New Elites – Established Personnel? (Dis-)Continuities of German Ministries in System Transformations

Summary

The National-Socialist past of the German ministerial bureaucracy is a topic critically discussed. A common concern is that bureaucrats with a National-Socialist background may have been appointed to influential positions in public administration in Germany after World War II. Those said bureaucrats may have undermined both the competence and professional expertise of the ministerial bureaucracy, which would imply problems in terms of democratization, legitimacy and efficiency.

The research project New Elites – Established Personnel? (Dis-)Continuities of German Ministries in System Transformations (Neue Eliten – etabliertes Personal? (Dis-)Kontinuitäten deutscher Ministerien in Systemtransformationen) focuses on recruitment practices, career patterns, politicization, and affiliation with the Nazi regime of the administrative and political elite in national ministries in both East and West Germany from 1949 to 1990. The main research question is how patterns of elite recruitment and promotion have (not) changed after transformations in the political system of both German states. Within the project, methods of data collection and theoretical concepts stemming from contemporary historical research are combined with theoretical approaches and methods of data analysis from political sciences and public administration. Analyses are based on biographies, official statements and material from archives as well as on pre-existent datasets. Those sources are analysed focusing on socio-demographic attributes, professional careers, and party affiliations of senior civil servants and ministers in Germany in the time period 1913-1990.

The research project is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of a research program to examine vestiges of the Nazi period in ministries and agencies after World War II.

Conference Presentations

  • Strobel, B. and Veit, S., Safeguarding bureaucratic responsibility: What can we learn from historical examples? Presentation at the Workshop “Democratic Backsliding and Public Administration”, Florence (Italy), 01-02 February 2019.
  • Veit, S., Scholz, S. and Strobel, B., Neue Eliten – etabliertes Personal? (Dis-) Kontinuitäten deutscher Ministerien in Systemtransformationen. Presentation at the 17th Meeting of the Arbeitskreis Hessische Zeitgeschichte, Frankfurt a.M., 07 December 2018.
  • Scholz, S. and Manschwetus, A., Systembezüge in Sozialprofilen von DDR-Eliten. Presentation at the workshop „Es ist nicht alles gesagt. Ein Workshop zur DDR-Forschung“, Berlin, 31 November - 01 December 2018.
  • Scholz, S., and Strobel, B., Sozialprofile politischer und administrativer Eliten in deutschen Bundesministerien. Presentation at the Workshop „Netzwerke und NS-Belastung zentraler deutscher Behörden“, Tübingen, 15-16 November 2018.
  • Strobel, B. and Scholz, S., Bedeutung kommunalpolitischer Erfahrung für Spitzenämter in der politischen und administrativen Elite des Bundes. Presentation at the DVPW-Kongress 2018 „Grenzen der Demokratie / Frontiers of Democracy“, Frankfurt a.M., 25-28 September 2018.
  • Scholz, S. and Strobel, B., Professionalisierung vs. Repräsentativität – Eine Analyse der Karrieremuster politischer und administrativer Eliten seit 1949. Presentation at the DVPW-Kongress 2018 „Grenzen der Demokratie / Frontiers of Democracy“, Frankfurt a.M., 25-28 September 2018.
  • Strobel, B. and Scholz, S., From Weimar Republic to Nazi Germany - Elites, Polycracy, and the Decline of Civil Service from 1920 to 1944. Presentation at the 12th ECPR General Conference, Hamburg, 22-25 August 2018.
  • Scholz, S., Migration and Elite Recruitment. Presentation at the 25th World Congress of Political Science, Brisbane (Australia), 21-25 July 2018.
  • Strobel, B. and Scholz, S., The Influence of Social Dynamics on Representation in the Federal Government of Germany. Presentation at the IPPA International Workshop on Public Policy, Pittsburgh (USA), 26-28 June 2018.