Similar to the “Great Replacement Theory,” the “Kalergi Plan” is a false conspiracy theory that claims there is a plot to wipe out white Europeans.
When Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi outlined his idea for a unified Europe in his book Paneuropa in 1923, the Tokyo-born Austrian politician had no idea that almost a hundred years later his name would be associated with an imaginary plot to wipe out white people through immigration and intermarriage.
Kalergi was a tireless advocate for European unification, and served as president of the Paneuropean Union for almost fifty years. A liberal-conservative, he opposed both communism and racism, hoping that: “today’s races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice.” Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party bitterly attacked Coudenhove-Kalergi, asserting that his vision was a masonic plan to enslave Europe.
Coudenhove-Kalergi left Freemasonry in 1926. Nonetheless, today’s references to “the Kalergi Plan” are common in right-wing websites and speeches. The conservative non-profit group Turning Point USA recently tweeted a photograph of its members encouraging people to educate themselves about the dangers of the Kalergi Plan, and the conspiracy theory is reported as fact in online news sources, such as Slovenia’s Democracija, Germany’s Epoch Times and Austria’s Zur Zeit.
A Twitter search for the hashtag #Kalergi produces thousands of tweets from people warning that “the replacement of indigenous Europeans with ‘diversity’ is the ultimate goal of the ‘globalists’” and that “We caused the population explosion in Africa. Now we are enjoying the consequences. Europe will be African within a century.” The former British National Party leader, Nick Griffin, associated the Kalergi Plan with “Soros-backed leftists” in Czechoslovakia, who were apparently trying to prevent local television stations from reporting the “truth” about Muslim immigration. Most recently, right-wing bloggers have begun associating the “black Jewess” Meghan Markle with the Kalergi Plan.
How did the Kalergi Plan become a major trope of right-wing discourse, when just two decades ago this alleged plan was virtually unknown? The apparent success of this conspiracy theory is as puzzling as it is distressing. It is a remarkable example of how globalized right-wing discourse has become in the last decade and how it openly resorts to tropes and claims originating in Nazi propaganda.
The Origins Of The Kalergi Plan Conspiracy Theory
In November 1940, the Völkischer Beobachter, the infamous official daily paper of the Nazi party, claimed: “Count Coudenhove-Kalergi […] the commercial prophet of Pan-Europe, a dressed-up, nasty mongrel, dreams of a world of Eurasian-Negroid humans, subject to the God-given rule of the Jews.” This claim was based on a distorted reading of his books combined with outright fabrications. Another Nazi newspaper asserted that Coudenhove-Kalergi was supported by “international Jewry and Freemasonry”. Coudenhove-Kalergi was not Jewish, but he did vehemently opposed anti-semitism – as had his father Heinrich, who had written his dissertation on the character of anti-Semitism.
For the Nazis this was proof enough that he was indeed an agent of international Jewry. Further proof was, that – as an opponent of Nazism – Coudenhove-Kalergi had colluded with the fascist Dollfuß-Schuschnigg regime (often termed Austrofascism), arguably the (Austrian) Nazis biggest rival. In 1938, Coudenhove-Kalergi fled Austria and eventually lived in the United States until 1945.
Couvenhove-Kalergi returned to Europe after the war, dying in Austria in 1972. Postwar agitation against Couvenhove-Kalergi was mostly confined to the radical right and neo-Nazi circles, whereas the conservative right hailed him as a prophet of European unity. This changed in the early 2000s. In 2003, Gerd Honsik, a prominent Austrian Holocaust-denier and Neo-Nazi, who had evaded imprisonment in the 1990s by fleeing to Spain, self-published a book about the alleged Kalergi Plan.
The book, written in German, is now out of print. A translation of the book is however available online in Croatian. Honsik might have even coined the term “Kalergi Plan” himself, but the book’s content came straight from Nazi propaganda of the 1930s and 1940s. Although Honsik was a convicted felon on the run, he had remarkable connections to the then-governing Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and other right-wing circles, and promoted his views extensively on the internet and through far-right publications. Honsik’s theories thus infiltrated more mainstream right-wing discourse.
Around 2005, Honsik also published an open letter to the Austrian and German presidents in seven languages, alleging that the United States purposely committed a genocide of 13.2 million Germans after 1945 and had – among a number of strategies – resorted to the “Kalergi Plan”, in order to implement this “genocidal” goal. This letter is still available on international “revisionist” and Holocaust-denial websites in different languages. Honsik’s book was also discussed in 2006 on the American Neo-Nazi internet forum, Stormfront. These are perhaps the earliest examples of how Honsik’s “Kalergi Plan” myth found its way into the American and international radical right.
Meanwhile, in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has popularized his own iteration of the Kalergi Plan myth: the Soros Plan. Over the past few years, Orbán’s regime has attacked the billionaire philanthropist repeatedly. They accuse him of masterminding attacks on the Hungarian nation through “liberal” educational institutions, such as Central European University, and of convincing the European Union to accept refugees.
In 2019, the Hungarian government claimed that Soros was working together with Jean-Claude Junker to “to weaken member states’ rights to protect their own borders”. The eternal return of the Kalergi Plan (and its variants) suggests that – despite unparalleled access to information – our society has still not come very far beyond those which believed the Illuminati were the masterminds behind a new world order, or that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was an accurate record of a Jewish conspiracy for world domination.
Dr Roland Clark is a Senior Fellow at CARR and Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Liverpool. See his profile here.
© Roland Clark and Nikolaus Hagen. Views expressed on this website are individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect that of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). We are pleased to share previously unpublished materials with the community under creative commons license 4.0 (Attribution-NoDerivatives).
This article was originally published at CARR’s media partner, Rantt Media. See the original article here.