Minister for Foreign Affairs (Germany)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
Bundesadler Bundesorgane.svg
Frank-Walter Steinmeier Aug2013inBrhv5.jpg
Incumbent
Frank-Walter Steinmeier

since 17 December 2013
Formation 21 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 Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Since 1966, the Foreign Minister has often also simultaneously held the office of Vice Chancellor.

History of the office[edit]

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

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[edit]

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

No. Name Took office Left office
1 Hermann von Thile (1812–1889) 21 March 1871 30 September 1872
2 Hermann Ludwig von Balan (1812–1874)1 3 October 1872 9 October 1873
3 Bernhard Ernst von Bülow (1815–1879) 9 October 1873 20 October 1879
4 Josef Maria von Radowitz (1839–1912)1 6 November 1879 17 April 1880
5 Chlodwig Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (1819–1901)1 20 April 1880 1 September 1880
6 Friedrich Graf zu Limburg Stirum (1835–1912)1 1 September 1880 25 June 1881
7 Clemens Busch (1834–1895)1 25 June 1881 16 July 1881
8 Paul Graf von Hatzfeld zu Trachenberg (1831–1901) 16 July 1881 24 October 1885
9 Herbert Fürst von Bismarck (1849–1904)2 24 October 1885 26 March 1890
10 Adolf Freiherr Marschall von Bieberstein (1842–1912) 31 March 1890 19 October 1897
11 Bernhard Graf von Bülow (1849–1929) 20 October 1897 23 October 1900
12 Oswald Freiherr von Richthofen (1847–1906) 23 October 1900 17 January 1906
13 Heinrich Leonhard von Tschirschky und Bögendorff (1858–1916) 24 January 1906 25 October 1907
14 Wilhelm Freiherr von Schoen (1851–1933) 26 October 1907 27 June 1910
15 Alfred von Kiderlen-Wächter (1852–1912) 27 June 1910 30 December 1912
16 Gottlieb von Jagow (1863–1935) 11 January 1913 22 November 1916
17 Arthur Zimmermann (1864–1940) 22 November 1916 6 August 1917
18 Richard von Kühlmann (1873–1948) 6 August 1917 9 July 1918
19 Paul von Hintze (1864–1941) 9 July 1918 3 October 1918
20 Wilhelm Solf (1862–1936) 3 October 1918 13 December 1918
21 Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau (1869–1928) 13 December 1918 13 February 1919
1 Held office only provisionally.

2 Held office provisionally until 17 May 1886.

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

No. Name Begin of office End of office Party
1 Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau (1869–1928) February 13th 1919 June 20th 1919 none
2 Hermann Müller (1876–1931) June 21st 1919 March 26th 1920 SPD
3 Adolf Köster (1883–1930) April 10th 1920 June 8th 1920 SPD
4 Walter Simons (1861–1937) June 25th 1920 May 4th 1921 none
5 Friedrich Rosen (1856–1935) May 10th 1921 October 22nd 1921 none
6 Joseph Wirth (1879–1956) October 26th 1921 January 31st 1922 Zentrum
7 Walther Rathenau (1867–1922) February 1st 1922 June 21st 1922 DDP
8 Joseph Wirth (1879–1956) June 21st 1922 November 14th 1922 Zentrum
9 Friedrich von Rosenberg (1874–1937) November 22nd 1922 August 11th 1923 none
10 Gustav Stresemann (1878–1929) August 13th 1923 October 3rd 1929 DVP
11 Julius Curtius (1877–1948) October 4th 1929 October 9th 1931 DVP
12 Heinrich Brüning (1885–1970) October 9th 1931 May 30th 1932 Zentrum
13 Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath (1873–1956) June 1st 1932 February 4th 1938 none (NSDAP after 1937)
14 Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893–1946) February 4th 1938 April 30th 1945 NSDAP
15 Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892–1946) April 30th 1945 May 2nd 1945 NSDAP
16 Johann Ludwig Graf Schwerin von Krosigk (1887–1977) May 2nd 1945 May 23rd 1945 none

Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the GDR, 1949–1990[edit]

No. Name Begin of office End of office Party
1 Georg Dertinger (1902-1968) 1949-10-12 1953-01-15 CDU
2 Anton Ackermann (1905-1973) 1953-01-15 July 1953 SED
3 Lothar Bolz (1903-1986) July 1953 1965-06-24 NDPD
4 Otto Winzer (1902-1975) 1965-06-24 1975-01-20 SED
5 Oskar Fischer (*1923) 1975-03-03 1990-04-12 SED
6 Markus Meckel (*1952) 1990-04-12 1990-08-20 SPD
7 Lothar de Maizière (*1940) 1990-08-20 1990-10-02 CDU

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

No. Name Begin of office End of office Party
1 Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967) 1951-03-15 1955-06-06 CDU
2 Heinrich von Brentano di Tremezzo (1904–1964) 1955-06-06 1961-10-17 CDU
3 Gerhard Schröder (1910–1989) 1961-11-14 1966-11-30 CDU
4 Willy Brandt (1913–1992) 1966-12-01 1969-10-20 SPD
5 Walter Scheel (*1919) 1969-20-21 1974-05-15 FDP
6 Hans-Dietrich Genscher (*1927) 1974-05-17 1982-09-17 FDP
7 Helmut Schmidt (*1918) 1982-09-17 1982-10-01 SPD
8 Hans-Dietrich Genscher (*1927) 1982-10-01 1992-05-17 FDP
9 Klaus Kinkel (*1936) 1992-05-18 1998-10-26 FDP
10 Joschka Fischer (*1948) 1998-10-27 2005-11-22 Greens
11 Frank-Walter Steinmeier (*1956) 2005-11-22 2009-10-27 SPD
12 Guido Westerwelle (*1961) 2009-10-28 2013-12-17 FDP
11 Frank-Walter Steinmeier (*1956) 2013-12-17 Incumbent SPD

References[edit]

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