Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Timothy Schaitberger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Christopher Toulouse, Ph.D.


Far-right politics in Europe did not die with Adolf Hitler in 1945. In the early 21st century, populist parties had a somewhat quiet existence beneath Europe’s political surface and did not find much success in elections. However, as refugees and asylum seekers fled the Syrian Civil War and North Africa beginning in 2015, and as Eastern and Central Europeans flocked to the UK, European far-right parties found themselves with a new opportunity to mobilize support. Now in 2020, far-right parties have become legitimate contenders in both national parliaments and the European Parliament. The migrant crisis is perhaps one of the most significant factors allowing for the rise of the far-right in Europe. The migrant crisis provided an opening for far-right populist parties to attract supporters by nursing growing xenophobic feelings and making people believe that they genuinely do need to save their country from invasion. The Lega, Alternative for Germany, and UK Independence Party are three strong examples of this phenomenon as they have heavily used shocking anti-immigrant rhetoric to attract voters. By analyzing election trends, government responses to migrants, and the parties’ use of anti-immigrant rhetoric in campaigns, this paper seeks to examine how far-right populist parties in Italy, Germany, and the UK successfully used anti-immigrant rhetoric based on the 2015 European migrant crisis and the influx of Eastern and Central European migrants to the UK to find electoral success in the twenty-first century.