Radical Decree

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Radical Decree (originally: Radical Decree) is a political battle term for the decision of the federal and state governments to check applicants for the public service for their loyalty to the constitution of January 28, 1972, also known as the decision for extremists .

The aim of the decree was to prevent so-called enemies of the constitution from being employed in the public service . The instrument was a nationwide uniform interpretation and application of § 35 BRRG , which was in force at the time, according to which civil servants had to commit themselves to the free democratic basic order in the sense of the Basic Law through their entire behavior and had to stand up for its preservation. Each individual case had to be examined and decided on for itself. As a result, a regular inquiry was made to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution before hiring, but also to review existing employment relationships. An applicant who is anti- constitutionaldeveloped activities was not discontinued or could be removed from service. The same principles applied to workers and employees in the public sector in accordance with the respective collective agreement provisions.

The decree affected not only members of parties, but also people who were not part of a party. It was unilaterally terminated in 1979 by the governing coalition of SPD and FDP : there was no longer political unanimity about the decree. A judgment by the Federal Constitutional Court in 1975 had not brought any clarity either. Since then, the state governments have gone their own way. The practice was also rejected abroad and especially in France and regarded as a "German special way". Opponents of the Radical Decree spoke critically of “occupational bans” in the political discourse because those affected were able to practice their learned professions as teachers, postal workers or railway workers mainly in the public service. Even if those affected were allowed to continue to practice their profession as such, the consequences could be similar to those of a professional ban. In some professions all or almost all jobs were in the public sector. This was especially true for teachers, since schools were almost always municipal and rarely private, as well as for postal workers and railway workers. At that time, the Bundesbahn and Bundespost were still state-owned companies.

From 1972 until the rule request was finally abolished in 1985, most recently in Bavaria in 1991 , a total of 3.5 million people were checked nationwide. Of these, 1,250 teachers and university professors, most of whom were rated as left-wing extremists, were not hired, and around 260 people were dismissed. Those affected by the radical decree are demanding compensation and full rehabilitation. In 2016, Lower Saxony was the first federal state to set up a commission "to deal with the fates of people affected by Lower Saxony's occupational bans and the possibilities for their political and social rehabilitation".


As early as the 1950s and 1960s, applicants for public service in the Federal Republic were rejected because of doubts about their commitment to the free democratic basic order due to the Adenauer Decree with reference to regulations in the Civil Service Act . At the end of the 1960s, political and social developments were characterized by increasing political polarization in connection with the extra-parliamentary opposition .

The grand coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD “allowed the founding of the German Communist Party (DKP) in 1968, when the right-wing extremist NPD sat in some state parliaments. […] Rather, they feared the activities of the SDS , which finally broke up in 1970 into a DKP-friendly and a Maoist part.”

The social-liberal coalition that followed in 1969 focused on a new Ostpolitik that put the opposition on the defensive in foreign policy. In order to put pressure on the new government, the CDU and CSU - referring to Rudi Dutschke 's words about the " long march through the institutions " - invoked the danger of "infiltration" by "extremists in the public sector". The SPD then considered it necessary "to document that foreign policy Realpolitik, i. That is, understanding with the East is by no means identical with a better internal relationship with the Communists.” After the Moscow Treaty was signed (November 14, 1970), the SPD passed a decision to demarcate any cooperation with Communists, which also served as a signal intended for the public and as a clarification to the Christian Democrats.

The first new radical decree after the Adenauer decree , which continued to apply, was issued in Hamburg, which was governed by the social-liberal government, where the SPD leadership also feared that their own party would be infiltrated. Since some federal states were planning something similar, it was also necessary to prevent fragmentation of civil service law and to create uniform constitutional standards. The principle of defensive democracy was used to justify this. North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Heinz Kühn ( SPD ) said: " Ulrike Meinhof as a teacher or Andreas Baader employed by the police, that's not possible."

In January 1972, the resolution that applied uniformly to the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin and was later called the "Radical Decree" was passed.


The following principles were decided:

  1. According to the federal and state civil service laws, only those who guarantee that they will stand up for the free democratic basic order within the meaning of the Basic Law may be appointed to the civil service ; Civil servants are obliged to work actively both inside and outside of the service to maintain this basic order. These are mandatory regulations.
  2. Each individual case must be examined and decided on for itself. The following principles are to be assumed:
    1. applicant
      1. An applicant who develops anti-constitutional activities will not be employed in the civil service.
      2. If an applicant belongs to an organization that pursues anti-constitutional goals, this membership justifies doubts as to whether he will always stand up for the free and democratic basic order. These doubts usually justify a rejection of the employment application.
    2. Civil servants If a civil servant
      does not meet the requirements of Section 35 of the Civil Service Framework Act through actions or because of his membership in an organization with anti-constitutional objectives , on the basis of which he is obliged to commit to the free and democratic basic order within the meaning of the Basic Law and to its preservation through his entire behavior occur, the employer must draw the necessary conclusions based on the facts ascertained in each case and, in particular, check whether the removal of the civil servant from the service should be sought.
  3. The same principles apply to workers and employees in the public sector in accordance with the respective collective agreement provisions.


The jurisprudence on the Radical Decree is based on the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court , which only considers employment to be justifiable if the applicant “fulfills a legal requirement for entry into [fulfilled] the civil service status, [namely] that the applicant offers the guarantee of standing up for the free democratic basic order at any time".

On September 26, 1995, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the teacher Dorothea Vogt, who was dismissed from public service and later reinstated because of her membership in the DKP , violated Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (law on freedom of expression and assembly ) and ordered the Federal Republic to pay damages. However, the judgment expressly referred only to civil servants who had already been employed and not to applicants for the public service. In three minority votes, some ECtHR judges justified the radical decree, e.g. with the East/West confrontation .

application practice

CDU wall newspaper against the SPD states moving away from the radical decree

In the early days of the radical decree, a standard request was made to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution when someone applied for a position in the public service. Answers presuppose an unnoticed intelligence observation of suspects by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and/or, in the case of conscripts and other members of the Bundeswehr, by the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD). According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior , from January 1, 1973 to June 30, 1975 alone, a period that experts regard as particularly intensive, there were 450,000 inquiries to the intelligence services. In 5,700 cases, this resulted in so-called "findings" and 328 rejections. By contrast, the non-governmental organization “Away with the professional bans” identified 1,250 refusals of employment and 2,100 disciplinary proceedings as well as 256 dismissals from the service for the period from 1972 onwards.

There were many reasons why applicants for the civil service were suspected of being unconstitutional. In practice, the radical decree primarily affected civil servants, including candidates , employees and public sector workers from the left spectrum . Sometimes it was enough to be active in an organization in which communists were also active or which worked together with communists. These included, for example, the social-democratic Socialist University Association (SHB), the Association of Persecuted Persons of the Nazi Regime - Association of Anti-Fascists (VVN/BdA), the German Peace Society - United War Service Opponents (DFG-VK) or the Association of Democratic Lawyers (VDJ) .

As with the Adenauer decree, it was said that refusals to hire and dismissals were directed against radicals from the left and right, but in fact they affected "almost exclusively" (Friedbert Mühldorfer) communists from the various parties, but above all the DKP, and other leftists. In doing so, they stood in the tradition of the “ Adenauer Decree ” of 1950. In Bavaria, for example, between 1973 and 1980 102 applicants from the left spectrum were rejected, while only 2 from the right spectrum.

"Professional bans" were spoken of in everyday discourse because those affected could only have practiced their learned professions as teachers, postal workers or railway workers in the public service, to which they were not admitted. The political, administrative and judicial supporters of the Radical Decree opposed the use of the word “occupational ban” because – as the Federal Constitutional Court put it in a judgment – ​​it was “a catchphrase and emotive word” that “only arouses political emotions”. should.


Criticism from politics, law and society

“For the SPD and FDP leadership, the decision initially had the function of providing political security for the ratification of the Eastern treaties [...], but] Herbert Wehner [SPD] saw 'snooping around' as early as 1972 and the desired 'protection' of the free basic order first step towards eliminating them.” Peter Merseburger:

“The radical decree, which Brandt as flank protection against the Popular Front attacks by the right , because it costs him credibility with the younger generation. It is fatal when he, who wants to integrate the larger part of the rebellious youth who are not prepared to use violence into the democratic process, puts his signature under the decree that threatens those who think differently with professional repression.”

The French writer Alfred Grosser criticized the unequal treatment of supporters of the Hitler regime who would later have made a career in the Federal Republic.

At the FDP federal party conference in 1976 , the federal executive (against the resistance of the party left, who wanted to completely abolish the radical decree) was only able to assert that the demonstrable fighting against the core of the free democratic basic order should be an obstacle to a takeover into the public service.

National and international organizations and institutions such as the International Labor Organization and the European Court of Human Rights saw the professional bans as a violation of international law and a violation of the right to freedom of expression and association under the European Convention on Human Rights .

criticism from abroad

With his decree, Brandt also encountered resistance in friendly Western European countries and friendly parties. In France in particular, where in 1972 the Socialist Party, the Communist Party and the Radical Left movement had just agreed on a joint program for a future government, it was rejected as undemocratic. François Mitterrand , leader of the French Socialist Party , was a co-founder of the French Committee pour la liberté d'expression et contre les interdictions professiones en RFA in 1976 . Other committees against the restriction of civil rights and freedoms emerged. Celebrities like Jean-Paul Sartre spoke out against the professional bans. "Professional bans" was adopted into French. It was feared that West Germany would fall back into traditional anti-democratic and authoritarian political patterns.

Cases of non-employment or dismissal of public servants due to off-duty political activity for a legal party or organization or because of mere proximity to such a party or organization have hardly been reported from western countries. A case of organized occupational exclusion (but not only in the public service) was in the US during the McCarthy era in the 1950s, when West Germany saw the Adenauer Decree and the KPD ban, which was also a European rarity was, had given.


It was surprising for supporters and practitioners of the radical decree that outrage and resistance were not limited to the immediate professional or organizational environment of those affected, but soon spread to large sections of the population as the number of procedures grew. The excesses of "snooping around attitudes" met with such massive resentment, especially among the young students - who were not personally affected - that this erupted in a spontaneous student protest in Berlin at the end of 1976, which culminated in a walkout called a "professional ban strike".


"At the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) an 'action committee against occupational bans' had already been founded in May 1975, [around which ...] appropriate initiative groups [were formed] in the departments." In the winter semester 1975/76 an initiative committee was founded, “which among other things in November 1975 a demonstration with 10,000 people against the occupational ban was supported.”

Banners at the Berlin University of the Arts , January 1977

“At the Free University, the number of lecturers and professors affected by the professional ban had increased to 24 cases [in the course of 1976]. There were numerous similar cases at the TU and the universities of applied sciences. […] Countless other cases were settled about non-filling of permanent positions or 'dark appointment questions'.”

- The Long March . Special issue on the new student movement. April 1977.

After two cases involving the Germanists at the FU had triggered a strike among the students at the institute, they called a general meeting in the university's main auditorium shortly afterwards, which was completely overcrowded with 4,000 participants. The assembly called a general strike at the Free University, which quickly spread: 15 of the 21 departments of the Technical University (TU) joined, as did almost all of the city's other universities and technical colleges and the secondary education schools.

The ban strike surprised politicians, the administration of the educational institutions and the public and developed a dynamic that soon gave rise to speculation about a "new student movement". It was remarkable that this new generation of the “unorganized” and “alternatives” broke the dominance of the Maoist K-groups and the GDR-oriented student associations internally, but nevertheless showed solidarity with correspondingly minded lecturers.

Demonstration against occupational bans on January 28, 1977 in Berlin

The danger emanating from these measures for the state and society itself was identified by FU President Eberhard Lämmert when he explained to the Academic Senate of the FU that "understandable political commitment during your studies can lead to serious disadvantages when choosing a career." not only politically opposed students felt threatened, but the vast majority became aware of the vague danger of the measure.

The strike was successful, i. H. the suspension of the German language and literature lecturers was withdrawn, and due to the students' intensive public relations work, the verification measures increasingly attracted the attention of the media. The escalating practice of "gathering information" and escalating suspicions was also increasingly restricted by court decisions on individual cases. There were trade union solidarity addresses with the student body from GEW , HBV and ÖTV - organizations that now also brought cases to light in their areas.

Public (personalities, media, church)

An outstanding exponent of the resistance against the occupational bans, whose personal integrity was not questioned by anyone, was the professor of Protestant theology in Bonn and at the Free University of Berlin, Helmut Gollwitzer .

cultural area

At the "Festival of Young Filmmakers" in 1975 organized by the Federal Working Group of German Youth Film Clubs (BAG) in Werl/Westphalia, the short film The Visit , about an early-morning search of a private apartment, took first place.

Cancellation of the decree and processing

A total of 1.4 million people were checked nationwide before the rule request was abolished. Approximately 1,100 of them were denied entry into or remaining in public service. A total of 11,000 procedures were initiated. There were 2,200 disciplinary proceedings and 136 dismissals for teachers alone.

On June 25, 1985, Saarland was the first federal state to formally repeal the radical decree. Other federal states followed or replaced the decree with state-specific successor regulations. In 1991, the Free State of Bavaria was the last federal state to discontinue the rule request.

In most countries, a so-called requirement request is made to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution if there are doubts as to whether the applicant will stand up for the free and democratic basic order at all times. This is rarely the case and even more rarely leads to consequences. In Bavaria, since 1991, according to the announcement by the Bavarian state government on the obligation to comply with the constitution in the public sector, every applicant has to fill out a questionnaire, including explain whether he is or was a member of an "extremist or extremist influenced" organization, which includes Al-Qaeda , Scientology , but also Die Linke , Die Republikaner and the NPD , or was an employee of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR .

Those affected are demanding compensation and full rehabilitation. In 2016, Lower Saxony was the first state in the Federal Republic to decide to set up a commission "to deal with the fates of people affected by Lower Saxony's occupational bans and the possibilities for their political and social rehabilitation". The state parliament decision was justified, among other things, with the statement that the "professional bans" were "an inglorious chapter in the history of Lower Saxony".

There has been a research project at the University of Heidelberg since 2018 that scientifically examines the practical application of the Radical Decree for Baden-Württemberg .

See also


  • Alexandra Jaeger: In Search of "Enemies of the Constitution". The Radical Resolution in Hamburg 1971-1987 . Wallstein, Goettingen 2019.
  • Heinz-Jung-Foundation (ed.): Who is the enemy of the constitution here? Radical decree, professional bans and what is left of them. PapyRossa, Cologne, 2019, ISBN 978-3-89438-720-4 .
  • Cornelia Booß-Ziegling, Hubert Brieden, Rolf Günther, Bernd Lowin, Joachim Sohns, Matthias Wietz: "Forgotten" history. professional bans. Political persecution in the Federal Republic of Germany. Accompanying booklet pdf. An exhibition by the Lower Saxony initiative against occupational bans, Hanover 2015.
  • Christoph Gunkel: The enemy in the classroom. In: Der Spiegel, 3/2012.
  • Friedrich Konrad : The case of F. Konrad - how one wanted to withdraw the official status of a DKP member. Verlag Peter Engstler, Nuremberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-941126-18-3 .
  • Dominik Rigoll : State security in West Germany. From denazification to fighting extremists. (= Contributions to the history of the 20th century. Edited by Norbert Frei . Vol. 13). Wallstein, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-8353-1076-6 (plus dissertation, Freie Universität Berlin, 2010).
  • Manfred Histor: Willy Brandt's forgotten victims, history and statistics of the politically motivated professional bans in West Germany 1971-1988 . 2nd ext. edition. Ahriman Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau 1999, ISBN 3-922774-07-5 .
  • Gerard Braunthal: Political loyalty and public service: the Radical Decree of 1972 and its aftermath. Schüren Presseverlag, Marburg 1992, ISBN 3-89472-062-X .
  • Wulf Schönbohm : Enemies of the Constitution as Officials? The controversy over militant democracy. Munich 1979, ISBN 978-3-7892-7147-2 .
  • Jury, Advisory Board and Secretariat of the 3rd International Russell Tribunal (ed.): 3rd International Russell Tribunal . On the situation of human rights in the Federal Republic of Germany, Volume 2. The final report of the jury on the professional bans . Berlin, 1978, ISBN 3-88022-195-2 .
  • Jens A. Brückner: The handbook of occupational bans. Legal Primer on Profession Ban Practice . Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlin 1977, ISBN 3-87584-061-5 .
  • Peter Frisch : extremist decision. On the question of employing extremists in the public service with basic explanations, a catalog of arguments, a description of extremist groups and a collection of relevant regulations, judgments and statements. 2nd edition, Heggen Verlag, Leverkusen 1976, ISBN 3-920430-61-1 .
  • Action Committee against Profession Bans (ed.): Documents (I-IV). Review of the political duty of allegiance - professional ban. Berlin, 1975-1976.
  • Wolfgang Bittner : Hostility to the Constitution at disposal. In: Manfred Funke (ed.): Extremism in the democratic constitutional state. Selected texts and materials on the current discussion. (= Publication series of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Issue 122). Droste, Düsseldorf 1978, ISBN 3-7700-0470-1 .
  • Andreas Dress, Mechtild Jansen , Ingrid Kurz, Aart Pabst, Uwe Post, Erich Roßmann (eds.): We enemies of the constitution. Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag, Cologne 1977, ISBN 3-7609-0313-4 .
  • Horst Bethge, Erich Roßmann (ed.): The fight against the professional ban. Documentation of the cases and the resistance. Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag, Cologne 1973, ISBN 3-7609-0103-4 .

web links

Commons : Radical Decree  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Ministerialblatt for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia of February 29, 1972, p. 342 facsimile, 1000dokumente.de
  2. a b c d Friedbert Mühldorfer: Radical Decree HLB , June 16, 2014
  3. BGBl. 1957, 667
  4. a b c WDR.de: Deadline May 19, 2006 - 30 years ago: New guidelines for the radical decree - occupational ban for left-wing sentiments.
  5. Arnulf Baring : Change of power. Die Era Brandt-Scheel, Stuttgart 1982, p. 73f. Quoted from: Dietrich Thränhardt : History of the Federal Republic of Germany 1949–1990 . Volume 12, edition suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1996, p. 205.
  6. Dietrich Tranhardt: History of the Federal Republic of Germany 1949-1990 . edition suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1996, p. 205f.
  7. The difficult road to democracy , on deutschlandfunkkultur.de
  8. Ministerialblatt for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia of February 29, 1972, p. 342 facsimile, 1000dokumente.de
  9. BVerfG, decision of May 22, 1975, Az. 2 BvL 13/73, BVerfGE 39, 334 - extremist decision.
  10. Ref.: 7/1994/454/535
  11. Fundamental rights and protection of the constitution. Wiesbaden 2011, p. 123.
  12. See: Hans-Gerd Jaschke : Militant democracy and internal security. Principles, practice and criticism. Opladen 1991, p. 164. There further figures on the individual countries.
  13. Federal Constitutional Court, decision of May 22, 1975 − 2 BvL 13/73, para. 113, online at openJur
  14. Otto Köhler : Profession ban. No pardon will be given. How Lower Saxony's judiciary removed a teacher from teaching. In: Die Zeit, November 24, 1989.
  15. Thränhardt: History of the Federal Republic of Germany , p. 206.
  16. Peter Merseburger : Willy Brandt. Visionary and Realist . Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt DVA, Stuttgart/Munich 2002, ISBN 3-421-05328-6 , p. 634. See also: Forward.de: Reinhard Wilke: From the "frog perspective". ( September 9, 2011 memento at Internet Archive ) December 7, 2005.
  17. Gerhard Stuby: The recommendations of the ILO investigative committee on the practice of occupational bans. Oldenburg 1988;
  18. Lucie Filipová: Fulfilled hope. Town twinning as an instrument of Franco-German reconciliation 1950–2000. Goettingen 2015, p. 192.
  19. Dirk Petter: On the way to normality. Conflict and understanding in Franco-German relations in the 1970s. Munich 2014, p. 223f.;
    Dominik Rigoll : "Mr. Mitterrand doesn't understand that." "Rule of law" and "German special path" in the Franco-German disputes about the radical decision of 1975/76. In: Detlef Georgia Schulze, Sabine Berghahn , Frieder Otto Wolf : Rule of law instead of revolution, juridification instead of democracy? Transdisciplinary Analysis of the German Path to Modernity, Vol. 2, The Legal Consequences. Munster 2010, pp. 812–822.
  20. Carmen Böker: France – Le Kärcher, c'est moi! Berliner Zeitung of January 13, 2010 .
  21. See for example: Wolfgang Abendroth , Helmut Ridder , Otto Schönfeldt : KPD ban or living with communists? Reinbek 1968, p. 54.
  22. The Long March . newspaper for a new left. Berlin, April 1977, p. 4.
  23. Der Tagesspiegel , January 7, 1977.
  24. ^ See Uwe Wesel 's obituary : A German scholar without misery . FU-Info (FU:N), November 10, 1993, p. 10.
  25. Roland Seim: Between media freedom and censorship interventions - A media and legal sociological investigation of censorship measures of influence on German popular culture. Diss. Munster, Munster 1997, p. 205.
  26. Bek. of the state government regarding the obligation to comply with the constitution in the public service (constitutional loyalty - VerftöD). (PDF; 111 kB)
  27. Directory of extremist organizations or organizations influenced by extremism (PDF; 393 kB), on www.justiz.bayern.de
  28. Süddeutsche Zeitung of January 28, 2012: 40 years after the adoption of the Radical Decree
  29. Statement of the DGB and the member trade unions: Radical decree - an inglorious chapter in the history of Lower Saxony - finally set up a commission to deal with the fates of the persons affected by professional bans , DGB district Lower Saxony - Bremen - Saxony-Anhalt, 09/2014
  30. Printed matter 17/7150 , Lower Saxony state parliament , December 15, 2016
  31. The "Radical Decree" in Baden-Württemberg , on radicalenerlassbawuede.com