In the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, few government actions have created controversy as emotional, polemical, and long lasting as the Ministerial Decree of 1972 concerning ""radicals"" employed in public service. Aimed primarily at Communists, the decree prohibited from civil service posts anyone whose loyalty to the State was in serious question. Enactment of the measure led to a massive loyalty check of three and a half million individuals, the rejection of 2250 applicants for political reasons, disciplinary proceedings against 2000 public servants, and dismissal of 256. It also spawned international protests and legal actions that continue even today. This book is the first comprehensive study of the 1972 decree. It is based on German archival sources and on interviews with political leaders, journalists, academicians, and individuals how were directly affected. The author examines the causes and context of the decree, as well as its consequences. Although sharply critical of the measure, he has sought to offer a balanced assessment of its impact, presenting the views of both supporters and opponents. In a larger sense, the book explores a central question of democratic theory: Where should the line be drawn between the security of the state and the protection of individual rights?