Militant Democracy and Successors to Authoritarian Ruling Parties in Post-1945 West Germany and Italy

Angela Bourne*, John Veugelers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article contributes to the empirical literature on militant democracy and successor party bans by comparing post-1945 West Germany and Italy. These countries shared a right-authoritarian past but their tolerance of right-authoritarian parties differed. Looking for reasons behind the ban of the Sozialistische Reichspartei Deutschlands and the survival of the Movimento sociale italiano, this study tests five conditions: (1) ambiguity toward – if not open approval of – violence; (2) absence of effective alternatives to proscription; (3) securitization; (4) veto player agreement; (5) veto player incentives. We find that securitization is a necessary condition for proscription, whereas approval of violence is not. While neither the presence of effective alternatives nor veto player incentives relate to ban outcomes in a consistent pattern, veto player support remains crucial. Given the findings from this comparative study, we conclude that successor party bans should not belong to a separate category of militant democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)736-753
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Italy
  • neo-Fascism
  • neo-Nazism
  • party bans
  • militant democracy
  • Germany

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