Political Loyalty and Public Service in West Germany: The 1972 Decree against Radicals and Its Consequences

Political Loyalty and Public Service in West Germany: The 1972 Decree against Radicals and Its Consequences

Political Loyalty and Public Service in West Germany: The 1972 Decree against Radicals and Its Consequences

Political Loyalty and Public Service in West Germany: The 1972 Decree against Radicals and Its Consequences

Synopsis

In the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, few government actions have created controversy as emotional, polemical, and long lasting as the Ministerial Decree of 1972 concerning radicals employed in public service. Aimed primarily at Communists, the decree prohibited from civil service posts anyone whose loyalty to the State was in serious question. Enactment of the measure led to a massive loyalty check of three and a half million individuals, the rejection of 2250 applicants for political reasons, disciplinary proceedings against 2000 public servants, and dismissal of 256. It also spawned international protests and legal actions that continue even today.
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