Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
|Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg|
|Minister of Defence|
28 October 2009 – 1 March 2011
|Preceded by||Franz Josef Jung|
|Succeeded by||Thomas de Maizière|
|Minister for Economics and Technology|
10 February 2009 – 27 October 2009
|Preceded by||Michael Glos|
|Succeeded by||Rainer Brüderle|
|Secretary General of the Christian Social Union|
3 November 2008 – 10 February 2009
|Preceded by||Christine Haderthauer|
|Succeeded by||Alexander Dobrindt|
|Member of the Bundestag for Kulmbach|
22 September 2002 – 3 March 2011
|Preceded by||Bernd Protzner|
|Succeeded by||Emmi Zeulner|
5 December 1971 |
Munich, West Germany (now Germany)
|Political party||Christian Social Union|
|Spouse(s)||Stephanie Gräfin von Bismarck-Schönhausen (2000–present)|
|Alma mater||University of Bayreuth|
Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg (born on 5 December 1971) is a German politician of the Christian Social Union (CSU). In 2011 Guttenberg joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as a Distinguished Statesman. He also advises European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes on the promotion of internet freedom regarding questions of foreign affairs.
A Member of Parliament from 2002 until March 2011, Guttenberg briefly held the post of Secretary General of his party before he was appointed as Federal Minister for Economics and Technology in the first Merkel cabinet on 10 February 2009. After taking office as a cabinet minister, he quickly became one of Germany's most popular politicians. From 28 October 2009, Guttenberg served as the Minister of Defence of Germany in the second Merkel cabinet; the discovery and public criticism of plagiarism in his subsequently revoked doctoral thesis led to his resignation as Minister of Defence on 1 March 2011 and from the Bundestag on 3 March, when he was succeeded as Minister of Defence by Thomas de Maizière.
He is the grandson of two well-known politicians. One is Karl Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, a West German CSU politician. His grandfather and a great-great-uncle, Karl Ludwig Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, took part in the resistance to the Nazi regime; the latter was executed after the 20 July plot. Another grandfather is Jakob von und zu Eltz, a Croatian politician of the 1990s. He is married to Stephanie zu Guttenberg, an activist against child abuse and a member of the Bismarck family. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is a descendant of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Aloys II, Prince of Liechtenstein.
- 1 Education and professional background
- 2 Political career
- 2.1 Member of Parliament
- 2.2 Secretary General of the CSU
- 2.3 Federal Minister of Economics
- 2.4 Federal Minister of Defence
- 2.5 Resignation from all political offices
- 2.6 Center for Strategic and International Studies
- 2.7 Advisor to European Commission
- 2.8 NSA scandal
- 3 Business activities
- 4 Family
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Awards
- 7 Ancestry
- 8 References
- 9 Selected publications
- 10 External links
Education and professional background
In 1991, after finishing high school (Gymnasium) in Rosenheim, Guttenberg joined Mountain Infantry brigade 23 (Gebirgsjäger) based in Mittenwald as a conscript. He subsequently left the army as a Reserve Sergeant.
Guttenberg studied law at the University of Bayreuth, where he passed the first legal state examination (said to be the equivalent of a master's degree) in 1999. Guttenberg chose not to pursue the second state examination (the equivalent of a bar exam), and focused on running the Munich-based "Guttenberg GmbH" holding where, along with a few employees, he managed his family’s significant assets and various participations. Due to the holding's low turnover and small number of employees, it was said that Guttenberg had exaggerated his business experience. At the time the Guttenberg GmbH had a capital stock of 1 million Euro and assets of more than a quarter of a billion Euro. These assets include a 26.5 percent share in the Rhön-Klinikum hospital chain, where Guttenberg was a member of the Supervisory board from 1996 to 2002. In 2002, that stake was sold to HypoVereinsbank in a transaction valued at 260 million Euro.
During his university studies he worked as an intern at two law firms—one in Frankfurt, the other in New York. Guttenberg's claim in his CV that these internships were actually "professional experience" (German: "berufliche Stationen") was criticised by German newspapers as a CV exaggeration. Guttenberg later worked for 6 months for the daily Die Welt.
Guttenberg is a member of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) and held different positions within the party, including that of secretary general.
Guttenberg is also a member of (selection)
American Council on Germany
Assembly of the Western European Union (until 2005)
European Council on Foreign Relations
German Council on Foreign Relations
New Academic Forum (German:Neues Akademisches Forum e.V.), Munich: Chairman
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (until 2005)
Member of Parliament
In 2002 Guttenberg was elected to the Bundestag as the representative of Kulmbach. He was reelected in 2005, winning 60.0% of the votes in his constituency. In 2009, he was reelected again with 68.1% of the votes in his district, obtaining the highest percentage of votes of all elected representatives in Germany for that election cycle.
From October 2005 to November 2008 Guttenberg served as chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee and as spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag’s Committee on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. He also chaired the CSU Foreign Policy Expert Committee and the German-British parliamentary group during that time.
In early 2004, Guttenberg introduced the concept of a Privileged Partnership between Turkey and the European Union as a viable alternative to Ankara’s ambitions to join the EU as a regular member into the German political discourse. Germany’s center-right CDU/CSU parties have been champions of this Privileged Partnership approach ever since. Guttenberg based his opposition to full Turkish membership in the EU on the country’s insufficient fulfillment of relevant accession criteria, for example with regard to the Cyprus dispute, as well as a potential overburdening of the EU. At the same time, he continuously stressed the necessity of maintaining good relations with Turkey and was therefore critical of a French initiative to criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Guttenberg also repeatedly warned of the looming threat posed to German and European security by Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. However, he rejected taking rash military action against Iran and instead called for an international diplomatic effort to deal with Tehran’s nuclear program.
Secretary General of the CSU
In September 2008 the CSU suffered heavy losses in the Bavaria state election and lost its absolute majority in the Bavarian Landtag - for the first time in 46 years. As a result of this political defeat the CSU party leadership stepped down and Horst Seehofer, the new CSU chairman and minister-president of Bavaria, appointed Guttenberg as secretary general of the CSU in November 2008.
As secretary general Guttenberg called for tax cuts, an increase in family benefits and structural reforms within the CSU to foster more direct political participation of the party base. In addition to domestic policy he also emphasized his focus on international affairs.
Federal Minister of Economics
After the resignation of Michael Glos on 9 February 2009 Guttenberg became Federal Minister of Economics and Technology in the First Cabinet Merkel. Guttenberg, the youngest economics minister in German post-war era, came to office in the midst of a deep global financial crisis and recession.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, several major German banks were near failure, including Hypo Real Estate, which received a 102 billion Euro of credit and guarantees from Germany's bank rescue fund. In this case, Guttenberg opposed an overly hasty nationalization of Hypo Real Estate, which he considered only as "'ultissima ratio',a measure of the very last resort". A few months later he drafted a legislative proposal to minimize the financial risks of failing banks, which caused controversy but was later groundwork for the German bank restructuring bill.
In the case of troubled German companies asking for state aid, including automaker Opel and now-defunct mail-order service Arcandor/Quelle, Guttenberg was reluctant to commit government resources. He insisted on strict conditionality, including restructuring, and limited support to only those companies, which were otherwise competitive but were temporarily affected by the crisis.
In November 2008, Opel had appealed for governmental assistance because of severe financial problems facing its US parent General Motors (GM). In 2009, Opel employed 25,000 workers in Germany and indirectly supported 50,000 additional jobs through its supplier network.
In March 2009, Guttenberg made his first visit to the US as economics minister, focusing his trip on the future of Opel. In his talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the director of the United States National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, and Rick Wagoner, then CEO of General Motors, Guttenberg demanded that GM provide a viable restructuring plan for Opel as a precondition for receiving financial assistance from the German state. Guttenberg and Wagoner agreed on the necessity of a private investor for Opel.
In a speech on the global economic crisis at the Washington-based Peterson Institute Guttenberg warned of rising protectionism.
After Guttenberg’s visit to the US, negotiations between the German government, GM, and potential Opel investors, including Fiat and Canada’s Magna International, were stalled by GM and the U.S. Treasury. In contrast to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and to other German political leaders, Guttenberg preferred insolvency for Opel rather than the infusion of unconditional financial assistance from German state. Because of resulting financial risks for the German state, Guttenberg opposed the sale of Opel to Magna International, favoured by the German Chancellor Merkel, and – according to media coverage – even offered his resignation over the controversy. The Opel-Magna-deal later failed and Opel remained a subsidiary of GM, which had to reimburse financial assistance to Germany.
Federal Minister of Defence
According to German press reports, Chancellor Merkel offered Guttenberg the choice between the interior and the defence ministries while negotiating the distribution of ministerial posts within the new coalition government. Guttenberg decided to opt for the defence portfolio and took the oath of office on 28 October 2009 as part of the Second Cabinet Merkel. He was the youngest-ever German defence minister in the post-war era.
The first political challenge facing defence minister Guttenberg was dealing with the Kunduz airstrike of 4 September 2009. Initially, he adopted the position of his predecessor Jung and defended the air strike as "militarily appropriate". However, in contrast to Jung, Guttenberg conceded that the strike had also caused civilian casualties. After Guttenberg had received additional information and investigative reports dating back to the tenure of his predecessor Jung, Guttenberg changed his position concerning the "Kunduz airstrike" and dismissed Bundeswehr Chief of Staff Schneiderhahn and Parliamentary State Secretary of Defence Wichert on 26 November 2009.
Jung, who in the meantime had assumed the position of labor minister in the second Merkel cabinet, took full political responsibility for the delay in sharing relevant Kunduz air strike information and resigned the following day.
At the demand of the opposition parties, the Bundestag subsequently established a special investigative committee to shed light on the defense ministry’s communications policy in connection with the Kunduz air strike. The final report of the Bundestag’s special investigative committee cleared Guttenberg from the accusation that he had been responsible for the defence ministry’s inadequate communications policy following the Kunduz strike. The findings were supported by members from the ruling CDU/CSU-FDP coalition while the opposition parties criticized the special investigative committee’s report and later published their own account of the investigation.
In doing so, Guttenberg broke a major political taboo since up until then Germany’s political leadership – including the Chancellor and previous defense ministers – had only referred to the Afghanistan intervention as a “stabilization deployment”. The new classification of the Bundeswehr’s Afghanistan deployment as “war” improved the legal status of German soldiers operating under international law.
Guttenberg further attempted to elevate public perception of Germany’s Afghan mission by personally participating - sometimes along with the Chancellor - at funeral services held for fallen Bundeswehr soldiers.
In November 2010, Guttenberg established the Combat Action Medal of the Bundeswehr, which is awarded for bravery in combat and to soldiers who were the targets of terrorist or military attacks.
At the political level, Guttenberg spoke out strongly against a precipitous military withdrawal from Afghanistan. He specifically warned against imposing fixed troop withdrawal timetables that do not take into account the security situation on the ground. Furthermore, Guttenberg also demanded a stronger involvement of key neighboring states such as Russia, India, and China in the resolution of the Afghan conflict. In light of the traditionally challenging security situation in Afghanistan, Guttenberg called for the development of an internationally coordinated long-term security strategy – based on the use of special forces and close intelligence cooperation within the coalition – to stabilize the country even after the eventual withdrawal of all foreign troops.
During his tenure as defense minister, Guttenberg made nine visits to Afghanistan and the German soldiers deployed there. To gain a first-hand understanding of the situation on the ground and the military risks of the Bundeswehr’s mission, Guttenberg went several times to the frontlines of the Afghan conflict. He also invited journalists to accompany him on these trips in an effort to educate the wider German public about the nature of the Bundeswehr deployment in Afghanistan. In December 2010, Guttenberg traveled to Afghanistan along with his wife Stephanie to visit with the troops before the Christmas holidays. In addition, he was also accompanied by German TV moderator Johannes B. Kerner, who hosted his prime-time talk show at the Bundeswehr camp in Mazar-i-Sharif featuring the Guttenbergs and German soldiers deployed there. While other German media and the opposition parties sharply criticized Guttenberg for allowing Kerner to host his show in Afghanistan, the reaction by the German troops and the general public was predominantly positive.
In early 2010, Guttenberg decided to push for fundamental Bundeswehr reforms in an effort to address the structural deficits within the German armed forces and to deal with declining defense budgets. The overall goal was to boost the Bundeswehr’s expeditionary capabilities while, at the same time, achieving cost reductions. To accomplish these reforms, Guttenberg proposed to reduce the armed forces to 165,000 active duty soldiers and to suspend the draft, resulting in the most comprehensive restructuring of the Bundeswehr since its founding in 1955. Guttenberg’s reform plans were supported by a blue-ribbon "Bundeswehr Structural Commission" that the minister created in April 2010. The proposals triggered a major debate about the country’s draft system and were met with significant political opposition, not least in Guttenberg’s own political party. In the end, Guttenberg’s view won out and on 29 October 2010, the CSU general party convention approved the minister’s motion to suspend the draft by a large majority. Several weeks later, Chancellor Merkel’s CDU held its own party convention and also voted in favor of suspending the draft.
At a meeting of European defense ministers in Ghent in November 2010 Guttenberg called for closer military cooperation among EU member states, especially in the areas of procurement and training, to cope with rising budgetary pressures. His proposed three-step cooperation model served as the basis for the German-Swedish "pooling and sharing" initiative, which has had a lasting impact on European procurement projects.
In November 2010, a United States diplomatic cables leak revealed that American diplomats viewed Guttenberg positively, with one cable describing him as a "foreign policy expert, a transatlanticist and a close and well-known friend to the United States".
Resignation from all political offices
In February 2011 it was discovered that Guttenberg's thesis contained texts of other authors without citation. This led to plagiarism accusations against Guttenberg, sparking public and political debates. Guttenberg denied any plagiarism, but asked the University of Bayreuth to revoke his title, admitting "severe errors in workmanship." The university revoked his title on 23 February 2011, announcing further investigations. Due to public and political pressure, Guttenberg resigned on 1 March 2011 as Minister of Defence.
Center for Strategic and International Studies
In September 2011 Guttenberg joined the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as a Distinguished Statesman and assumed the leadership of a new forum for transatlantic dialogue dedicated to strengthening the relations between the United States and Europe.
At the Halifax International Security Forum in November 2011, Guttenberg made his first public appearance since joining CSIS. During a plenary session on the economic and financial crisis he voiced pessimism about the current state of the EU, which, in his view, was characterized by a lack of creativity and understanding for the concerns of regular citizens. In particular, Guttenberg decried a severe "crisis of political leadership".
In November 2011, Guttenberg also published the book "Vorerst gescheitert" ("Failed for Now"). The publication is based on a series of conversations with the editor-in-chief of Die Zeit, Giovanni di Lorenzo, in which Guttenberg talks extensively for the first time about his political career, the plagiarism scandal and his resignation, as well as his plans for the future.
A few days before the book's official release, Die Zeit published exclusive excerpts. Guttenberg's criticism in the book of the direction which the CSU is headed sparked some controversy within his party.
In October 2012, after political resistance from Berlin led to the failure of the planned pan-European aerospace and defense merger of EADS and BAE, Guttenberg sharply criticized the German government's handling of this matter. In an op-ed published in the Financial Times, Guttenberg described the failed merger talks as a "missed opportunity of historic proportions" and emphasized the necessity of European cooperation as well as the industrial logic, synergies and cost savings associated with the proposed EADS-BAE link-up. A few days later, CSU chairman Horst Seehofer also criticized the German government's handling of the merger negotiations. Shortly afterward, speaking on the margins of a CSU party convention in Munich, Seehofer declared that he would try to bring Guttenberg back into German politics after the 2013 election cycle and said that Guttenberg should play a "significant" role.
In early April 2013, Guttenberg published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal analysing Germany's role in the conflict over the Iranian nuclear program. In particular, he urged the German government to "start thinking about how to support Israel in the wake of potential air strikes on Iran". Specifically, Guttenberg called on Berlin to provide civil and military support to help Israel defend against potential counterattacks, to push for an immediate cease-fire, and to maintain "a tough international sanctions regime against Tehran".
Advisor to European Commission
No Disconnect Strategy
The European Commission’s "No Disconnect Strategy" (NDS) was launched in December 2011 under the auspices of Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President in charge of Digital Agenda issues, and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The goal of the NDS is to uphold "the right to communicate freely" as "one of the most basic [...] human rights". The NDS provides support to internet users, bloggers and cyber-activists living under authoritarian regimes and is a direct response to the Arab Spring, when governments tried to restrict Internet and social media communications to crack down on protesters. In order to fight arbitrary censorship and to protect against illegitimate surveillance the NDS sets four main goals:
- Development of technological tool kits for cyber-activists;
- Training of and awareness-raising;
- Creation of a European capability for situational awareness in the realm of internet freedom;
- Fostering cooperation with industry, within the EU, and with third countries.
Within the EU, the NDS is also tasked with coordinating all related internet freedom initiatives carried out by individual member states.
Following revelations that the NSA tapped German chancellor Merkel’s cell phone for more than a decade, Guttenberg sharply criticized the spying on close allies by US intelligence in an article published via Project Syndicate on 28 October 2013. According to Guttenberg, American spying in and of itself was not the problem, but rather the extent of the US intelligence collection efforts, which had caused a "crisis of mutual distrust" and severe damage to Washington's relations with its European allies.
In an interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Guttenberg described how European leaders "don’t only lose faith in a partner, but also lost face". He explained his comment in regards to chancellor Merkel, who had initially defended the US government after the first NSA leaks during the summer, only to find out later on that she had been tapped herself. On 4 November 2013, Guttenberg had a private, closed-door meeting with Merkel in Berlin, which German media connected to the NSA scandal. In an op-ed for the Financial Times analyzing the implications of the NSA scandal for transatlantic relations published on 7 November 2013, Guttenberg defined a "shift from government to Googlement – fuelled by the unprecedented ability of companies to gather, store, and evaluate vast amount of personal data" - challenging political structures.
In mid-January 2014 Guttenberg spoke at a business conference in Aargau, Switzerland. In an interview with the Aargauer Zeitung Guttenberg reported that he had launched business activities in the United States to advise companies on future-oriented developments and invest in related technology startups. At the end of January 2014, speaking at a conference on cybersecurity in Munich, hosted by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the Bavarian industry association (vbw), Guttenberg announced that he had formed a company in New York. In spring 2014 media revealed its name as Spitzberg Partners LLC, a consulting and investment company. In July 2014 Guttenberg joined the advisory board of Ripple Labs, developer of the Ripple payment protocol. He is also a member of the international advisory board of Barrick Gold.
Guttenberg is a member of the House of Guttenberg, first documented in 1158, and conferred the rank of baron by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1700. Since the adoption of Germany's 1919 Weimar Constitution, which abolished the nobility's privileges, "noble titles form part of the name only". By courtesy and tradition, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is addressed as a baron socially in his hometown of Guttenberg, Bavaria, and occasionally is referred to as such by German and international media.
His grandfather, Karl Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg (1921–1972), was a CSU politician and hard-line conservative during the Cold War, noted for his opposition to the Ostpolitik. During the Second World War he narrowly escaped execution after refusing to kill Jews, stating that he would rather shoot SS members. Several other members of Guttenberg’s family also offered resistance to the Nazi regime, among them his great-grandfather Georg Enoch Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, and Karl Ludwig Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, a great-great-uncle of Guttenberg. Karl Ludwig was a Catholic monarchist, who prior to the Second World War published the "Weiße Blätter" (White Papers), an important publication of the conservative opposition to the Nazi regime. He belonged to the circle of anti-Hitler conspirators around Hans von Dohnányi, Justus Delbrück, and Hans Oster. After the failure of the 20 July plot he was arrested and later executed. His grandmother, Rosa Sophie Prinzessin von Arenberg (1922-2012), was a member of the House of Arenberg.
Guttenberg's father is Enoch zu Guttenberg, a conductor, who has been decorated with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Officer's Cross) as well as the Bavarian Order of Merit. He has received many awards for his contributions to classical music, including the German Cultural Award and the Echo Klassik award.
Previously, Enoch zu Guttenberg also owned the winery estate Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl.
Guttenberg's mother, Christiane zu Eltz is a member of the Eltz family, which has strong ties with Croatia. She is the daughter of Ludwine, Countess Pejacsevich de Verocze. Her father was Jakob von und zu Eltz, a former President of the Association of Winemakers in Rheingau who became active in Croatian politics after Croatian independence. She divorced Enoch zu Guttenberg in 1977, and Karl-Theodor grew up with his father. His mother married secondly Adolf Richard Barthold von Ribbentrop, owner of an Eltville art gallery and son of Joachim von Ribbentrop, in 1985, and has two children from her second marriage. Guttenberg has a younger brother, Philipp Franz zu Guttenberg (born 1973), who married a daughter of Godfrey James Macdonald, the 8th Baron Macdonald.
In February 2000, Guttenberg married Stephanie Gräfin von Bismarck-Schönhausen (born 1976), a great-great-granddaughter of the first Chancellor of Germany Otto von Bismarck. They have two daughters. Guttenberg is Catholic, while his wife is Protestant (Lutheran).
Guttenberg was born in Munich. He lived at his family castle in Guttenberg, Bavaria (district of Kulmbach), a village whose history is closely associated with the House of Guttenberg, and in a mansion in a refined part of Berlin, Berlin-Westend. The castle has been in the possession of the Guttenberg family since 1482.
In July 2011 it was reported in the German media that Guttenberg would temporarily relocate to the United States. His wife confirmed these plans in an interview several weeks later but emphasized that the family had every intention of returning to Germany. In September 2011 it became known that Guttenberg had bought a house for his family in Greenwich (Connecticut), close to New York City.
Guttenberg was awarded the "Politikaward" in 2009, which is a German "Politician of the Year" award. It was awarded by politik & kommunikation, a German periodical for political communications.
In 2011, the Carneval Association of Aachen awarded him the "Order Against Dead Seriousness" (Orden wider den tierischen Ernst), although he did not attend the ceremony in person, sending instead his younger brother.
|Ancestors of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg|
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- Entry at WW-Person, the WWW Data base of European nobility
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- Genealogisches Handbuch des in Bayern immatrikulierten Adels, Vol. XXV, 2004, p. 422. Further information about zu Guttenberg's family is also based on this source.
- Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution
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- zu Guttenberg, Karl-Theodor (2009). Verantwortung in der sozialen Marktwirtschaft [Responsibility in the Social Market Economy] (in German). Stuttgart: Robert Bosch Stiftung. ISBN 978-3-939574-18-7.
- Altomonote, Carlo; Defraigne, Pierre; Delattre, Lucas; zu Guttenberg, Karl-Theodor; Goulard, Sylvie; Scharping, Rudolf (2006). Le Partenariat Privilégié, Alternative à l’Adhésion [The Privileged Partnership, an Alternative to Membership]. Note bleue de la Fondation Schuman (in French). Paris, Brussels: Fondation Robert Schuman. ISSN 1761-2233.
- zu Guttenberg, Karl-Theodor (2004). Die Beziehungen zwischen der Türkei und der EU – eine "Privilegierte Partnerschaft [The Relationship between Turkey and the EU - A "Privileged Partnership"] (in German). München: Akademie für Politik und Zeitgeschehen, Hanns-Seidel-Foundation. ISBN 3-88795-274-X.
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