The borrowings of Freiherr von und zu Googleberg


The German minister of (self) defense (Bundeswehr-Fotos, CC-BY-SA)

Germany’s minister of defense, Karl-Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, is under actual fire: Of course the political opposition has already considered to call for his resignation, although the opposition leaders are relatively quiet. They suppose that the plagiarism case will go on without their help. His liberal minister colleagues refused to comment. The university of Bayreuth gives Dr. ctrl-c two weeks to explain the verbatim ‘borrowings’. According to GuttenPlag Wiki they are more than 80, from 15 different authors.


GuttenPlag Wiki brought forward a list of arguments whether zu Guttenberg could have used the services of a ghostwriter. The main argument is the enormously stupid way parts of other works were taken over, even the first sentences of the introduction (!) – which is starting with the American state dictum E pluribus unum (sounds like an ironic hint how the thesis was written).  The true author of the lines is Professor Barbara Zehnpfennig writing for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Freiherr von Copy zu Paste on Friday declared that he made ‘mistakes’ and that he will ‘temporarily’ not use his PhD degree until the university delivers judgement. He refused to resign as minister and repeated that the thesis was written by nobody else but him. The allegations are particularly unpleasant for zu Guttenberg now because he recently suspendend the Gorch Fock commander from office not waiting for the final conclusions of a commission of inquiry.

Some reactions:

Frankfurter Rundschau collected some jokes:

  • Minister of employment Ursula von der Leyen wants no longer to sit next to zu Guttenberg in the cabinet because he cribs all the time.
  • Question in the ministry of defense: ‘Where is the photocopier?’ Answer: ‘Oh sorry, the minister is in Afghanistan at the moment.’

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, one of zu Guttenberg’s victims, is cool enough to advertise now with the ‘summa cum laude’ of the university of Bayreuth. The university itself may no longer want to use zu Guttenberg’s testimony in a video clip. Zu Guttenberg answers two questions to young people: What to study? Law, ‘it pays off’. And where? No question, in Bayreuth of course.


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