In This Review

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
By Gerard Braunthal
University of Massachusetts Press, 1990, 249 pp.

A political scientist studies the effect of a highly controversial decree in 1972 by which loyalty to the free democratic order as embodied in Bonn's Basic Law was prescribed for public servants on the Land and federal level. The decree raised an instant debate in the Federal Republic and abroad on the possible infringement of civil liberties. The author, a sharp critic of the decree, reconstructs the atmosphere and the arguments of the time. By 1979 automatic screening was stopped; between 1972 and 1987, some 3.5 million people had been screened and between 1,102 and 2,250 barred. A reasonably impartial inquiry into an important issue, with occasional simplistic formulations. The work has unexpected topicality: how is the unified Germany going to deal with the civil servants of the former G.D.R.-as leniently as some forty years ago servants of the Third Reich were treated?