Minister for Foreign Affairs (Germany)

Last updated
Germany
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
German: Bundesminister des Auswärtigen
Bundesadler Bundesorgane.svg
Future Affairs Berlin 2019 - ,,Digital Revolution Resetting Global Power Politics%3F" (47959588643).jpg
Incumbent
Heiko Maas

since 14 March 2018
Federal Foreign Office
Formation21 March 1871
First holder Hermann von Thile
Website auswärtiges-amt.de

The Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs (German : Bundesminister des Auswärtigen) is the head of the Federal Foreign Office and a member of the Cabinet of Germany. The current office holder is Heiko Maas. Since 1966, the Foreign Minister has often also simultaneously held the office of Vice Chancellor.

Contents

History of the office

The Foreign Office was established within the North German Confederation in 1870 and its head, first appointed in 1871, had the rank of Secretary of State. As the German constitution of 1871 installed the Chancellor as the sole responsible government minister and since the Chancellor generally also held the position of Foreign Minister of Prussia, the Secretary of State fulfilled a more subject role as an assistant to the Chancellor, acting largely to draft correspondence rather than to actually direct the formation of foreign policy. This was especially true during the chancellorships of Otto von Bismarck (1871–1890) and Bernhard von Bülow (1900–1909), both of whom had considerable prior experience with foreign affairs, while secretaries at other times wielded more influence over the foreign policy.

Gustav Stresemann, one of Germany's most influential Foreign Ministers and a 1926 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-040-27, Gustav Stresemann.jpg
Gustav Stresemann, one of Germany's most influential Foreign Ministers and a 1926 Nobel Peace Prize laureate

In 1919, the Weimar Republic elevated the head of the foreign office to the position of Foreign Minister responsible for his department. As governments were now formed by parties entering coalitions with each other, individual ministers also gained independence towards from the chancellor.

After a succession of short-lived ministers, Gustav Stresemann, leader of the small National-liberal German People's Party, held the office of Foreign Minister in successive cabinets from 1923 to his death 1929. His long term gave stability to Germany's foreign policy and improved the minister's position towards the relatively weak and short-lived chancellors. Stresemann was awarded the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize for his work for reconciliation between Germany and France. [1]

The foreign office remained relatively unaffected by the establishment of the Nazi regime in 1933, as minister Konstantin von Neurath, appointed in 1932, remained in office until 1938; however, the office was increasingly marginalised in actual policy-making and with the replacement of Neurath by Ribbentrop lost any independent standing.

After World War II, two separate German states emerged in 1949, the democratic Federal Republic of Germany in the West and the communist-ruled German Democratic Republic in the East. While the Soviet Union ostensibly restored political sovereignty to its satellite and allowed for a Foreign Ministry of the GDR, West Germany's sovereignty was officially curtailed by the Western powers, especially in the field of foreign policy. In 1951 the Foreign Office was reestablished [2] in West Germany, but Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was required to hold the office of Foreign Minister until the Western powers restored sovereignty to West Germany in 1955. Then, Heinrich von Brentano di Tremezzo succeeded as foreign minister in 1955. In 1990, the GDR ceased to exist as a separate state and its territory was reunited with West Germany.

From the 1966 Grand Coalition government of Kurt Georg Kiesinger onwards, the office has been held by a member of the smaller partner in coalitions. Therefore, the Foreign Minister also mostly holds the office of Vice Chancellor of Germany, although there have been notable exceptions, most recently during the term of Philipp Rösler as Vice Chancellor, from 2011 to 2013.

List of officeholders

State Secretaries for Foreign Affairs (Außenstaatssekretäre), 1871–1919

Name
(Birth–Death)
PortraitPartyTerm of Office Chancellor
Hermann von Thile
(1812–1889)
Hermann von Thiele a 001.jpg N/A21 March 187130 September 1872 Bismarck
Hermann Ludwig von Balan
(1812–1874)
Hermann Ludwig von Balan.jpg N/A3 October 18729 October 1873
Bernhard Ernst von Bülow
(1815–1879)
Bernhard Ernst von Bulow.JPG N/A9 October 187320 October 1879
Joseph Maria von Radowitz, Jr.
(1839–1912)
Joseph Maria von Radowitz, de Christian Franzen.jpg N/A6 November 187917 April 1880
Chlodwig Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
(1819–1901)
Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfurst.png N/A20 April 18801 September 1880
Friedrich Graf zu Limburg-Stirum
(1835–1912)
Friedrich zu Limburg-Stirum, German diplomat (1835-1912).jpg N/A1 September 188025 June 1881
Clemens Busch
(1834–1895)
Clemens Busch, German diplomat (1834-1895).jpg N/A25 June 188116 July 1881
Paul Graf von Hatzfeldt zu Wildenburg
(1831–1901)
Paul Graf Hatzfeld-Wildenburg (1831-1901).jpg N/A16 July 188124 October 1885
Herbert Fürst von Bismarck
(1849–1904)
Herbert von Bismarck (C.W.Allers, 1892).jpg N/A24 October 188526 March 1890 Bismarck
von Caprivi
Adolf Freiherr Marschall von Bieberstein
(1842–1912)
Adolf Marschall von Bieberstein.jpg N/A31 March 189019 October 1897 von Caprivi
Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
Bernhard Graf von Bülow
(1849–1929)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2004-0098A, Bernhard von Bulow.jpg N/A20 October 189723 October 1900 Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
von Bülow
Oswald Freiherr von Richthofen
(1847–1906)
Oswald von Richthofen.jpg N/A23 October 190017 January 1906 von Bülow
Heinrich Leonhard von Tschirschky und Bögendorff
(1858–1916)
Heinrich Leonhard von Tschirschky LOC 01127u.jpg N/A24 January 190625 October 1907
Wilhelm Freiherr von Schoen
(1851–1933)
Paris, Baron Von Schon, German Amb. (LOC).jpg N/A26 October 190727 June 1910 von Bülow
von Bethmann-Hollweg
Alfred von Kiderlen-Waechter
(1852–1912)
Alfred von Kiderlen-Waechter.jpg N/A27 June 191030 December 1912 von Bethmann-Hollweg
Gottlieb von Jagow
(1863–1935)
Gottlieb von Jagow circa 1915.jpg N/A11 January 191322 November 1916
Arthur Zimmermann
(1864–1940)
Arthur Zimmermann.png N/A22 November 19166 August 1917 von Bethmann-Hollweg
Michaelis
Richard von Kühlmann
(1873–1948)
Richard von Kuhlmann cph,3b32192.jpg N/A6 August 19179 July 1918 Michaelis
von Hertling
(I)
Paul von Hintze
(1864–1941)
Paul von Hintze 1915.jpg N/A9 July 19183 October 1918 von Hertling
(I)
Wilhelm Solf
(1862–1936)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R73059, Wilhelm Solf.jpg N/A3 October 191813 December 1918 von Baden
(I)
Ebert
(Council of the People's Deputies)
Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau
(1869–1928)
Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau.jpg N/A13 December 191813 February 1919 Ebert
(Council of the People's Deputies)

Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Reichsminister des Auswärtigen), 1919–1945

Political Party:   SPD    Zentrum    DDP    DVP    NSDP

No.Minister of Foreign AffairsTook officeLeft officeTime in officePartyCabinet
1
Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau.jpg
Brockdorff, Ulrich Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau
(1869–1928)
13 February 191920 June 1919127 days Independent Scheidemann
2
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1979-122-28A, Hermann Muller.jpg
Müller, Hermann Hermann Müller
(1876–1931)
21 June 191926 March 1920279 days SPD Bauer
3
Koester adolf 1920s.png
Köster, Adolf Adolf Köster
(1883–1930)
10 April 19208 June 192059 days SPD Müller I
4
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-12279, Walter Simons.jpg
Simons, Walter Walter Simons
(1861–1937)
25 June 19204 May 192159 days Independent Fehrenbach
5
Dr Friedrich Rosen 1910.jpg
Rosen, Friedrich Friedrich Rosen
(1856–1935)
10 May 192122 October 19211 year, 136 days Independent Wirth I
Bundesarchiv Bild 146III-105, Joseph Wirth.jpg
Wirth, Joseph Joseph Wirth
(1879–1956)
Acting
26 October 192131 January 192297 days Centre Wirth II
6
Walther Rathenau.jpg
Rathenau, Walther Walther Rathenau
(1867–1922)
1 February 192224 June 1922 143 days DDP Wirth II
Bundesarchiv Bild 146III-105, Joseph Wirth.jpg
Wirth, Joseph Joseph Wirth
(1879–1956)
Acting
24 June 192214 November 1922143 days Centre Wirth II
7
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-00098, Berlin, Reichstag, Gedachtnisfeier fur Rathenau (cropped).jpg
Rosenberg, Hans Hans von Rosenberg
(1879–1956)
22 November 192211 August 1923262 days Independent Cuno
8
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1982-092-11, Gustav Stresemann.jpg
Stresemann, Gustav Gustav Stresemann
(1878–1929)
13 August 19233 October 1929 6 years, 51 days DVP Stresemann III
Marx III
Luther III
Marx IIIIV
Müller II
9
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-10108, Reichsaussenministers Curtius mit Familie (cropped).jpg
Curtius, Julius Julius Curtius
(1877–1948)
4 October 19299 October 19312 years, 5 days DVP Müller II
Brüning I
10
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1989-0630-504, Heinrich Bruning.jpg
Brüning, Heinrich Heinrich Brüning
(1885–1970)
9 October 193130 May 1932234 days Centre Müller II
Brüning II
11
Bundesarchiv N 1310 Bild-135, Konstantin von Neurath.jpg
Neurath, Konstantin Konstantin von Neurath
(1873–1956)
(Independent until 1937)
1 June 19324 February 19385 years, 248 days NSDAP von Papen
von Schleicher
Hitler
12
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H04810, Joachim von Ribbentrop.jpg
Ribbentrop, Joachim Joachim von Ribbentrop
(1893–1946)
4 February 193830 April 19457 years, 85 days NSDAP Hitler
13
Arthur Seyss-Inquart.jpg
Seyss, Arthur Arthur Seyss-Inquart
(1892–1946)
30 April 19452 May 19452 days NSDAP Goebbels
14
Ludwig Schwerin von Krosigk.jpg
Krosigk, Lutz Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
(1887–1977)
2 May 194523 May 194521 days NSDAP Schwerin von Krosigk

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the GDR, 1949–1990

Political Party:   CDU    SED    NDPD    SPD

No.Minister of Foreign AffairsTook officeLeft officeTime in officeParty Chairman
1
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S88853, Georg Dertinger.jpg
Dertinger, Georg Georg Dertinger
(1902–1968)
12 October 194915 January 19533 years, 3 months CDU Grotewohl
2
Fotothek df pk 0000173 047 (cropped).jpg
Ackermann, Anton Anton Ackermann
(1905–1973)
15 January 1953July 19535 months SED Grotewohl
3
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-64094-006-Teil 2, Genf, Aussenministerkonferenz, Ankunf Dr. Bolz (cropped).jpg
Bolz, Lothar Lothar Bolz
(1903–1986)
July 195324 June 196511 years, 11 months NDPD Grotewohl
Stoph
4
Otto Winzer.jpg
Winzer, Otto Otto Winzer
(1902–1975)
24 June 196520 January 19759 years, 6 months SED Stoph
Sindermann
5
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1989-0901-038, Oskar Fischer.jpg
Fischer, Oskar Oskar Fischer
(1923–2020)
3 March 197512 April 199015 years, 1 month SED Sindermann
Stoph
Modrow
5
Lasse Lehtinen, Markus Meckel (cropped).JPG
Meckel, Markus Markus Meckel
(born 1952)
12 April 199020 August 19904 months SPD de Maizière
6
Lothar de Maiziere 2011.jpg
Maizière, Lothar Lothar de Maizière
(born 1940)
20 August 19902 October 19901 month CDU de Maizière

Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Bundesminister des Auswärtigen), since 1951

Political Party:   CDU    SPD    FDP    Green

No.Minister of Foreign AffairsTook officeLeft officeTime in officePartyCabinet
1
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F078072-0004, Konrad Adenauer.jpg
Adenauer, Konrad Konrad Adenauer
(1876–1967)
15 March 19516 June 19554 years, 83 days CDU Adenauer III
2
Heinrich von Bretano.jpg
Tremezzo, Heinrich Heinrich von Brentano di Tremezzo
(1904–1964)
6 June 195530 October 19616 years, 146 days CDU Adenauer IIIII
3
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F008145-0002, Gerhard Schroder (crop).jpg
Schröder, Gerhard Gerhard Schröder
(1910–1989)
14 November 196130 November 19665 years, 16 days CDU Adenauer IVV
Erhard III
4
Willy Brandt01.jpg
Brandt, Willy Willy Brandt
(1913–1992)
1 December 196620 October 19692 years, 323 days SPD Kiesinger
5
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-047-20, Walter Scheel.jpg
Scheel, Walter Walter Scheel
(1919–2016)
21 October 196915 May 19744 years, 206 days FDP Brandt III
6
Bundesarchiv FDP-Bundesparteitag, Genscher.jpg
Genscher, Hans Hans-Dietrich Genscher
(1927–2016)
17 May 197417 September 19828 years, 123 days FDP Schmidt IIIIII
7
Helmut Schmidt (13.07.1977).jpg
Schmidt, Helmut Helmut Schmidt
(1918–2015)
17 September 19824 October 198217 days SPD Schmidt III
(6)
Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1989).jpg
Genscher, Hans Hans-Dietrich Genscher
(1927–2016)
4 October 198217 May 19929 years, 226 days FDP Kohl IIIIIIIV
8
Minister Kinkel.jpg
Kinkel, Klaus Klaus Kinkel
(1936–2019)
18 May 199226 October 19986 years, 161 days FDP Kohl IVV
9
Fischer und Paul Wolfowitz (Headshot).jpg
Fischer, Joschka Joschka Fischer
(born 1948)
27 October 199822 November 20057 years, 26 days Green Schröder III
10
Frank-Walter Steinmeier 01.jpg
Steinmeier, Frank Frank-Walter Steinmeier
(born 1956)
22 November 200528 October 20093 years, 340 days SPD Merkel I
11
Guido westerwelle.jpg
Westerwelle, Guido Guido Westerwelle
(1961–2016)
28 October 200917 December 20134 years, 50 days FDP Merkel II
(10)
Frank-Walter Steinmeier Feb 2014 (cropped).jpg
Steinmeier, Frank Frank-Walter Steinmeier
(born 1956)
17 December 201327 January 20173 years, 41 days SPD Merkel III
12
Sigmar Gabriel 2015 cropped.jpg
Gabriel, Sigmar Sigmar Gabriel
(born 1959)
27 January 201714 March 20181 year, 46 days SPD Merkel III
13
Future Affairs Berlin 2019 - ,,Digital Revolution Resetting Global Power Politics%3F" (47959588643).jpg
Maas, Heiko Heiko Maas
(born 1966)
14 March 2018Incumbent2 years, 85 days SPD Merkel IV

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References

  1. Wright, Jonathan, Gustav Stresemann: Weimar's Greatest Statesman (2002)
  2. http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/en/AAmt/Geschichte/GeschichteAA.html