War and Nationalism: How WW1 Battle Deaths Fueled Civilians' Support for the Nazi Party

Autor(en): De Juan, Alexander 
Haass, Felix
Koos, Carlo
Riaz, Sascha
Tichelbaecker, Thomas
Stichwörter: CASUALTIES; Government & Law; INITIATION; Political Science; RADIO; RISE
Erscheinungsdatum: 2023
Herausgeber: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
Journal: AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW
Zusammenfassung: 
Can wars breed nationalism? We argue that civilians' indirect exposure to war fatalities can trigger psychological processes that increase identification with their nation and ultimately strengthen support for nationalist parties. We test this argument in the context of the rise of the Nazi Party after World War 1 (WW1). To measure localized war exposure, we machine-coded information on 7.5 million German soldiers who were wounded or died in WW1. Our empirical strategy leverages battlefield dynamics that cause plausibly exogenous variation in the county-level casualty fatality rate-the share of dead soldiers among all casualties. We find that throughout the interwar period, electoral support for right-wing nationalist parties, including the Nazi Party, was 2.6 percentage points higher in counties with above-median casualty fatality rates. Consistent with our proposed mechanism, we find that this effect was driven by civilians rather than veterans and areas with a preexisting tradition of collective war commemoration.
ISSN: 0003-0554
DOI: 10.1017/S000305542300014X

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