Updated July 25 with additional details
Investigations are underway after an arms cache was found inside a man’s home outside of Berlin.
The discovery comes just a day after a similar discovery was made at a home in New York City.
Members of the German terror watch group “Prosecution,” in a tweet early Tuesday morning, reported the discovery of an arms cache, including “anti-aircraft rockets, a machine gun, 300 rounds of 9mm ammo and a German army automatic carbine weapon.”
Investigators are said to be looking into the man as a suspected neo-Nazi, and it is not yet clear if the trove came from a crime.
The gun and some of the equipment would have a lot of value in the world of law enforcement. Some were found in a shed along with some of the weapons and his AR-15-style rifle. He is said to have been arrested by German police after an attempt to flee when they raided his home.
The arms story isn’t all that’s shocking about it, however. It is worth noting just how rampant far-right extremism has become over the past several years in Western Europe, and in the early 21st century in Europe as a whole.
Given that, what this man’s found house represents is massive volumes of weaponry, probably not just for the killing of individuals, but for bringing about total destruction of an entire state.
It’s hard to look at the far-right noise about being persecuted in Europe, and then imagine that these guys are running out of bullets.
Last month, in Hungary, police arrested a man and woman on charges of stockpiling 200,000 bullets for their near-complete arsenal. And a few weeks before that, in Finland, a man with a neo-Nazi motorcycle gang was charged with collecting “mass quantities of ammunition, grenades, bombs and others explosive material,” according to a report in the Washington Post.
These are all parts of a larger story.
Far-right extremism has clearly been on the rise in Europe since the right-wing extremism in Russia’s 1990s led to mass violence. In France, we’ve seen such events as the 2005 riots in cities like Paris and protests like the ones in Charlottesville.
The rise of far-right extremism in Western Europe has been well chronicled by people like writer Juan Cole, but a cursory look at numbers and data shows just how widespread it has become.
In some European nations, the far-right has gotten as high as 10 percent or more of the electorate in the recent past. This has been the norm.
When you consider that the far-right has historically been a fringe political movement, with poor support, now far higher, the implications are clear. We are right back in the days of anti-communist communism and anti-semitism in Europe.
When America saw the rise of the far-right, it was often driven by a rise in patriotic fervor. Right-wingers often felt marginalized and misunderstood in an increasingly secular, urban culture. This was a core part of the ideology of the white supremacy movements, and their desire to paint themselves as the defender of good against evil caused them to feel justified in violence against those they saw as hurting and hiding their country.
The events in Charlottesville of 2017 may well mark an end to a mythological past when far-right extremists were feared, suppressed, or simply ignored.
One shouldn’t mourn this far-right violence as such.
Rather, Americans should remember just how far-reaching it has become.