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February 25, 2011



"...the continued fascination in Germany with the aristocracy?"
Are you still pushing that? It is still not true and never will be.


I saw this first hand when I was involved in the integration of Bankhaus Merck Finck into Barclays in the early 1990s. Everyone there was a "Prinz zu" or "Freiherr von". We even had a "von Ribbentrop".


Is the political climate in Germany that bad already? The savage irony of Palin’s brand of anti-elitism is that it exists almost entirely because of support from none other than well, the elites. Newscorp, Koch Industries, etc. It’s hard to imagine a greater political farce.

Graf Sturmhart Theodor Albert Otto  Siegfried Pierre Uwe von der Kotzen-Kacken

The Bundeswehr also has special units reserved for aristocrats, it's the so called Front Intelligence, which interrogates prisoners of war - enemy generals won't talk to minor ranks.


Guttenberg's mother is now married to the son of Joachim von Ribbentrop (Hitlers foreign minister).

Isn't that funny :-)

Otherwise very interesting collection of information David, I love your investigative nature.

Interesting read on his attitude within his work, especially the way of pursuing political goals via a state of emergency. This directly brings me to the next point:

Guttenberg is too much a promising figure in the political stage-play to be sacrificed now. He is the first in a long time being able to enthrall the masses and move this country forward again.

Youthful and not without mistakes, he is too young, too determined and too economically independent to be become entangled in the current political deadlock.

If he manages to remain in the driving seat, if he continues to be the poster boy of the biggest tabloid and the only admired politician among our military staff..
Ahh, too much wishful thinking I suppose :-)


Zyme -

How has Guttenberg "moved this country forward again"? The man has zero integrity.

If he had just copied one or two paragraphs, that could be excusable. But there were more than 100 instances of plagiarism. As far as I can see, notwithstanding Bild's adulation Guttenberg's political career is finished.


The career could end here I agree.

I certainly hope it doesn't. Not because of his achievements in the past. But because of his charismatic ability to move the masses. This is what it takes to change this sorry excuse of a political elite.

With him at the helm, this country would act far more pragmatically. Cost and use would play an even more crucial rule. And our military would no longer be a sinkhole of billions with nothing out of it in return. Instead, it would become a means of foreign policy again.

The most important attribute that makes him different from all the prominent political figures is that he is a daredevil!

John in Michigan, USA

Plagiarism, if proven by a committee of experts, is certainly reason to end someone's academic career. But, the Defense Ministry is not an academic institution, is it? Is an academic scandal really enough to bring down a sitting Defense Minister? Or is there more to this scandal? How much of this scandal was known or suspected before his appointment?

Separately, I think David is questioning the link to the Palin effect, and if so, I agree with him. It is a big stretch.

Palin's biography and career are the diametric opposites of an aristcrat's. Her style is utterly populist, even when no-one is looking. The US aristocracy of money is divided about her: Kochs support her, Soros, Gates, etc. do not.

More importantly, these moneyed interests where not the most important thing that elevated her to fame, it was Rush Limbaugh, whose fame and fortune is self-generated.

For the record, I do not support Palin for President, indeed, I would vote for Obama vs. her in 2012.

If zu Guttenberg is benefiting from anti-elitism, it is because his former colleagues are now against him. Palin is benefiting from anti-elitism because (until recently?) she was never one of them.


John - in the US this would be the equivalent of lying on your resume - grounds for immediate dismissal in any position.

John in Michigan, USA

David - Actually, being dismissed for lying on your resume in the US depends very much on the profession and circumstances. I could give countless examples, but that's probably off topic.

I understand that Herr Dr. is a very important title, and CV's are taken more seriously in Germany. Are you saying the dissertation itself is part of the CV?

Is academic plagiarism defined as a major crime under German law? If so, don't high officials have a certain immunity in cases like this?

In other words, is this a normal political scandal (which alone could be grounds for removal) or is there a specific legal violation here?


It may not be a crime, but certainly it is politically untenable. Now his "Doktorvater" - dissertation advisor Prof. Häberle - is accusing Guttenberg of "Betrug" - deception.

Merkel's own party is beginning to turn on her for protecting her protege. He is finished.

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