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Post-Truth Germany

The Chemnitz Attacks and the Crisis of German Democracy

Far-right protestors in the German city of Chemnitz, September 2018. Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters

And if it never happened? Then, of course, nobody is to blame. There is no responsibility, and there are no consequences. The end of a common understanding of what happened is in many ways the end of politics, because to define problems and work on solutions requires common ground. Germany, like the United States, has entered this post-truth hall of mirrors. The stakes are particularly high, because a violent far right is rising, in a country still troubled by its racist and murderous past. The embrace of a discourse of “alternative facts” signals that Germany has moved far from the role it played during the early days of the refugee crisis, as the exception to the rule of resentment.

How did we get here? At the end of August, following the alleged murder of a German citizen by two refugees, a right-wing mob of several thousand people took to the

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