Any scandal is popular with the press, but one involving a high ranking Minister in the German government will always find a place on the front pages. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Defense Minister in the present German government has been accused of plagiarism, the latest in a string of problems which have been laid firmly at his door.
To be fair, the first two incidents probably have little or nothing to do with the man himself, merely with his position in the government and his responsibilities as a Minister. The death of a young Cadet on board the training ship Gorch Fock followed by accusations that private letters from soldiers serving in Afghanistan had been opened, read and, in some cases, removed prior to delivery are cases which fall under his remit but little else. This new accusation, leveled by Professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano from Bremen, is against him personally and concerns a dissertation over government level contracts between the United States and Europe published in 2007. Fischer-Lescano claims that several large sections of text have been copied from other sources without the required source notation; they have been printed as text within the whole as if zu Guttenberg had penned them himself.
Inspired by the accusations, others have now also begun to sift through the four hundred and seventy-five page work and, apparently, their searches have proven fruitful. A long article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, printed in 1997, another from the Neuen Züricher Zeitung am Sonntag. Modern technology and the Internet.
Zu Guttenberg, as one would expect, denies the accusations and justifies possible mistakes: with over one thousand two hundred footnotes it is possible that one or two quotes have not been correctly attributed, or not attributed at all. He is, he claims, more than willing to go through the work once more and make corrections prior to a reprint. For the University of Bayreuth this may not be enough. The collected academic minds plan on sitting down with the work and reconsidering their award of a Doctor title to zu Guttenberg, the loss of which will probably hurt him far more than concerns over the legality of reading soldiers letters or the death of a female Cadet.