German Students Becoming Conservative

At a time of economic disaster one would expect rising anger among European students, but recent surveys reveal that German university students are becoming more politically apathetic and conservative. Unlike their parents of the sixties, they are less involved in politics and more concerned about personal issues. A recent survey of 8,000 students in 25 colleges reveals that just 37% describe themselves as interested in politics compared to the 1983 figure of 54%. Fewer described themselves as left or right wing and tended to cluster in the middle as though the very idea of extremism had no place in their lives. Tino Bargel, who ran the study told Focus magazine, “students have the impression that they cannot influence their professional career nor political decisions.”

German students appear to be overwhelmed by the current economic and political situation and have retreated into themselves or now show signs of seeking to blame others for their problems. About 25% of those surveyed supported the “limitation of immigration” and 17% expressed concern about “excessive foreign influences” in their nation.

Perhaps, one problem is the lack of a charismatic figure who enables youth to identify with something greater than the self. Of course, the last time such a person appeared in Germany his name was Adolf Hitler.