Nazis, Violence and the State: Social Democratic Repertoire Discussions in Germany and the Netherlands Around 1930
Kristian Mennen explores how Social Democratic parties in Germany and the Netherlands responded to the emergence of anti-democratic movements around 1930. Confronted with extremist violence in the streets, Social Democratic civil society organisations in Germany considered using paramilitary actions against the enemies of ‘democracy’ themselves. This would be legitimised by political circumstances and the higher goal of the ideal of ‘democracy’. Mennen identifies an important change of paradigm in repertoire discussions in the Netherlands after 1933. Dutch Social Democrats developed a new understanding of ‘democracy’ as a criterion for proper methods of political action. Even when violence was effective or successful, it should be rejected as a matter of principle as an inherently ‘undemocratic’ method.