Eckhard Jesse

Eckhard Jesse ( born July 26, 1948 in Wurzen ) is a German political scientist and publicist. He holds the Chair of " Political Systems, Political Institutions" at the Technical University of Chemnitz.

  • 3.1 Research extremism and totalitarianism concept
  • 3.2 Theses on the National Socialism
  • 3.3 relative to the New Right


The son of a primary school headmaster left in 1958 with his parents to East Germany. After he had initially attends an administrative theory, he obtained in 1971 a high school on the second-chance education. Then studied Jesse 1971-1976 Political Science and History at the Free University of Berlin. During this time he was a fellow of Friedrich- Ebert -Stiftung. In 1982, he became the subject of the design of the electoral law in the Federal Republic of Germany. An analysis of the political and scientific debates about electoral system and electoral changes doctorate. In 1989 the Habilitation Quarrelsome democracy in the Federal Republic. The example of the extremists decision of 1972. Jesse has been married since 1983.


1978 to 1983 he was a research associate at the University of Trier. Subsequently, he worked as a university assistant until 1989. Until 1993 he took over in professors and worked as a lecturer abroad. Since 1993 he has held the chair of political systems, political institutions at the TU Chemnitz. Eckhard Jesse, Uwe Backes and Rainer Zitelmann are founders of Veldensteiner circle. Jesse is the editor of the journal MUT. He was chairman of the German Association of Political Science (2007). He is also a member of numerous scientific advisory boards, such as the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED dictatorship, the Society for Research Germany, the Etter Mountain Foundation and the Hannah Arendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism ( HAIT ) in Dresden.

The Group of the CDU in the state parliament of Saxony ordered Jesse in 2012 as a specialist for the National Socialist Underground.

Research priorities

Jesse's research focuses on democracy, extremism and totalitarianism as well as electoral and party research, the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany and the historical foundations of politics.

Together with other researchers took Jesse 1986, the thesis of the sole perpetrator Marinus van der Lubbe at the Reichstag fire of 1933.

Jesse is a regular author of the Federal Agency for Civic Education ..

Collaboration with the Protection of the Constitution

Jesse appears as a speaker at events organized by the Federal Office and the Offices for the Protection of the Constitution. His publications, some of which are avowedly intended for use authorities are purchased by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and found in publications of the constitutional protection use.

Yearbook Extremism and Democracy

Together with Uwe Backes from HAIT are Jesse since 1989, the yearbook Extremism and Democracy, a publication series of the same name out, which are now among the standard works of extremism research. At the department of Political Science of the TU Chemnitz Jesse oversees a project funded by the Hanns Seidel Foundation Graduate School Political extremism and parties. Published in 2001, the year book is a biographical portrait of the Holocaust denier Horst Mahler, written after a visit to Jesse's in Mahler.

In addition, the extremism expert contributed extensive articles on the thirty -volume encyclopedia Coron ( a complete revision of the Bertelsmann Lexikothek ) at ( state, past and present, The democratic constitutional state and dictatorship, extremism and terrorism).

Prohibition of the NPD process

Jesse was provided by the German Federal Constitutional Court as an expert witness in the failed prohibition of the NPD process. In a press release of the TU Chemnitz his attitude is represented as follows: "Because of the insignificance of the NPD Jesse holds a party ban request inexpedient. Nevertheless, he sees a ban on these aggressive anti-constitutional party to be lawful. " In an interview, he expressed skepticism about the effect of an NPD ban: " Why all attempts have led to make the NPD muzzled and prohibit, we have in seen the past. It is still, and she could even move after decades in a German state parliament. " Heribert Prantl of the Süddeutsche Zeitung criticized the appointment of Jesse's expert witness, as this is noticed by trivialization of right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism. Jesse was a lack of the necessary for a forensic expert objectivity of this competence. Although "the Constitution hostility to the NPD [ ... ] so clearly given " after Jesse's view. It considers, however, the possible failure of a (new ) closure case the danger that NPD could then " give the impression that they would have a democratic Persil bill " and also voiced objections in principle to party prohibitions that may give citizens the impression that " you 'm not ready in other ways with the party. "


Research extremism and totalitarianism concept

Jesse extremism research as well as his concept of totalitarianism to be rejected by some historians and political scientists such as Richard Stöss because equating left-wing extremism and right-wing extremism in the concept of " totalitarianism " is not an appropriate for a differentiated analysis and significant differences between these two phenomena, in particular the original anti- democratic attitude right ideologies, conceals. Jesse himself describes the approach, among others, as follows:

" The extremism theory assumes that the right and the left-wing extremists on the one hand far from each other, and on the other hand, in close proximity, such as the ends of a horseshoe. There are images of the enemy, which coincide, as against America, against globalization, against capitalism. There are also enemies that are completely different, on the one hand, the stranger, and on the other side about the state that is being fought. "

The comparative scale extremism term permits by Jesse View to capture various anti - democratic tendencies of political and religious orientations, without equate them.

After the state elections in Hesse in 2008 Jesse supported the decision of his former doctoral student Carmen Everts to vote in the planned election as prime minister not for Andrea Ypsilanti and a tolerated by the Left minority government after the Magdeburg model. The Left as " extremist trains " which would hardly discussed.

Unlike Benno Hafeneger and others supported the efforts of Jesse Minister Kristina Schröder, to establish prevention programs left extremism and Islamism, because Germany had " a problem with right and with left-wing extremism ."

Theses on the National Socialism

Criticism sparked the thesis that National Socialism in Germany have caused a " modernization ", as it is represented in the anthology Shadows of the Past by Rainer Zitelmann, Uwe Backes and Eckhard Jesse. Jesse represents here the view that anti-Semitism and right were " more phantom than reality." The cause of the attention in terms of this " phantom " sees Jesse among others in the " often privileged (s) Jewish (s) position " in Germany, " Jewish organizations need anti-Semitism in a certain size to be heard for their concerns and to bring their legitimate interests to better advantage. " Other authors of the anthology demanded that Germany should from the " pop out shadows of the past ". Heribert Prantl described the band as a standard work of moderate historical revisionism.

Relation to the New Right

The political scientist and anti-Semitism researcher Lars Rensmann locates Jesse, Backes and Zitelmann within the New Right. Rensmann criticized some ideologemes Jesse, but is also, Jesse had little fear of contact with the assigned to the New Right Hans- Helmuth Knütter, without any of those would, however, moved so far to the right as Knütter. Wolfgang Wippermann even went so far as to put him in the vicinity of the new right in a fundamental critique of the theory of totalitarianism approach of Jesse.

In dealing with Armin Pfahl - Traughber, who saw an " erosion of demarcation " between right-wing conservatives and fascists, Jesse claimed in 1996 that there was an insurmountable boundary between conservatism and right-wing extremism in the Federal Republic:

" (This is ) predominantly one Perzeptionsproblem. [ ... ] The defense mechanisms of the local political culture [ ... ] work against law ( unlike in Weimar) and to some extent in rigorous manner that fall well above suspicion sublime powers of the Constitutional arc in a disreputable right corner. The " look right " is sharply developed; the left, however tarnished "

Eckhard Jesse refused as chairman of the doctoral colloquium, the appeal to Sebastian Maass ' dissertation. Maass, so Jesse, unscientific manner pursuing right-wing apologetics.

Publications (selection)

  • The democracy of the Federal Republic of Germany. An introduction to the political system. Colloquium Verlag, Berlin 1978, ISBN 3-7678-0453-0; 8 updated and expanded edition: Nomos, Baden -Baden 1997, ISBN 3-7890-5213-2.
  • Quarrelsome democracy. Theory, Practice and Challenges in the Federal Republic of Germany. Colloquium, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-7678-0490-5; 2nd revised edition ibid. 1981, 3-7678-0529-4.
  • (Ed.): Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic. The two German states in comparison. Colloquium, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-7678-0518-9; 4 extended edition ibid., ISBN 3-7678-0658-4.
  • Uwe Backes: totalitarianism, extremism and terrorism. A literature guides and signposts to extremism research in the Federal Republic of Germany. Leske and Budrich, Opladen, 1984; 2nd revised and enlarged edition ibid., 1985, ISBN 3-8100-0560-6.
  • Choice between continuity and reform. An analysis of the suffrage debate and the election law changes in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1983. Droste, Dusseldorf, 1985, ISBN 3,770,051,297th
  • Uwe Backes, Karl -Heinz Janssen, Hans Mommsen, Henning Köhler & Fritz Tobias: Reichstag fire - investigation of an historical legend. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1986, ISBN 3-492-03027-0.
  • Uwe Backes: Political Extremism in the Federal Republic of Germany. Science and politics, Cologne 1989. Volume 1: literature. ISBN 3-8046-8695-8.
  • Volume 2: Analysis. ISBN 3-8046-8727 -X.
  • Volume 3: Documentation. ISBN 3-8046-8728-8.