Beyond the Swastika
Author: Peter O'Brien
Since unification, fears of resurgent German nationalism have mounted. In particular, many believe united
Germany is reverting to a xenophobic nationalist stance to deal with the increased pressures of migration
unleashed by the raising of the Iron curtain. Peter O'Brien argues that these fears are exaggerated. He
documents a longstanding, steadily increasing, commitment to the liberal principles of the Basic Law in
the Federal Republic's policies, which protect foreigners against hostile German nationalism.
O'Brien goes on to criticize the very entrenched liberalism which holds German nationalism in check. He
traces among German political elites the appeal and uses of 'technocratic liberalism' - an overzealous
protection of Germany's liberal democracy which, paradoxically, prevents minority groups from achieving
full rights of political participation.
Beyond the Swastika is both unconventional and original. Peter O'Brien resists the widespread alarmist
temptation to distort the political influence of German nationalism and instead uncovers sources of
inequality in German liberalism which have until now gone unnoticed.
'O'Brien's short book moves at a cracking pace, driven by irony and sarcasm and relentless desire to
expose the ambivalence of German attitudes'