Minister of Intra-German Relations
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:
The ministry was renamed in 1969 because "All German" (or "Pan-Germanique" in French) might have evoked irredentist associations. The change of the name was supported by left and right wing politicians.
The ministry was abolished in 1991 when a new government was established after the general elections of December 1990, some months after German Reunification, having supported the transition.
Since West Germany kept up exclusive mandate for all of Germany, and the legal pretense that the authorities of the socialist German Democratic Republic with the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) should not be recognized, it could not handle relations to this East German government through the Foreign Office, since this would have meant to 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, as well as propaganda geared to keep the idea of German unity alive and to discredit the East German government.
When German Reunification became a possibility after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 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.
- Jakob Kaiser, 1949–1957
- Ernst Lemmer, 1957–1962
- Rainer Barzel, 1962–1963, first term
- Erich Mende, 1963–1966
- Johann Baptist Gradl, 1966
- Herbert Wehner, 1966–1969
- Egon Franke, 1969–1982
- Rainer Barzel, 1982–1983, second term
- Heinrich Windelen, 1983–1987
- Dorothee Wilms, 1987–1991
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