Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Project Guttenberg III: The Minister Resigns

“I have reached the limits of my strength.”

With these words, Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg ended the statement this morning in which he declared his resignation as German Defence Minister.

Over the past few days the criticism of him, particularly from the academic community, had grown steadily. Over the weekend, the number of Christian Democrat party colleagues who were prepared to publicly question whether his questionable conduct in plagiarising large parts of his doctoral thesis made the retention of his position within Chancellor Merkel’s cabinet possible increased.

The pressure was finally too great.

It remains to be seen how Merkel will “spin” this, particularly given her public support for zu Guttenberg up to now. In particular, a comment by the chancellor last week in which she said that she “had appointed zu Guttenberg as a minister and not as a research assistant,” had provoked much criticism. Many had pointed out that it was the same person who had cheated in his doctorate and was now commander or the Bundeswehr – Merkel’s distinction was “schizophrenic.”

The academics were perhaps somewhat slow in going public on this but, perhaps, this was only to be expected; the learned often need more time than others.

See my earlier posts on the subject.


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