From the »Selbstbewußte Nation« to National Self-Consciousness: The Rhetorical Path of the New Right-Wing Intellectual Movement to the Center of Society
The article demonstrates how new right-wing intellectuals in Germany influence public opinion by introducing certain rhetorical strategies and figures into mainstream public discourse. Based on the analysis of the new right anthology Die selbstbewußte Nation (1994) the article scrutinizes the impact of ideological and rhetorical characteristics in German discussions of national self-conception and of coming to terms with the Holocaust. A key text is the speech of author Martin Walser given during the televised reception of the “Peace Award of the German Book Trade” in 1998. Walser spoke about being oversaturated by media presentations of the Holocaust and German guilt. He gained standing ovations in the Frankfurt Paulskirche, in the media and among the extreme right, leaving the representative of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Ignatz Bubis, almost alone in his criticism. Walser introduced new-right patterns into the German elite and mainstream discourse about national responsibility. The article emphasizes the meaning of gender in appealing to self-images of a self-confident and powerful nation.