At the very least, the vote has forced many Germans to realize that their country, despite its past, is not immune to the tug of nationalism and populism that has challenged liberal democracies across Europe and in the United States.
Many Germans bridled at the thought. Within minutes of the election results, German-speaking social media responded with a campaign promoting the 87 percent who did not elect the far-right.
Some noted the comparison with the United States, where a right-wing populist, Donald J. Trump, won the election, or France, where the far right made it to the final round of presidential voting this year.
Compared with many of its European neighbors, Germanyâs far-right force remains a minority. But an analysis of the returns also shows that in all but one of 299 polling districts the AfD earned at least 5 percent, reflecting widespread, if not necessarily deep, support.
That revelation is a sobering reality for those Germans who believed that liberal democracy was an unshakable moral compass for their modern, reunified country.
âNow I have the impression there is no longer any consensus anymore,â Ms. Schindler said.
Germanyâs president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has warned against allowing the vote to drive a wedge in society, insisting that now is not the time for anyone âto retreat to…