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By Gerard Braunthal

The new upheavals within the communist bloc replicate a craving between its voters for extra democratization and civil liberties. looking types to emulate, many activists glance towards the Western democratic states. The Federal Republic of Germany is one such version, but its list on civil liberties is a combined one, as Gerard Braunthal's incisive examine shows.

In the historical past of the Federal Republic of Germany, few govt activities have created controversy as emotional, polemical, and durable because the Ministerial Decree of 1972 relating "radicals" hired in public carrier. Aimed basically at Communists, the decree prohibited from civil provider posts an individual whose loyalty to the country was once in severe query. Enactment of the degree resulted in an incredible loyalty cost of 3.5 million members, the rejection of 2,250 candidates for political purposes, disciplinary lawsuits opposed to 2,000 public servants, and dismissal of 256. It additionally spawned foreign protests and felony activities that proceed even today.

This e-book is the 1st accomplished learn of the 1972 decree. it really is in keeping with voluminous German archival resources and on interviews with political leaders, newshounds, academicians, and people who have been at once affected. Braunthal examines the reason and context of the decree, in addition to its effects. even supposing sharply severe of the degree, he has sought to provide a balanced evaluate of its impression, offering the perspectives of either supporters and opponents.

In a bigger experience, the ebook explores a vital query of democratic conception: the place should still the road be drawn among the protection of the country and the safety of person rights?

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Extra resources for Political loyalty and public service in West Germany : the 1972 decree against radicals and its consequences

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25 But in 1972 the political realities had changed. 26 The left radicals, made up of the Jusos (SPD), Young Page 33 Democrats (FDP), and other "radical democrats," contended that the decree was directed against them too, even though they favored a peaceful change of the order.  To prevent the establishment of a police state, a broad solidarity of those affected and potential victims, such as unionists, was necessary. The League of Democratic Academics (Bund demokratischer Wissenschaftler), a DKP­dominated organization of left­radical university professors and professional staff, maintained that the decree furthered ideological repression, narrowed the pluralism of views, and impoverished serious controversial discussions at universities.

There were no known leftists in the Federal Border Guard (Grenzschutz) or in the police forces, which in West Germany are under Länder jurisdiction.  Many left radicals attempted to Page 27 become teachers, but right radicals were more interested in the Bundeswehr and police.  They contributed to nonterrorist radicals' being labeled ''enemies of the state," despite the radical left's denunciation of terrorism.  9 Implicit was the fear of young, nonconformist intellectuals challenging the prevailing political culture, the neocapitalist economic system with its worldwide investments, the military establishment with its alliance to the Western bloc, and the political nonsocialist Establishment.

As in the case of the SPD, the DGB unions did not want to be accused by their opponents, including the conservative media, of being soft on communism. Yet, as will be noted below, in the succeeding years their consensual position began to weaken.  The chief one was the continuing lack of uniformity among the Länder, compounded by the failure of a number of Länder to issue implementing guidelines within one year of the decree's promulgation.  In the SPD­governed city of Munich, for instance, the hiring authorities, objecting to the Bavarian practice of automatically barring members of extremist organizations, refused to ask the CSU­controlled Bavarian Ministry of the Interior and its Verfassungsschutz whether any negative entries were in its files.

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