German politicians with questionable degrees

German politicians with questionable degreesPolitical activity of a government is able to affect foreign relations of the country and the condition of its internal environment. You might think that such a responsible affair must be entrusted to professional people who know their job, and you would be right.

But sometimes people put into those responsible positions seem inappropriate because one reason or another. Below you will find list of several German politicians whose PhD’s originality was questioned. As you will see, the outcomes of those doubt have been different.

1. Gerd M󠇅üller, the Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development was accused of plagiarism in 2014. The investigation, conducted by the University of Regensburg, didn’t reveal any fact that could lead to the revocation of his degree.

Gerd M󠇅üller

2. In 2013 an anonymous blogger told Die Welt that German politician Normert Lammert’s thesis contained ripped-off information. Three months later the University of Ruhr claimed that the thesis actually had minor quotation mistakes, which was not considered as a sufficient reason to deprive Lammert of his degree.

Normert Lammert’s

3. In 2015 Federal Minister of Defense of Germany Ursula von der Leyen was accused of plagiarism. Her thesis on medicine, written in 1991, was partially not of her authorship. She kept her academic degree despite the scandal that broke out. Apart from this, later the Stanford University was displeased by the fact of her mentioning the university in her resume which she actually visited only once as a listener.

Ursula von der Leyen

4. Former Federal Minister of Defense of Germany Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was accused of plagiarism in 2011. Guttenberg denied any plagiarism, but nevertheless admitted “severe errors in workmanship”. He asked the University of Bayreuth to revoke his title. It was revoked on 23 February 2011 upon announcement of further investigations by the university. Guttenberg resigned on 1 March 2011 as Minister of Defence due to public and political pressure.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

5. Former Federal Minister of Education and Researches of Germany Annette Schavan was deprived of her academic degree in 2013. In 2012 a blogger with a pseudonym Robert Schmidt claimed he had found plagiarism in Schavan’s “Character and conscience — Studies on the conditions, necessities, and demands on the development of conscience in the present day” PhD thesis. The University of Düsseldorf conducted an investigation, which resulted in discovery of over 60 cases of paraphrasing of literature without mentioning the source. The university revoked her degree on 5 February 2013.

Annette Schavan

6. 2001 thesis of the former Member of the European Parliament Silvana Koch-Mehrin, titled ‘Historical Currency Unions between Economy and Politics’, was analysed by VroniPlag Wiki, revealing numerous cases of plagiarism. As a consequence of this, on 11 May 2011 she resigned as chairperson of the FDP in the European Parliament and as vice-president of the European Parliament. She argued that she wanted to end the strain the investigation put on her family.

Silvana Koch-Mehrin

Photo by DW


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