since the Nazis came to power, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).Reuters” singled out some of the key moments in the rise of the AfD.
2013 – Alternative for Germany was founded by a group of academics, journalists and businessmen as an anti-euro party during the eurozone crisis. The party wanted Germany to leave the euro and reintroduce the German mark.
2015 – The party changed hands just in time for the migration crisis in Europe, causing some of the original founders to quit. As the only party to criticize then-Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy that let in hundreds of thousands of migrants, they have seen their support steadily grow.
The co-leader of the party then stated that the then integration minister should have been "rejected" in Turkey, her parents' country of origin.
2017 – In January, AfD regional leader Björn Hocke called the Holocaust Memorial a "monument of shame", saying "the history books should focus more on the German victims of World War II".
In September, the AfD became the first far-right party to enter the national parliament in more than half a century, winning 12 percent of the vote and becoming the official parliamentary opposition. Other parties still refuse to cooperate with this party.
2018 – AfD received 16-18% support in opinion polls, which remains the highest level until 2023.
2019 – The AfD comes second in the polls in the state of Thuringia, showing the party's appeal in the country's former communist east.
Nationally, support has declined following a series of controversies involving AfD members and amid divisions over policy.
2020 – During the pandemic, the AfD gained supporters through anti-lockdown campaigns.
2021 – Germany's domestic spy agency BfW puts the AfD under surveillance on suspicion of trying to undermine Germany's democratic constitution. It then became the first party to be tracked in this way since the end of the Nazi era in 1945.
2023 – In April, the BfV classifies the youth organization of the AfD as an extremist entity that threatens democracy.
In May, the BfW reported that parts of the AfD were spreading Russian propaganda. AfD leaders call for an end to sanctions against Russia.
In June, support for the party rises to 17-19%, tied for second place with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats in some polls, as it factors in concerns about inflation, the costs of the green transition and a new surge in migration.