THE SPIEGEL AFFAIR by David Schoenbaum


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It came to a head in October 1962 when the publisher and top staff members of West Germany's intrepid news magazine were arrested on charges of treason--the Spirgel had printed indelicate military data in articles criticizing Bonn's defense policy. Schoenbaum's account of the affair is exact about details and exasperatingly sloppy with interpretations. It is often cryptic (too many obiter dicta and arch allusions) and generally disorganized (background accumulates in a casual, inchoate way). Accordingly, the formidable quantity of who-said-what research remains largely undigested, when not positively confusing, as on the subject of Augstein and the FDP. The affair suggests a great many questions: the ""war of the intelligence services,"" NATO, reunification, press freedom vs. national security, the ""grand coalition"". Schoenbaum raises them all, does deal adequately with legal aspects and the relevance of the Cuban crisis, but leaves the rest hanging. He never even firmly evaluates the status of the ""military secrets"" at stake. To date, this is the only full-length study of the affair: it offers gossip appeal and/or scholarly value for a small audience, marginal interest for general readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday