The Hanau Terrorist Attack: How Race Hate and Conspiracy Theories Are Fueling Global Far-Right Violence

The number of lone-actor attacks committed by far-right extremists have surged in recent years, most notably in the West where mass-casualty attacks have occurred, including the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The fatal attack in February 2020 in Hanau,
Germany, revealed the perpetrator’s influences to be a combination of traditional far-right, race-based, and anti-immigration narratives, alongside several more obscure conspiracy theories. This case demonstrates the need for further research into the intersection of these ideas and the online ecosystems in which they thrive, where notions such as the “Great Replacement” theory, aspects of which were echoed in the Hanau attacker’s own manifesto, are heavily propagated. It is this overarching idea that connects seemingly disparate attacks in a global network of ideologically analogous acts of terror.

Tags: Germany, Great Replacement, lone-actor