Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Foreign Office
- AA -

State level Federation
position Supreme Federal Authority (as Federal Ministry )
founding 1870/1951
Headquarters Berlin
Authority management Heiko Maas (SPD)
Servants approx. 12,100
Budget volume EUR 6.30 billion (target 2021)
Web presence
Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs (2019)

The Foreign Office (abbreviated AA , occasionally also called Foreign Office ) is one of 14  ministries in the Federal Republic of Germany and as such a supreme federal authority . It has its headquarters in Berlin and a subsidiary in the federal city of Bonn .

It is the headquarters of the Foreign Service and is responsible for German foreign and European policy . Its name goes back to the traditional name for the German Foreign Ministry since the North German Confederation (1870) and the German Empire (1871) . The Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs is the head of the Foreign Office ; Heiko Maas ( SPD ) in Merkel's fourth cabinet has been the incumbent since March 14, 2018 .

The Foreign Office

New building for the Foreign Office in Berlin, on the left the house on Werderschen Markt
Entrance at Werderscher Markt
Location of the Foreign Office in Berlin
The protocol courtyard between the new and old building
Second headquarters of the Foreign Office in Bonn, view of the Rhine front

The Foreign Office, together with the federal missions abroad, forms the so-called Foreign Service ( Section 2 Law on the Foreign Service ); he takes care of the foreign affairs of the Federation by cultivating the relations of the Federal Republic of Germany with foreign states as well as intergovernmental and supranational institutions, the international organizations . One of the visible approaches to “maintaining foreign relations” in recent years is Germany's application for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council as part of a global UN reform package in 2005, which received the required qualified majority in the General Assembly of the United Nations has so far failed.

The Federal Foreign Office publishes information on Germany's foreign policy as well as extensive information on all countries in the world on its official website . It thus works as an authority that is directly accessible to the citizen. It has its first official seat in the house on Werderscher Markt ( Werderscher Markt 1), until 1945 the seat of the Reichsbank and later of the Central Committee of the SED (1959–1990). The building in the historic center of Berlin is not far from the demolished former GDR Foreign Ministry on Schinkelplatz . The second seat is in the former headquarters of the Foreign Office on Adenauerallee in the federal city of Bonn .


At the head of the Foreign Office has been the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas since March 2018 . In government tasks, the Federal Foreign Minister is supported by Parliamentary State Secretaries who have the additional title of “Minister of State in the Foreign Office”. Currently (as of February 2021) these positions are occupied by the SPD politicians Michael Roth , Michelle Müntefering and Niels Annen . Furthermore, the management level of the Foreign Office includes one or more permanent state secretaries who represent the minister in the management of the Foreign Service. Miguel Berger and Antje Leendertse currently hold these positions (as of February 2021) . State ministers and state secretaries are the highest-ranking employees in the Federal Foreign Office. Directly subordinate to the Federal Minister, there are numerous special representatives and coordinators as well as the management and planning staff, the ministerial office, the parliamentary and cabinet departments and the press department, the head of which is also the spokesman for the Foreign Office. The Humanitarian Aid Coordination Committee (KKH), which consists of the Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid and humanitarian organizations based in Germany, is also located there. The committee has met every six months or ad hoc since 1994 on the occasion of humanitarian crises. The committee jointly developed the "Twelve Basic Rules of Humanitarian Aid Abroad".

The Federal Foreign Office is headquartered in Berlin . In Bonn there is an office that is mainly responsible for the regular operation of information technology, but less for tasks in the diplomatic field. The Foreign Office is considered to be the "central hub of German diplomacy, in which foreign policy analyzes and concepts as well as specific instructions for the German diplomatic missions abroad are developed". The eleven departments at headquarters contribute to achieving these goals. The Foreign Office is divided into the Central Department (1) for the regulation of internal matters, the Political Department (2), which coordinates German foreign policy within the common foreign and security policy of the EU as well as relations with North America , Eastern Europe and Central Asia , the European Department ( E), in charge of shaping German European policy, the Asia and Pacific Department (AP), responsible for relations with the Asian countries - above all China, but also Afghanistan and Pakistan -, the Political Department (3), which is responsible for the Maintains relations with countries in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, the Department of Crisis Prevention, Stabilization and Post-conflict Rehabilitation (S), the Department of International Order, United Nations and Arms Control (OR) for cooperation with the organs of the United Nations as well as disarmament policy, the department for economics and sustainable development (4), a legal representative division (5), the head of which is also the Federal Government's international law advisor, the Department of Culture and Communication (6) for the planning and control of German foreign cultural, educational, communication and media policy, and the Department of Protocol (7), the the visits of foreign guests in Germany as well as the trips abroad organized by the Federal Chancellor , Federal President or Federal Foreign Minister. In Berlin, the next generation is trained in the Foreign Service Academy, which is subordinate to the central department (1). There are also cross-departmental work units. These are usually created on the basis of current situations or to plan and carry out future activities that affect the field office.

Foreign missions

In addition to the AA headquarters, there are German diplomatic missions in most of the world's capitals as well as in larger cities in the various countries. The missions abroad - embassies , consulates general and consulates as well as permanent representations in intergovernmental and supranational organizations ( Section 3 (1) GAD ) - are referred to there as the “eyes, ears and voice” of the Federal Government .

The Federal Foreign Office currently has (as of February 2021) 227 missions abroad, including 153 embassies, 54 consulates general and seven consulates, twelve multilateral missions (at international organizations such as the European Union (EU) or the United Nations ) and a representative office. In addition, three information centers are maintained under the name "German Information Center (GIC)" with the task of conveying language and region-specific information about Germany. The largest GIC has been in Washington since 2003 (previously in New York). In the Arabic-speaking area, a GIC is active in Cairo, and the GIC / CIDAL was set up in Paris for the French-speaking areas.

Currently (as of February 2021) around 3,000 members of the Foreign Service are active in the diplomatic missions abroad. They are supported by around 5,600 so-called local staff and employees from other departments of the federal government, the federal states, business and other institutions. In addition, (as of February 2021) 337 honorary consuls are volunteering on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office. Honorary consuls are mainly used where the establishment of a professional consular representation does not seem sensible for various reasons (e.g. size of the district). Citizens of the receiving state often hold the office of honorary consul.

The appointment to the top positions at the diplomatic missions abroad has been criticized several times since the end of the nineties. The allegations are directed against the alleged party book economy and favoritism . The Federal Foreign Office, with reference to the personal rights of its employees, is reluctant to comment on such allegations.


Revolutionary German Empire (1848/49)

During the revolution of 1848/1849 an imperial government was set up, the Provisional Central Authority . Depending on the point of view, she exercised the functions of the Bundestag or officiated for an emerging German Empire .

On July 12, 1848, Reichsverweser Johann , the provisional "substitute monarch", appointed a government. His confidante Anton von Schmerling became Reich Minister for both internal and foreign affairs. Schmerling had several successors as Reich Foreign Minister until December 20, 1849. At that time, central power ended in favor of the Federal Central Commission .

North German Confederation

An independent ministry of foreign affairs was created in the Kingdom of Prussia by the public of December 16, 1808 and an ordinance of October 27, 1810 . On January 12, 1870, this Prussian Foreign Ministry was transferred to the North German Confederation . As the "Foreign Office of the North German Confederation" it served the diplomacy of the North German Confederation . In 1871 it was renamed the "Foreign Office of the German Empire ". The other Reich offices have been called ministries since 1919. The name has been retained to this day, although the Foreign Office is a federal ministry like the others. The name of this institution is carried on out of tradition .

In the time of Otto von Bismarck , the first boss, the Foreign Office was only divided into two departments: the Political Department and a second department for areas such as foreign trade and legal and consular affairs.

German Empire (1871-1918)

Palais at Wilhelmstrasse 76 in Berlin around 1880, seat of the Foreign Office from 1871
The headquarters of the Foreign Office at Wilhelmstrasse 74-76 (view from Behrenstrasse, photo 1927)

In the German Empire , the Foreign Office was an imperial office that was in charge of foreign policy . It was created in 1871 after the establishment of the German Empire and had its seat at Wilhelmstrasse  76 in Berlin , from 1882 also at Wilhelmstrasse 75 and from 1919 also at Wilhelmstrasse 74.

The Reich took over the Foreign Office from the North German Confederation in unchanged form as a Reich authority headed by a State Secretary . Although the Foreign Office now functioned as the authority for a pan-German foreign policy, the German federal states retained a considerable degree of independence in their own foreign policy. Otto von Bismarck's foreign policy shaped the good reputation of this office around the world, and his alliance policy made the Foreign Office one of the most highly regarded authorities in Germany. Although most foreign policy decisions were made by the Kaiser himself after Bismarck's dismissal under Wilhelm II , the Foreign Office retained the key role in German diplomacy and even represented a certain opposition to Wilhelm's unsteady course in foreign policy.

In the Foreign Office there were initially two departments, which corresponded to the two strictly separate careers of diplomat and consul .

Department I.

The first department was the political one, which dealt with matters of higher politics, personal details, generalia, ceremonies , religious matters, budgets, treasury matters, matters of schools and churches, etc. The head of this department was a State Secretary who also acted as the permanent representative of the Reich Chancellor in the Foreign Office. The Chancellor had the highest responsibility in foreign policy matters, which is why the State Secretary was bound by his instructions. The deputy of the state secretary was again an undersecretary of state.

Department II

The second division was responsible for the investigation of the matters of trade , transport , consulate being, constitutional law , civil law , the arts and science , the private affairs of German in other countries and the items that the judiciary -, police - and postal services , the emigration , the ship's business, which concerned border matters and settlements with foreign states, etc., was responsible. She was subordinate to the director of the Foreign Office.

Establishment of further departments

In 1885 the second department lost its jurisdiction over legal matters, as a new department III was launched as the legal department of the Foreign Office. Five years later it was followed by its own colonial department , which in 1907 became the Reich Colonial Office . In addition, a Department IV was created in 1915 during the First World War , which took on the function of a news department.

German Empire (1919–1933, Weimar Republic)

In 1919, the office, which retained its traditional name, one was Reich Ministry (during Prussia 's foreign affairs henceforth even regulated), and at its head also joined the Reichstag responsible Minister for Foreign Affairs . A state secretary was subordinate to him as the highest official of the ministry. This office was held briefly by Hermann Müller , then Edgar Haniel von Haimhausen , from 1922 Ago von Maltzan , from 1924 Carl von Schubert , from 1930 to Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow .

After an initial phase with little success and a rather reluctance to work with the Western powers, the former Chancellor Gustav Stresemann took up the post of Foreign Minister in November 1923. Until his death in October 1929 he ensured an understanding between the Weimar Republic and the West and also achieved German accession to the League of Nations under very favorable conditions. Stresemann did not live to see the most important fruits of his labor, such as the evacuation of the occupied Rhineland in 1930. As a result, the Reich Chancellor and Foreign Minister behaved more briskly with foreign countries.

With a few exceptions, the Foreign Office in the Weimar Republic was headed by people who were closely related to the business world: Walter Simons was an executive member of the RDI and a member of the supervisory and administrative board of IG Farben , Walther Rathenau was chairman of the AEG board , Gustav Stresemann former President of the Federation of Industrialists and Julius Curtius industrial attorney. The ambassador Otto Wiedfeldt was Krupp director and the state secretaries Haniel von Haimhausen and von Schubert came from large industrial families.

German Empire (1933–1945, Nazi era)

The Foreign Office on Wilhelmstrasse in 1937

With the seizure of power of Hitler and the Nazi party , the personnel policy of the Foreign Office was after the general prevailing opinion until 2010 Gleichschaltung policy of the national government suspended, as are all other Reich ministries . Nonetheless, resistance fighters also emerged from the Foreign Service , for example Rudolf von Scheliha , Ilse Stöbe , Adam von Trott zu Solz and Ulrich von Hassell .

The “ Independent Historical Commission - Foreign Office ” came to the conclusion in its 2010 book The Office and the Past that employees of the office during the Nazi dictatorship were not so much victims but rather actors in National Socialism; so in summary Ernst Piper :

“The Foreign Office was [...] not a refuge for resistance. Nor was it a refuge for veteran ministerial bureaucrats who, under bad government, did not want to abandon their country and simply continued to do their job. There was also no targeted infiltration by the National Socialists, it was not necessary at all. Rather, characteristic of the AA was the 'self-alignment'. An anti-democratic and an anti-Semitic consensus prevailed between the officials in Wilhelmstrasse and the Hitler government , with the mostly aristocratic diplomats representing the traditional upper classes of anti-Semitism , which was less radical than the genocidal redemption anti-Semitism of the National Socialists. But both wanted to overcome the 'shameful peace' of Versailles and make Germany a great power again. There were only differences in assessing the risk of war. "

In 1933 the office set up a “Germany Department”, responsible for internal German affairs, which included stateless persons as well as expatriation and emigrant matters as a result of anti-Jewish Nazi legislation . As a liaison point to the NSDAP, there was a “special party unit” in the AA from 1938 onwards. In 1940, both sections were combined to form "Department D" (Germany). Franz Rademacher , the originator of the Madagascar Plan , worked in “Referat D III” (Jewish question, racial policy) .

On March 31, 1933, the Foreign Policy Office of the NSDAP (APA) headed by Alfred Rosenberg was officially founded in competition with the Foreign Office in order to replace the existing "traditionally conservative instruments" of foreign policy with a "revolutionary" one. With a view to the AA, the APA primarily served the purpose of bypassing the official diplomatic agencies. According to Rosenberg's request, the AA should be brought into line and reorganized from the APA. Since the AA was seen as a center of conservative resistance against the new rulers, it was spied on accordingly. On May 15, 1934, Rosenberg wrote in his diary that Adolf Hitler had told him that he (Hitler) regarded the AA as "a conspiratorial society " that could only be brought under his control after the death of Paul von Hindenburg .

In the period that followed, a "local foreign office group" was formed in the Reich leadership of the NSDAP . From around autumn 1935, the task of this local group was to “influence appointments” and “exercise secret control over the members of embassies and consulates”.

In 1939 the office issued a formal circular on the Jewish question as a factor in foreign policy . Among other things, it said:

“The realization that Judaism will always be the irreconcilable opponent of the Third Reich in the world forces us to decide to prevent any strengthening of the Jewish position. A Jewish state [meaning: in Palestine ] would, however, bring world Jewry an increase in power under international law. "

The research results published in October 2010 by the Independent Commission of Historians convened by then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in 2005 show that "after the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Foreign Office took the initiative to resolve the 'Jewish question' at European level". Eckart Conze (historian and spokesman for the commission) said in an interview in 2010: “The Foreign Office was actively involved in all measures of persecution, disenfranchisement, expulsion and extermination of the Jews from the start. [...] The target ' final solution ' was recognizable very early on. "

The Foreign Office was initially still subordinate to State Secretary Bülow. After his death in June 1936, Hans Georg von Mackensen took over the office; After the Blomberg-Fritsch crisis in early 1938, he was followed on April 3, 1938 by Ernst von Weizsäcker .

Important employees during the National Socialist era included: Eberhard von Thadden , Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz , Hans-Heinrich Herwarth von Bittenfeld , Franz Rademacher , Fritz Kolbe , Hilger van Scherpenberg , Paul Karl Schmidt , Horst Wagner , Karl Klingenfuß , Kurt Georg Kiesinger , Otto Bridegroom and Friedrich Stieve . After the end of the Second World War , a number of leading members of the office were indicted and convicted in the so-called Wilhelmstrasse Trial .

German Democratic Republic

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the GDR 1972

In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the GDR in the eastern part of Berlin represented the foreign policy of the government there from 1949 to 1990 .

Spree side and Jungfernbrücke
Foyer to the foreign ministers' rooms

Federal Republic of Germany

After the Second World War, the Federal Republic's external contacts had to go through the Allied High Commission and its high commissioners . On March 6, 1951, following the resolutions of the New York Foreign Ministers' Conference of September 19, 1950, the Federal Republic of Germany authorized the establishment of a foreign ministry as part of a “minor revision” of the 1949 Occupation Statute. From June 1950 to 1951, the Federal Chancellor managed the “Foreign Affairs Office” in the Federal Chancellery, which was headed by his close confidante, Ministerial Director Herbert Blankenhorn (since July 11, 1950). Now the Federal Republic was allowed to maintain its own relations with foreign states again. For all matters reserved for the occupation authorities, however, foreign representations still had to take the route through the Allied High Commission.

In the coalition governments of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1966, the foreign minister was appointed by the smaller coalition partner and at the same time held the office of vice chancellor , with the exception of the vice chancellorships of Jürgen Möllemann , Franz Müntefering , Philipp Rösler and Olaf Scholz .


With the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 and the regaining of foreign policy sovereignty in 1951, the Foreign Office was re-established on March 15, 1951 in the new federal capital of Bonn and kept the name. In this way, the authority in the Federal Republic - as a state identical to the German Reich - clearly acknowledged its tradition and continuity up to Bismarck. Initially headquartered in the Villa Ingenohl , the Foreign Office moved in 1955 to an architecturally simple new building on the edge of the future government district . The building was one of the first new ministry buildings in Bonn and at the time it was opened it was the largest administrative complex in Germany.

Officials who were already employed in the Foreign Ministry during the Nazi era were in charge of the reconstruction of the Foreign Service. As early as 1951, Michael Mansfeld wrote a series about it for the Frankfurter Rundschau that led to the establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry . The Brown Book published by the GDR in 1965 presumably also mentions 520 diplomats with a Nazi past in the Foreign Office. The extent of the influence of former NSDAP members and diplomats involved in crimes against humanity was examined by an international commission of historians set up in 2005. The research results of this Independent Commission of Historians , headed by Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei , Peter Hayes and Moshe Zimmermann , were published on October 21, 2010 under the title The Office and the Past . According to this, 58 of 137 employees in the higher service belonged to the NSDAP in 1950, that is 42.3 percent. By 1954, the number of former NSDAP members in the higher service rose to 325 people. Since the staff in the higher service of the office had grown to over 900 employees, the percentage of NSDAP members fell. For comparison, in 1953, among the 487 members of the 2nd German Bundestag, 129 were former members of the NSDAP, which corresponds to a share of 26.5%. Nevertheless, according to the researchers, "[is] the bon mot that after the war there were more Pgs [party comrades] in office than before, not entirely absurd". So was z. B. 1953 the lawyer and diplomat Otto Bräutigam reinstated as head of the Eastern Department at the Foreign Office. Bridegroom, who between 1941 and 1945 was Alfred Rosenberg's “General Politics Department” in the East Ministry , wrote on December 18, 1941 approvingly: “In the meantime, oral discussion should clarify the matter,” meaning the overall plan for the extermination of the Jews in Europe was. Foreign ministers Scheel and Genscher were formerly NSDAP members.

In 1991 German diplomacy received its own legal basis with the Foreign Service Act .

In 1992 and 1993, the Foreign Service had around 8,000 to 9,000 members, of which around 1,600 belonged to the higher service . Around a third of them worked in the Foreign Office, the rest at the 237 diplomatic and consular representations abroad that existed at the time.


Weltsaal in the house on Werderscher Markt

In 1999 the Foreign Office relocated its first office to Berlin, where it moved into the premises of the former Central Committee of the SED in the building on Werderschen Markt , the former extension of the Reichsbank . The building has been rebuilt since August 1996 by the Berlin architect Hans Kollhoff commissioned as general planner for 288 million DM and completed in December 1999. For reasons of space, an additional extension was necessary on the neighboring property. The DM 168 million new building designed by the architects Thomas Müller and Ivan Reimann in the form of a cube with three atriums was inaugurated in November 1999. The keys to the entire complex were handed over on January 20, 2000. A second seat was kept in the Bonn building.


In order to protect officials, the Federal Foreign Office stopped publishing the occupation of its diplomatic missions abroad, particularly after the Stockholm hostage-taking (1975) and the murder of the AA diplomat Gerold von Braunmühl by RAF terrorist missions (1986). The annual publication of an “Annuaire Diplomatique” (diplomatic yearbook) with the stages of the career of each individual diplomat in the country concerned, which offers a higher degree of public control, does not exist at the Foreign Office. However, photos and the curriculum vitae of the heads of the authorities and the management staff at headquarters can be viewed on the website of the Foreign Office or the respective diplomatic mission.

The Foreign Service has had a higher number of competitor lawsuits since 2006 , which has led to a modification of the civil service assessment procedure. Since 2008, the achievements are no longer graded in the specialist departments and at the foreign missions, but by a central assessor. The procedure was introduced in order to meet the requirements of the federal career regulation (quotas) and to create a uniform, fairer assessment standard. The decisions of the higher administrative court have consistently confirmed this new system so far. The system is very controversial among the workforce and continues to lead to lawsuits in all careers.

Reform debate and the future of the Federal Foreign Office

With increasing European integration and the associated loss of importance of traditional diplomacy in European politics, there were increasing voices that the Foreign Office had lost its importance and that it was only playing a minor role in important issues such as saving the euro and restructuring the EU . Diplomats and ambassadors are no longer consulted, but negotiations are held directly at ministerial level - often even at government level. This is more and more the case at both European and global level. As early as August 2012, the Federal Foreign Office announced at the ambassadors conference that it would submit concrete proposals for reforms. Thomas Bagger , Head of Planning at the Foreign Office, sees it as his future task "to distill a national or European interest from the multitude of departmental interests and to ensure a uniform appearance abroad". Another proposal, which goes back to Wolfgang Ischinger , the head of the Munich Security Conference , is a National Security Council - a comprehensive coordination body with a corresponding substructure, including experts from the ministries.

As a result of this effort, however, no further reform steps have been taken. The European policy coordination , which has been formally divided between the Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology since the beginning of the European Union , has not changed despite the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. Since 2009, the foreign ministers have no longer been represented in the pre-legislative and media-wide important European Council . The Chancellery has thus been given an informally decisive role , also through its propagated Union method .

In 2014, the Federal Foreign Office committed itself to a comprehensive reform process with the “Review 2014 - Foreign Policy Thinking ahead” project, which culminated in the 2015 “Crises - Order - Europe” conclusions. But even this reform has not resulted in any realignment.

In 2017, the European Movement Germany, funded by the Foreign Office, called for a radical reorganization of the Federal Government's European policy, which would entail a relocation of European coordination to the Federal Chancellery . Because the Foreign Office remains "in old forms of classical diplomacy" and has lost "enormous influence".

On January 1, 2021, the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs (BfAA) was established in Brandenburg an der Havel as a higher federal authority within the scope of the Foreign Office. This is intended to take on highly specialized tasks with an international dimension for the Federal Government, which in particular require foreign skills and knowledge of foreign languages. The following are planned:

  • Processing of visa applications,
  • Management of funds and grants, for example for humanitarian aid projects,
  • specialized tasks in the field of administration and infrastructure.

Reich and Federal Minister since 1919

Heiko Maas Sigmar Gabriel Frank-Walter Steinmeier Guido Westerwelle Frank-Walter Steinmeier Joschka Fischer Klaus Kinkel Hans-Dietrich Genscher Helmut Schmidt Hans-Dietrich Genscher Walter Scheel Willy Brandt Gerhard Schröder (CDU) Heinrich von Brentano di Tremezzo Konrad Adenauer Johann Ludwig Graf Schwerin von Krosigk Arthur Seyß-Inquart Joachim von Ribbentrop Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath Heinrich Brüning Julius Curtius Gustav Stresemann Friedrich von Rosenberg Joseph Wirth Walther Rathenau Joseph Wirth Friedrich Rosen Walter Simons Adolf Köster Hermann Müller Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau

Three Federal Chancellors held the office in personal union, Konrad Adenauer as the first Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany and Helmut Schmidt after the FDP had withdrawn from the coalition and cabinet; Walter Scheel was only temporarily incumbent from May 7 to 16, 1974, when he took over the Federal Chancellery at the request of the then Federal President Gustav Heinemann . Hans-Dietrich Genscher held the office of Federal Foreign Minister both under a SPD - and under a CDU - chancellorship . Schmidt remained in office as Foreign Minister for three days after Helmut Kohl had already replaced him as Federal Chancellor.

Reich Minister of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi regime (1919–1945)

No. Surname picture Life dates Political party Beginning of the term of office Term expires Term of office
in days
1 Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau
Brockdorf Rantzau.jpg
1869-1928 independent February 13, 1919 June 21, 1919 128
2 Hermann Muller
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-11411, Hermann Müller.jpg
1876-1931 SPD June 21, 1919 March 26, 1920 279
3 Adolf Koester
Koester adolf 1920s.png
1883-1930 SPD April 10, 1920 June 8, 1920 59
4th Walter Simons
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-12279, Walter Simons.jpg
1861-1937 independent June 25, 1920 May 4, 1921 313
5 Friedrich Rosen
Dr Friedrich Rosen 1910.jpg
1856-1935 independent May 10, 1921 October 22, 1921 165
6th Joseph Wirth
Bundesarchiv Bild 146III-105, Joseph Wirth.jpg
1879-1956 center October 26, 1921 January 31, 1922 97
7th Walther Rathenau
Federal Archives Image 183-L40010, Walter Rathenau.jpg
1867-1922 DDP February 1, 1922 June 24, 1922 84
8th Joseph Wirth
Bundesarchiv Bild 146III-105, Joseph Wirth.jpg
1879-1956 center June 24, 1922 November 14, 1922 143
9 Friedrich von Rosenberg
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-00095, Wilhelm Cuno and Frederic von Rosenberg.jpg
1874-1937 independent November 22, 1922 August 11, 1923 262
10 Gustav Stresemann
Federal Archives Picture 146-1989-040-27, Gustav Stresemann.jpg
1878-1929 DVP August 13, 1923 October 3, 1929 2243
11 Julius Curtius
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-08497, Berlin, Julius Curtius, Gustav Stresemann.jpg
1877-1948 DVP October 4, 1929 October 9, 1931 735
12th Heinrich Brüning
Federal Archives Picture 119-2600, Heinrich Brüning.jpg
1885-1970 center October 9, 1931 May 30, 1932 234
13th Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath
Federal archive N 1310 Bild-014, Konstantin von Neurath.jpg
1873-1956 NSDAP (from 1937) June 1, 1932 February 4, 1938 2074
14th Joachim von Ribbentrop
1893-1946 NSDAP February 4, 1938 May 1, 1945 2643
15th Arthur Seyss-Inquart
1892-1946 NSDAP May 1, 1945 May 2, 1945 1
16 Lutz von Krosigk
Johann Ludwig Graf Schwerin von Krosigk.JPG
1887-1977 NSDAP May 2, 1945 May 23, 1945 21

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in the post-war period

No. Surname picture Life dates Political party Beginning of the term of office Term expires Term of office
in days
Cabinet (s)
0 ( Allied Control Council ) May 23, 1945 March 15, 1951 2242
1 Konrad Adenauer
Federal archive B 145 Bild-F078072-0004, Konrad Adenauer.jpg
1876-1967 CDU March 15, 1951 June 6, 1955 1544 Adenauer I
Adenauer II
2 Heinrich von Brentano
Heinrich von Bretano.jpg
1904-1964 CDU June 6, 1955 October 30, 1961 2338 Adenauer II
Adenauer III
3 Gerhard Schröder
Defense Minister Dr.  Gerhard Schröder (4909218775) .jpg
1910-1989 CDU November 14, 1961 November 30, 1966 1842 Adenauer IV
Adenauer V
Erhard I
Erhard II
4th Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt.jpg
1913-1992 SPD December 1, 1966 20th October 1969 1054 Kiesinger
5 Walter Scheel
Federal Archives Picture 146-1989-047-20, Walter Scheel.jpg
1919-2016 FDP October 21, 1969 May 15, 1974 1667 Brandt I
Brandt II
6th Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Federal Archives FDP Federal Party Congress, Genscher.jpg
1927-2016 FDP 17th May 1974 17th September 1982 3045 Schmidt I
Schmidt II
Schmidt III
7th Helmut Schmidt
Helmut Schmidt (07/13/1977) .jpg
1918-2015 SPD 17th September 1982 4th October 1982 17th Schmidt III
8th Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1989) .jpg
1927-2016 FDP 4th October 1982 17th May 1992 3513
(total 6558)
Cabbage I
Cabbage II
Cabbage III
Cabbage IV
9 Klaus Kinkel
Federal archive B 145 Bild-F063645-0024, Pullach, visit by Carstens at the BND.jpg
1936-2019 FDP May 18, 1992 October 26, 1998 2352 Kohl IV
Kohl V
10 Joschka Fischer
Joschka Fischer.jpg
* 1948 Green October 27, 1998 November 22, 2005 2583 Schröder I
Schröder II
11 Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Frank-Walter Steinmeier 20090902-DSCF9761.jpg
* 1956 SPD November 22, 2005 October 28, 2009 1436 Merkel I
12th Guido Westerwelle
Guido westerwelle.jpg
1961-2016 FDP October 28, 2009 17th December 2013 1511 Merkel II
13th Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Frank-Walter Steinmeier Feb 2014 (cropped) .jpg
* 1956 SPD 17th December 2013 January 27, 2017 1137
(total 2573)
Merkel III
14th Sigmar Gabriel
2017-03-19 Sigmar Gabriel SPD party conference by Olaf Kosinsky-2.jpg
* 1959 SPD January 27, 2017 March 14, 2018 411 Merkel III
15th Heiko Maas
2017-03-26 Heiko Maas by Sandro Halank – 2.jpg
* 1966 SPD March 14, 2018 in office 1,148 Merkel IV

Parliamentary State Secretaries

The Parliamentary State Secretaries working in the Foreign Office have held the title of Minister of State at the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs since 1974 . The background is mainly of a protocol nature. It should be maintained on the diplomatic parquet at eye level. The ministers of state primarily perform tasks of a political nature and support the Federal Foreign Minister in his governmental tasks.

State Secretaries

The number of state secretaries varies and is not stipulated by law. Initially there was only one permanent state secretary (1951–1960), then usually two (short-term overlaps not taken into account). In 2009–2011 and for a few months in 2017 there were three state secretaries.

Remembrance for people who perished in Germany's foreign service

Joschka Fischer inaugurated the following memorial wall in a ceremony in the new building of the Foreign Office on Werderschen Markt in 2000:

"In memory of the resistance fighters against National Socialism from the ranks of the Foreign Service and the colleagues who lost their lives after 1945 while exercising their service."

It names the names and dates of the honorees and is constantly updated.

Stasi employees in the Foreign Office

For the Ministry for State Security of the GDR, foreign office employees were important sources for the foreign policy of the Federal Republic. So far, 21 GDR spies who were working at the Foreign Office have been researched. The following unofficial employees have been reliably identified :

  • Christine Bauer (code name: "Jasmina", 1986–1989)
  • (Hans) Mario Bauer (code name: "Jürgen", 1985–1989)
  • Helge Berger (code name: "Komtess", 1968–1977)
  • Hagen Blau (code names: "Detlef", "Merten", 1965–1990)
  • Herbert Kemper (code name: "Harry", 1968–1989)
  • Ruth Kemper (code name: "Hanna", 1968–1989)
  • Reiner Müller (alias: "Siggi", 1976–?)
  • Ludwig Pauli (code name: "Adler", 1966–1990)
  • Lilli Pöttrich ( code name: "Angelika", 1976–1990)
  • Gisela von Raussendorff (code name: "Flower", 1960–1989)
  • Klaus von Raussendorff (code name: "Brede", 1960–1990)
  • Karl-Heinz Rode (code name: "Maro", 1975–1989)
  • Heinz Fritz Stuckmann (code name: "Dietrich", 1973–1989)
  • Heinz Helmuth Werner (aliases: "Cherry", "Günther", 1969–1990)

See also

Television documentary

  • Hitler's diplomats in Bonn. The Foreign Office and its past. Documentation, 45 min. Script and direction: Heinrich Billstein and Mathias Haentjes; Production: WDR ; First broadcast: January 18, 2006


  • Eckart Conze : The Foreign Office. From the empire to the present (=  CH Beck knowledge ). Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-63173-3 .
  • Foreign Office (ed.): The foreign policy of the German states in the empire. History, actors and archival tradition. Contributions to the scientific colloquium on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Political Archives of the Federal Foreign Office on August 3, 2010. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2012.
  • Daniel Bigalke: The Foreign Office in the German Reich. German diplomacy between republicanization and a lack of will to reform in the republic of Weimar . Verlag VDM, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 3-8364-9049-8 .
  • Enrico Brandt, Christian Buck (ed.): Foreign Office. Diplomacy as a profession . 4th edition. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 978-3-531-14723-9 .
  • Christopher R. Browning: The "Final Solution" and the Foreign Office. Section D III of the Germany Department 1940–1943 . Translated by Claudia Kotte. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft , Darmstadt 2010, ISBN 3-534-22870-7 (first as The final solution and the German Foreign Office. A study of referat D III of Department Germany 1940–43 . Holmes & Meier, New York / London 1978, ISBN 0-8419-0403-0 ).
  • Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei , Peter Hayes, Moshe Zimmermann : The Office and the Past. German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic. Verlag Karl Blessing, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-89667-430-2 .
  • Peter Grupp: Anti-Semitism and Jewish questions in the Foreign Office during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. A first approximation . In: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft (ZfG) 46, 1998, pp. 237–248.
  • Jens Ruppenthal: The colonial department in the Foreign Office of the Weimar Republic . In: Ulrich van der Heyden, Joachim Zeller (ed.): "... power and share in world domination". Berlin and German colonialism . Unrast, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-89771-024-2 .
  • Heinz Günther Sasse, Ekkehard Eickhoff : 100 Years of the Foreign Office, 1870–1970 . Bonn 1970.
  • Jan Erik Schulte , Michael Wala (ed.): Resistance and the Foreign Office. Diplomats against Hitler . Siedler, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-8275-0015-1 .
  • Heribert Schwan , Helgard Heindrichs: The spider web. Stasi agents in the west: the secret files of the rosewood file . Knaur, Munich 2005, ISBN 978-3-426-77732-9 .
  • Berndt von Staden: Between Ice Age and Thaw. Diplomacy in an era of upheaval . In: memories . WSJ, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-937989-05-6 .
  • Joseph von Westphalen : In the diplomatic service . Hamburg 1991, ISBN 3-455-08168-1 .
  • Foreign Office / Nazi diplomats - "Somebody in the house" . In: Der Spiegel . No. 14 , 1971 ( online - on personnel policy in the 1950s and 60s under Wilhelm Haas).
  • Because that's you: a murderer . In: Die Zeit , No. 5/2006.

See also

Web links

Commons : Foreign Office  - Collection of Images
Wiktionary: Foreign Office  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Employees. In: Federal Foreign Office, February 1, 2021, accessed on February 1, 2021 .
  2. Law on the adoption of the federal budget for the budget year 2021 (Budget Law 2021). (PDF; 31.5 MB) In: Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), January 3, 2021, accessed on January 3, 2021 .
  3. ↑ List of Abbreviations. (PDF; 49 kB) Abbreviations for the constitutional bodies, the highest federal authorities and the highest federal courts. In: Federal Office of Administration (BVA), accessed on August 20, 2016 .
  4. See Eckart Conze: The Foreign Office. From the empire to the present. CH Beck, Munich 2013, passim.
  5. a b Foreign Office: Head of the Foreign Office. Retrieved February 22, 2021 .
  6. Marco Feldmann: Change in the Foreign Office. In: authorities mirror. May 5, 2020, accessed May 28, 2020 .
  7. ^ Humanitarian Aid Coordinating Committee. (No longer available online.) Federal Foreign Office, October 18, 2010, archived from the original on September 27, 2011 ; Retrieved March 23, 2011 .
  8. Michelle Westerbarkey: Beyond the Borders: Transnational Networking of Nonprofit Organizations. Julius Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2004, ISBN 3-7815-1350-5 , p. 51.
  9. The Twelve Basic Rules of Humanitarian Aid. (No longer available online.) Federal Foreign Office, archived from the original on July 10, 2011 ; Retrieved March 23, 2011 .
  10. Jörg Bogumil, Werner Jann: Administration and administrative science in Germany: Introduction to administrative science. 2nd edition, VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-531-16172-3 , p. 91.
  11. a b Organization plan of the Federal Foreign Office , website of the Federal Foreign Office , accessed on March 21, 2018.
  12. Federal Foreign Office: diplomatic missions abroad. Retrieved February 22, 2021 .
  13. See the websites GIC Washington ( Memento of February 17, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), GIC Kairo ( Memento of December 25, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) and CIDAL - Center d'Information et de Documentation de l'Ambassade d'Allemagne .
  14. Federal Foreign Office: Staff. Retrieved February 22, 2021 .
  15. Foreign missions , website of the Federal Foreign Office, accessed on February 23, 2021. The honorary consuls subpage (November 18, 2019) mentions “about 350”, which suggests that their number fluctuates.
  16. Die Welt from May 23, 2001. World Archive
  17. ( Memento from July 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  18. a b c d Wichard Woyke (Ed.): Concise dictionary of international politics. Edited by the Federal Agency for Civic Education . 5th, updated and revised Ed., Opladen 1993, ISBN 3-8252-0702-1 , p. 64 f.
  19. The History of the Foreign Office , website of the Foreign Office , accessed on December 16, 2014. Today, Section 7 of the Joint Rules of Procedure of the Federal Ministries is relevant, which provides for ten departments and various sections .
  20. ^ Foreign Office, II. Dept. In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1883, Part 2, p. 418.
  21. ^ Laurenz Demps: Berlin-Wilhelmstrasse . 4th edition. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-597-3 , p. 247 .
  22. Ludwig Biewer : The history of the Foreign Office: An overview. In: Publications of the Federal Foreign Office . ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: PDF )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  23. Werner Link : The American Stabilization Policy in Germany 1921–32 . Düsseldorf 1970, p. 563.
  24. Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei, Peter Hayes and Moshe Zimmermann: The office and the past. German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic. Karl Blessing Verlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-89667-430-2 .
  25. Quoted from Ernst Piper : Foreign Office: Nazi Past - Terrible Diplomats . In: Der Tagesspiegel from October 25, 2010.
  26. From 1943 it was also called “Referategruppe Inland II”.
  27. a b Andreas Zellhuber: "Our administration is driving a catastrophe ...". The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories and German occupation in the Soviet Union 1941–1945. Vögel, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-89650-213-1 , p. 64 f.
  28. Hans-Günther Seraphim : The political diary of Alfred Rosenberg . 1934/35 and 1939/40. Göttingen 1956, p. 28 (Source: Akten der Deutschen Politik , Series D, Vol. 1, p. 46 ff.).
  29. HD Heilmann: From the war diary of the diplomat Otto Bräutigam. In: Götz Aly et al. (Ed.): Biedermann and desk clerk. Materials on the German perpetrator biography. Institute for Social Research in Hamburg, Berlin 1987, p. 171 (Source: Alfred Gerigk : Advice and Warning in the Dictatorship. In: Hundert Jahre Ullstein, 1877–1977 , Volume 3, Berlin 1997, p. 339).
  30. Magnus Brechtken: "Madagascar for the Jews". Anti-Semitic Idea and Political Practice 1885–1945 , Oldenbourg, Munich 1998, p. 210 .
  31. Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei, Peter Hayes, Moshe Zimmermann: The office and the past. German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic. Munich 2010, pp. 185–192, quotation p. 185.
  32. Quotation in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung from October 24, 2010; see also The Foreign Office and the Holocaust , FAZ.NET , 23 October 2010.
  33. Eckart Conze, The Foreign Office. From the Empire to the Present , Beck, Munich 2013, pp. 109–112 ; Erik Lommatzsch, Hans Globke (1898–1973). Civil servant in the Third Reich and State Secretary Adenauers , Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2009, p. 195 ; Thomas Knoll, Das Bonner Bundeskanzleramt: Organization and functions from 1949–1999 , Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2013, pp. 84 f., 91.
  34. See: Decision of the Allied High Commission on the powers of the Federal Government in the field of foreign affairs of March 6, 1951 , printed in: Johannes Hohlfeld (Ed.): Documents of German Politics and History 1848–1945 , Volume VII, Part I 1951–1952, Berlin n.d., p. 5 f.
  35. Eckart Conze, The Foreign Office. From the Empire to the Present , Beck, Munich 2013, p. 112 .
  36. The wavering figures from the Nazi era , FR of 27 October 2010 ( Memento of 16 April 2017 Internet Archive ) and transmission manuscript, Germany Radio .
  37. ^ Michael Mansfeld: Bonn - Koblenzer Strasse. Robert von Lenwitz's report. Kurt Desch, Munich / Vienna / Basel 1967.
  38. Chapter in the Brown Book 1965: "Diplomats Ribbentrops in the Foreign Service of Bonn" ( Memento from March 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  39. ^ Fischer appoints historians' commission , Spiegel Online , July 11, 2005; Federal Foreign Office: Independent Commission of Historians, as of October 25, 2010 .
  40. ^ CIA Information Act - Reinhard Gehlen: Former NAZI and SS membership in ZIPPER. (PDF; 1.7 MB) Central Intelligence Agency , October 15, 2004, p. 12 , accessed on March 27, 2010 .
  41. Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei, Peter Hayes and Moshe Zimmermann: The office and the past. German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic. Munich 2010, p. 493 (figures) and 494 (quotation). With the abbreviation “Pg”, which was common in the Nazi era, the former NSDAP members were apostrophized as party members in the post-war period .
  42. Republished z. B. in: Liberal Omission . In: Der Spiegel . No. 44 , 2010, p. 17 ( online ).
  43. Respect for the history of the city. Handover of the keys for the Foreign Office in Berlin. In: Baunetz . January 20, 2000. Retrieved April 15, 2017 .
  44. ver.di reviews. (PDF) (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on July 7, 2012 ; accessed on April 15, 2017 .
  45. Ralf Neukirch: Outside the door: The Foreign Office is suffering from its loss of importance. European policy is made in the Chancellery, Guido Westerwelle remains unpopular. Now reform should stop the decline . In: Der Spiegel . No. 18 , 2012, p. 42-44 ( online ).
  46. Discussion series on the review process. Retrieved August 24, 2017 .
  47. Review 2014 - Foreign Policy Thinking ahead. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on September 13, 2016 ; accessed on August 24, 2017 .
  48. More Europe - in the Chancellery . ( [accessed on August 24, 2017]).
  49. German Bundestag, 19th electoral term (ed.): Recommended resolution and report by the Foreign Affairs Committee . Printed matter 19/19182. May 13, 2020, p. 5 .
  50. Federal Foreign Office: Bundestag resolves new central service facility in Brandenburg an der Havel. Retrieved June 11, 2020 .
  51. ^ Declaration of September 19, 1961 against the federal executive committee of the CDU and on October 17, 1961 against the CDU / CSU parliamentary group ; see also Ulrich Enders (Ed.), The Cabinet Protocols of the Federal Government. Volume 14 - 1961 , Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 1982, 2004, ISBN 3-486-57584-8 , p. 43 .
  52. Link new Minister of State for Europe in the Foreign Office. European Movement Germany , accessed January 16, 2012 .
  53. Memorial plaques in Berlin
  54. Heribert Schwan, Helgard Heindrichs: The spider web. Stasi agents in the west: The secret files of the Rosenholz file , Knaur Verlag, Munich 2005, p. 311 ff. Lists all of the named except Heinz Helmuth Werner.
  55. Top agent in the NATO message , Der Spiegel, No. 16/1990, p. 16.
  56. See Hitler's diplomats in Bonn. The Foreign Office and its past. (No longer available online.) In: January 18, 2006, archived from the original on January 3, 2008 ; Retrieved April 3, 2011 .
  57. See also the business distribution plans from there ( page no longer available , search in web archives: September 1943 ), also 1911–1916, 1920, 1923, 1933, 1936, 1938 and 1940 (PDF; 26.5 MB).@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /

Coordinates: 52 ° 30 ′ 56 ″  N , 13 ° 23 ′ 55.5 ″  E