Research projects

Head of project: Prof. Dr. Friedrich Kießling / Prof. Dr. Christoph Safferling, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

The challenges for the rule of law and democracy in Germany are increasing. A look back at the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany and the crises of the past 75 years shows that our democracy is more stable than many pessimists would like to admit. Social cohesion during the stormy crises of recent years - financial crisis, refugee crisis, pandemic, Ukraine war - has proven to be resilient. And in a European comparison, it is striking that radical parties can still be kept out of power in Germany. But the challenges are great and only through decisive political action, through a reform of the constitutional state, Germany can remain what it is: a liberal democracy.

The book on this project "Der Streitfall: Wie die Demokratie nach Deutschland kam und wie wir sie neu beleben müssen" will be published by dtv Verlag in March 2024. (Publication from the publisher)

Head of project: Prof. Dr. Friedrich Kießling (research assistant: Yvonne Blomann, M.Ed.) / Prof. Dr. Christoph Safferling, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office was the first in the federal justice system to commission a research study on its past in the early decades of the Federal Republic. The interdisciplinary study was conducted by the historian Professor Dr. Friedrich Kießling (Chair of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Bonn) and Professor Dr. Christoph Safferling (Chair of Criminal Law, International Criminal Law and International Law at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg) and their teams. Together, the researchers analysed the beginnings of the Federal Public Prosecutor and his department after the Second World War until 1974. Among other things, they clarified how the Federal Public Prosecutor dealt with the personal and political pasts resulting from the “Third Reich”. The main question was how many employees incriminated by National Socialism worked in which positions in the early days of the office and what influence, if any, this had on the work of the department. To this end, the Federal Public Prosecutor provided full access to the personnel files of those employed at the office in the first two decades, including those of Wolfgang Fränkel, who was removed from his office in 1962 only three months after his appointment as Federal Public Prosecutor because of his work at the Office of the Chief Reich Prosecutor during the nazi period and his involvement in death sentences.

In addition, the role of the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in important lawsuits, from the early trials against communists as well as federal German right-wing radicalism to the Spiegel affair of 1962, and the first proceedings against the RAF, was examined scientifically for the first time. The results were published by "dtv Verlag" at the end of 2021 under the title "Staatsschutz im Kalten Krieg". (Publication from the publisher)

Head of project: Prof. Dr. Kießling in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Brummer, Chair of International Relations, University of Eichstätt

The starting point of the project was the consideration—equally important for political science and history—that a country's foreign relations are not only determined by material quantities like population size, economic power, perhaps also geography, and also not only by classical calculations of power and interests, whether they are determined by foreign or domestic policy, but that another factor is important to be considered, namely socially formed constructions of meaning. In this way, the question of ideas about what position one's own country has or should have in the international system becomes important. The conference that was conducted at the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt on the 4th and 5th of May 2018 took up such considerations from political science and history and asked which internatioal role conceptions can be grasped historically for the Federal Republic, how they have changed—and thus possibly "normalised“—and what significance they have for today's view of the Federal German position in the international relations. In this process, an attempt was made to bring historical and political science considerations into a more interdisciplinary discussion. (Publication from the publisher)

Head of project: Prof. Dr. Kießling (research assistant i.a.: Christoph Teubner)

In its research, the independent Historical Commission focused on the history of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the context of 20th century German history. In particular, the following aspects were considered: The re-establishment of the Ministry in 1949; the history of its predecessor institutions; the question of continuity or discontinuity in terms of employees and concepts; the attitude towards its predecessor institutions; the role of the associations; the simoultaneous developments in the German Democratic Republic. Professor Kießling's work as a member of the Historical Commission of the Ministry of Agriculture from 2016 to 2020 aimed at researching the re-establishment of the Ministry in 1949 as well as its development during the early years of the Federal Republic until the early 1970s. He was particularly interested in questions of public personnel policy in the post-war period and continuities in the history of ideas, questions of factual and structural continuity and discontinuity in top federal authorities after 1945, and the beginning Europeanisation of agricultural policy in the early Federal Republic. (Publication from the publisher)

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