Old Doctoral Thesis Haunts a Top German Minister
BERLIN — How the fortunes of Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Germany’s most popular, eloquent and aristocratic politician have changed.
An erstwhile public idol who has been touted as a possible chancellor, Mr. Guttenberg now is fighting to save his reputation and his political career after accusations by historians that he plagiarized multiple sections of his doctoral dissertation.
The German public takes such charges seriously. It has enormous respect for those with academic titles. Eleven of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 15 cabinet members have doctorates, and she has one herself. “Not only do we have a woman chancellor; she has a doctorate in physics too,” boasted Bild, the mass circulation newspaper.
So when reports came out last week that Mr. Guttenberg, 39, had lifted large sections of other academics’ research for his dissertation, opposition parties pounced on the findings, hoping to puncture his popularity.
“Whatever the outcome of the investigations by the University of Bayreuth, which gave Guttenberg his doctorate, I think Guttenberg has been politically damaged,” said Nils Diederich, political science professor at the Free University in Berlin. “He was put high on a pedestal; all the more reason why his fall may be particularly hard.”
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LOL he is such a tool. Nothing but Schadenfreude right now. German speakers should read this as well, if you haven't yet.