Minister of Intra-German Relations

Last updated
Federal Minister of Intra-German Relations
Bundesminister für innerdeutsche Beziehungen
Coat of arms of Germany.svg
Coat of arms of Germany.
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F048636-0022, Dortmund, SPD-Parteitag, Egon Franke.jpg
Longest serving
Egon Franke

22 October 1969 – 1 October 1982
Member ofthe Cabinet
Reports tothe Chancellor
Formation20 September 1949
First holder Jakob Kaiser
Final holder Dorothee Wilms
Abolished 9 November 1989 (effectively)
18 January 1991 (formally)
Succession Federal Minister of the Interior

The Federal Minister of Intra-German Relations (German : Bundesminister für innerdeutsche Beziehungen) was a federal cabinet minister of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). The office was created under the title of Federal Minister of All-German Affairs (Bundesminister für gesamtdeutsche Fragen) in 1949, being also in charge of the German lands east of the Oder–Neisse line which had been put under Polish or Soviet administration. In 1951, the first Minister of All-German Affairs Jakob Kaiser openly raised claim to even greater territories including Austria, parts of Switzerland, the Saar area and Alsace-Lorraine. [1]


The ministry was renamed in 1969 because "All-German" might have evoked irredentist associations. The change of the name was supported by both left- and right-wing politicians.[ citation needed ]

The ministry was abolished in 1991 when a new government was established after the federal election of December 1990, some months after German reunification, having supported the transition.

Since West Germany maintained an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, and the legal pretense that the authorities of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) or Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) should not be recognized, it could not handle relations with East Germany through the Federal Foreign Office, since this would acknowledge that the GDR was a separate country. Hence, a separate ministry for relations within Germany had to be created. Since this ministry had very limited competence and virtually no political power, it soon became a post used by chancellors to block rivals without publicly offending them. One of the main tasks of the ministry was the publication of information material about the situation in the East, to keep the idea of German unity alive and to inform the public about actions of the East German government.

When German reunification became a possibility after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the inner German border on 9 November 1989, the ministry was completely disempowered by Chancellor Helmut Kohl; all intra-German affairs were now handled by the Ministry of the Interior under Wolfgang Schäuble. Formally, the ministry continued to exist until 1991 in order to facilitate transition.


Political Party:   CDU    FDP    SPD

TermPolitical PartyGovernment
Took officeLeft officeTime in office
Federal Minister of All-German Affairs
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-P001516, Jakob Kaiser.jpg
Jakob Kaiser
20 September 194929 October 19578 years, 39 days CDU Adenauer III
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2007-0100, Ernst Lemmer.jpg
Ernst Lemmer
29 October 195713 December 19625 years, 45 days CDU Adenauer IIIIV
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F029561-0005, Essen, CDU-Bundestagswahlkongress, Barzel.jpg
Rainer Barzel
14 December 196211 October 1963301 days CDU Adenauer V
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-87989-0060, Erich Mende.jpg
Erich Mende
17 October 196328 October 19663 years, 11 days FDP Erhard III
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F023374-0014, Bonn, Plenarsitzung Bundesrat, Gradl.jpg
Johann Baptist Gradl
28 October 196630 November 196633 days CDU Erhard II
Bundesarchiv Bild 175-Z02-00866, Herbert Wehner.jpg
Herbert Wehner
1 December 196621 October 19692 years, 324 days SPD Kiesinger
Federal Minister of Intra-German Relations
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F048636-0022, Dortmund, SPD-Parteitag, Egon Franke.jpg
Egon Franke
22 October 19691 October 198212 years, 344 days SPD Brandt III
Schmidt IIIIII
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F029561-0005, Essen, CDU-Bundestagswahlkongress, Barzel.jpg
Rainer Barzel
4 October 198229 March 1983176 days CDU Kohl I
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F042655-0004, Bonn, Tagung CDU-CSU Bundesvorstand, Worner (cropped).jpg
Heinrich Windelen
30 March 198311 March 19873 years, 346 days CDU Kohl II
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F074179-0011, Bonn, Ministerin Wilms.jpg
Dorothee Wilms
(born 1929)
12 March 198718 January 19913 years, 312 days CDU Kohl III


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  1. Speech held at the party congress of Austrian People's Party in Salzburg, 2 March 1951. Quoted in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 January 1952, page 5