Resurgence of Nazi and fascist principles and doctrines may involve racism (the desire to purify the superior race and the idea of its destiny to rule other inferior cultures), nationalism, anti-communism, militarism or tactics of force and brutality, an appeal to ignorance and fear among the masses, extremist measures, antisemitism, and sentimentality and exaltation of capitalistic imperialistic ethics. The movement feeds on ignorance and prejudice and tends to gain more adherents during a period of economic depression or government inadequacy. It may also take the form of a backlash movement against progressive or socialist groups. It breeds the intolerance and fear, prejudice and conflict that lead to wars and crimes against humanity, as in the past.
Nazism may be distinguished from Neo-nazism as being the continuation of the belief in the doctrines of the Third Reich, the honouring of Adolph Hitler as founder and as the ongoing inspiration to the Nazi adherents, and the addiction to all the paraphernalia of the original Nazism including the swastika emblem, SS armbands with the black lightning design, the singing of the Horst Wiesel, and the belief in the destiny of the fatherland. Such forms of Nazism are to be distinguished from casual uses of Nazi symbols by youth cults as a form of decorative protest.
Nazism originated as a political movement which held power in Germany from 1933 to 1945, the main features of the Nazi programme were the creation of a master race and world domination. The movement combined a popular appeal to the masses vaguely akin to socialism; with an appeal to the aristocracy through nationalistic and racist ideals of domination; an appeal to military circles in the development of an expansionist programme and the use of force both domestically and externally; and an appeal to business circles in the development of a war economy and the suppression of individual trade unions, which were consolidated into one unit incorporating management interests. The regime was highly centralized, authoritarian, totalitarian, and brutally repressive of any opposition or racial and hence general 'impurities'. The sadistic and systematic use of repression reached unprecedented proportions in the extermination of over 20 million political prisoners, including 5 million Jews.
National Socialism has its roots in the Prussian tradition of the great soldier kings (Frederick William I and Frederick II) and statesmen such as Bismarck, who combined militarism with political romanticism and hostility to rationalism. This was reinforced by the 19th century worship of science and the laws of nature which had an 'iron logic' divorced from concepts of good and evil. Pan Germanic movements in the Austrian Empire before 1914, racism, anti-semitism, anti-slavism, anti-catholicism, and the search for a German community prepared the way for Hitler's party. The development of Hitler himself was influenced not only by this environment but, in the years before joining the National Socialist German Workers Party ('Nazi' was the abbreviation) and prior to his 1914 to 1919 Army Service, by the philosophies of Nietsche and Richard Wagner, and by the occult.
Nazism and Neo-nazism exist in Germany and are closely linked phenomenologically with right-wing extremist movements elsewhere, such as in the Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, USA, Belgium, Brazil and South Africa; and with neo-fascist groups in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Similar groups are reported in Russia. The CIA-funded secret army Schwert, part of the anti-communist European network "Operation Stay Behind" had several leaders who were ex-Nazis. Right-wing views have resurged in Germany with the influx of foreigners and asylum seekers. In 1993, German authorities estimated that some 42,000 Germans belonged to 82 right-wing extremist organizations. A number of right-wing parties had been banned during 1993. A 1992 poll of 3,000 Germans found that one in three believed the Nazi era had its good side and that Jews were partly to blame for their persecution. Two French people out of three (in 1992) fell personally concerned by the rise of Germany's extreme right and nearly 75% believed it was dangerous for French Jews.
The Aryan Nation in the US is a large group that adheres to the Christian Identity belief system. The group espouses hatred toward Jews, the federal government, blacks and other minorities. The ultimate goal of the AN is to forcibly take five northwestern states – Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and Montana – from the United States government in order to establish an Aryan homeland. It consists of a headquarters in Hayden Lake, Idaho, and a number of state chapters, which often act as their own entities. Its annual World Congress attracts a number of different factions from the right-wing, including members and leaders of various right-wing groups. The World Congress is often viewed as a sort of round table to discuss right-wing issues. These meetings have led to an increased level of contact between AN members and members and leaders of other groups.
There are a number of white supremacy groups that do not adhere to Christian Identity or other religious doctrines. White supremacy groups such as the National Alliance, the American Nazi Party and the National Socialist White People's Party are largely politically, rather than religiously, motivated. The National Alliance is probably best known for its leader, William Pierce. In 1997, Pierce stated that: "Ultimately we must separate ourselves from the Blacks and other non-whites and keep ourselves separate, no matter what it takes to accomplish this. We must do this not because we hate Blacks, but because we cannot survive if we remain mixed with them. And we cannot survive if we permit the Jews and the traitors among us to remain among us and to repeat their treachery. Eventually we must hunt them down and get rid of them." The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is one of the most recognized white supremacist groups in the United States. Its history is expansive and its actions of cross burnings and rhetoric of hate are well known. The KKK proposes racial segregation that is not generally based on religious ideals. There is currently not a singular KKK group with a hierarchical structure, but many different KKK groups with a common ideology. The KKK attracts the attention of many watchdog groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center which produces a quarterly publication entitled "Klanwatch."