Foreign relations of Germany

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The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) is a Central European country and member of the European Union, G4, G8, the G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It maintains a network of 229 diplomatic missions abroad and holds relations with more than 190 countries. As one of the world's leading industrialized countries it is recognized as a major power in European and global affairs.


Main article: History of Germany

Before 1870, Prussia was the dominant factor in German affairs, but there were numerous smaller states. The question of excluding or including Austria's influence was settled by the Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. Unification of Germany was made possible by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, in which the smaller states joined behind Prussia in and a smashing victory over France. The German Empire was put together in 1871 by Otto von Bismarck, who dominated German and indeed all of European diplomatic history until he was forced to resign in 1890.



The Triple Alliance (1913-configuration, shown in red) was constructed to isolate France.

Bismarck's post-1871 foreign policy was conservative and basically aimed at security and preventing the dreaded scenario of a Franco-Russian alliance, which would trap Germany between the two in a war.

German colonies and protectorates at the start of World War I.

The League of Three Emperors (Dreikaisersbund) was signed in 1872 by Russia, Austria, and Germany. It stated that republicanism and socialism were common enemies and that the three powers would discuss any matters concerning foreign policy. Bismarck needed good relations with Russia in order to keep France isolated. In 1877–1878, Russia fought a victorious war with the Ottoman Empire and attempted to impose the Treaty of San Stefano on it. This upset the British in particular, as they were long concerned with preserving the Ottoman Empire and preventing a Russian takeover of the Bosphorus Strait. Germany hosted the Congress of Berlin (1878), whereby a more moderate peace settlement was agreed to. Germany had no direct interest in the Balkans, however, which was largely an Austrian and Russian sphere of influence, although King Carol of Romania was a German prince.

In 1879, Bismarck formed a Dual Alliance of Germany and Austria-Hungary, with the aim of mutual military assistance in the case of an attack from Russia, which was not satisfied with the agreement reached at the Congress of Berlin. The establishment of the Dual Alliance led Russia to take a more conciliatory stance, and in 1887, the so-called Reinsurance Treaty was signed between Germany and Russia: in it, the two powers agreed on mutual military support in the case that France attacked Germany, or in case of an Austrian attack on Russia. Russia turned its attention eastward to Asia and remained largely inactive in European politics for the next 25 years. In 1882, Italy joined the Dual Alliance to form a Triple Alliance. Italy wanted to defend its interests in North Africa against France's colonial policy. In return for German and Austrian support, Italy committed itself to assisting Germany in the case of a French military attack.[1]

For a long time, Bismarck had refused to give in widespread public demands to give Germany "a place in the sun" through the acquisition of overseas colonies. In 1880 Bismarck gave way, and a number of colonies were established overseas. In Africa, these were Togo, the Cameroons, German South-West Africa, and German East Africa; in Oceania, they were German New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Marshall Islands. In fact, it was Bismarck himself who helped initiate the Berlin Conference of 1885. He did it to "establish international guidelines for the acquisition of African territory" (see Colonisation of Africa). This conference was an impetus for the "Scramble for Africa" and "New Imperialism".[2]

Kaiser Wilhelm[edit]

After removing Bismarck in 1890 the young Kaiser Wilhelm sought aggressively to increase Germany's influence in the world (Weltpolitik). Foreign policy was in the hands of an erratic Kaiser, who played an increasingly reckless hand,[3] and the powerful foreign office under the leadership of Friedrich von Holstein.[4] The foreign office argued that: first, a long-term coalition between France and Russia had to fall apart; secondly, Russia and Britain would never get together; and, finally, Britain would eventually seek an alliance with Germany. Germany refused to renew its treaties with Russia. But Russia did form a closer relationship with France in the Dual Alliance of 1894, since both were worried about the possibilities of German aggression. Furthermore, Anglo–German relations cooled as Germany aggressively tried to build a new empire and engaged in a naval race with Britain; London refused to agree to the formal alliance that Germany sought. Berlin's analysis proved mistaken on every point, leading to Germany's increasing isolation and its dependence on the Triple Alliance, which brought together Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The Triple Alliance was undermined by differences between Austria and Italy, and in 1915 Italy switched sides.[5]

Meanwhile, the German Navy under Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz had ambitions to rival the great British Navy, and dramatically expanded its fleet in the early 20th century to protect the colonies and exert power worldwide.[6] Tirpitz started a programme of warship construction in 1898. In 1890, Germany had gained the island of Heligoland in the North Sea from Britain in exchange for the eastern African island of Zanzibar, and proceeded to construct a great naval base there. This posed a direct threat to British hegemony on the seas, with the result that negotiations for an alliance between Germany and Britain broke down. The British, however, kept well ahead in the naval race by the introduction of the highly advanced new Dreadnought battleship in 1907.[7]

In the First Moroccan Crisis of 1905, Germany nearly came to blows with Britain and France when the latter attempted to establish a protectorate over Morocco. The Germans were upset at having not been informed about French intentions, and declared their support for Moroccan independence. William II made a highly provocative speech regarding this. The following year, a conference was held in which all of the European powers except Austria-Hungary (by now little more than a German satellite) sided with France. A compromise was brokered by the United States where the French relinquished some, but not all, control over Morocco.[8]

The Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911 saw another dispute over Morocco erupt when France tried to suppress a revolt there. Germany, still smarting from the previous quarrel, agreed to a settlement whereby the French ceded some territory in central Africa in exchange for Germany's renouncing any right to intervene in Moroccan affairs.

World War[edit]

Main article: causes of World War I

Ethnic demands for nation states upset the balance between the empires that dominated Europe, leading to World War I, which started in August 1914. Germany stood behind its ally Austria in a confrontation with Serbia, but Serbia was under the protection of Russia, which was allied to France. Germany was the leader of the Central Powers, which included Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and later Bulgaria; arrayed against them were the Allies, consisting chiefly of Russia, France, Britain, and in 1915 Italy.

In explaining why neutral Britain went to war with Germany, Kennedy (1980) recognized it was critical for war that Germany become economically more powerful than Britain, but he downplays the disputes over economic trade imperialism, the Baghdad Railway, confrontations in Central and Eastern Europe, high-charged political rhetoric and domestic pressure-groups. Germany's reliance time and again on sheer power, while Britain increasingly appealed to moral sensibilities, played a role, especially in seeing the invasion of Belgium as a profound moral and diplomatic crime. Kennedy argues that by far the main reason was London's fear that a repeat of 1870 — when Prussia and the German states smashed France — would mean that Germany, with a powerful army and navy, would control the English Channel and northwest France. British policy makers insisted that would be a catastrophe for British security.[9]


Weimar Republic[edit]

The humiliating peace terms in the Treaty of Versailles provoked bitter indignation throughout Germany, and seriously weakened the new democratic regime.

When Germany defaulted on its reparation payments, French and Belgian troops occupied the heavily industrialised Ruhr district (January 1923). The German government encouraged the population of the Ruhr to passive resistance: shops would not sell goods to the foreign soldiers, coal-mines would not dig for the foreign troops, trams in which members of the occupation army had taken seat would be left abandoned in the middle of the street. The passive resistance proved effective, insofar as the occupation became a loss-making deal for the French government. But the Ruhr fight also led to hyperinflation, and many who lost all their fortune would become bitter enemies of the Weimar Republic, and voters of the anti-democratic right. See 1920s German inflation.

Germany was the first state to establish diplomatic relations with the new Soviet Union. Under the Treaty of Rapallo, Germany accorded the Soviet Union de jure recognition, and the two signatories mutually cancelled all pre-war debts and renounced war claims. In October 1925 the Treaty of Locarno was signed by Germany, France, Belgium, Britain and Italy; it recognised Germany's borders with France and Belgium. Moreover, Britain, Italy and Belgium undertook to assist France in the case that German troops marched into the demilitarised Rheinland. Locarno paved the way for Germany's admission to the League of Nations in 1926.[10]

Nazi era, 1933-39[edit]

Hitler came to power in January 1933, and inaugurated an aggressive power designed to give Germany economic and political domination across central Europe. He did not Attempt to recover the lost colonies. Until August 1939, the Nazis announced Communists and the Soviet Union is the greatest enemy, along with the Jews.

Japanese poster promoting the Axis cooperation in 1938

Hitler's diplomatic strategy in the 1930s was to make seemingly reasonable demands, threatening war if they were not met. When opponents tried to appease him, he accepted the gains that were offered, then went to the next target. That aggressive strategy worked as Germany pulled out of the League of Nations (1933), rejected the Versailles Treaty and began to re-arm (1935), won back the Saar (1935), remilitarized the Rhineland (1936), formed an alliance ("axis") with Mussolini's Italy (1936), sent massive military aid to Franco in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), seized Austria (1938), took over Czechoslovakia after the British and French appeasement of the Munich Agreement of 1938, formed a peace pact with Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union in August 1939, and finally invaded Poland in September 1939. Britain and France declared war and World War II began – somewhat sooner than the Nazis expected or were ready for.[11]

After establishing the "Rome-Berlin axis" with Benito Mussolini, and signing the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan – which was joined by Italy a year later in 1937 – Hitler felt able to take the offensive in foreign policy. On 12 March 1938, German troops marched into Austria, where an attempted Nazi coup had been unsuccessful in 1934. When Austrian-born Hitler entered Vienna, he was greeted by loud cheers. Four weeks later, 99% of Austrians voted in favour of the annexation (Anschluss) of their country Austria to the German Reich. After Austria, Hitler turned to Czechoslovakia, where the 3.5 million-strong Sudeten German minority was demanding equal rights and self-government. At the Munich Conference of September 1938, Hitler, the Italian leader Benito Mussolini, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier agreed upon the cession of Sudeten territory to the German Reich by Czechoslovakia. Hitler thereupon declared that all of German Reich's territorial claims had been fulfilled. However, hardly six months after the Munich Agreement, in March 1939, Hitler used the smoldering quarrel between Slovaks and Czechs as a pretext for taking over the rest of Czechoslovakia as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. In the same month, he secured the return of Memel from Lithuania to Germany. Chamberlain was forced to acknowledge that his policy of appeasement towards Hitler had failed.

World War II[edit]

Germany's foreign policy during the war involved the creation of allied governments under direct or indirect control from Berlin.[12] A main goal was obtaining soldiers from the senior allies, such as Italy and Hungary, and millions of workers and ample food supplies from subservient allies such as Vichy France.[13] By the fall of 1942, there were 24 divisions from Romania on the Eastern Front, 10 from Italy and 10 from Hungary.[14] When a country was no longer dependable, Germany would assume full control, as it did with France in 1942, Italy in 1943, and Hungary in 1944. Full control allowed the Nazis to achieve their high priority of mass murdering all Jewish population. Although Japan was officially a powerful ally, the relationship was distant and there was little coordination or cooperation, such as Germany's refusal to share the secret formula for making synthetic oil from coal until late in the war.[15]

Hitler devoted most of his attention during the war to military and diplomatic affairs. DiNardo argues that in Europe Germany's foreign-policy was dysfunctional during the war, as Hitler treated each ally separately, and refused to create any sort of combined staff that would synchronize policies, armaments, and strategies. Italy, Finland, Romania, and Hungary each dealt with Berlin separately, and never coordinated their activities. Germany was reluctant to share its powerful weapons systems, or to train Axis officers. There were some exceptions, such as the close collaboration between the German and Italian forces in North Africa.[16][17]


Since 1951, Germany has been at the heart of European integration. The reunification in 1990, which saw East Germany merged into West Germany, promoted peaceful integration with its neighbors. Strong ties with the United States remain central to German foreign policy.

Within the framework of NATO and an integrated European Union Military Staff, the Federal Republic has resumed the deployment of military units to mediate in conflict regions worldwide.

Germany is one of the world's strongest supporters for ecological awareness in response to climate change and global warming.



"Bindung" is the German word for fixation or bond; "Westbindung" is Germany's implant into Europe and the Western World.

In particular during the Cold War – but continuous into the 21st century – (West-) German foreign policy pursues the country's integration into NATO and a strong co-operation and collective security with its Western partners.

As a free democracy and market economy, the world's largest exporting nation and the world's third-richest economy (nominal GDP) (behind the U.S. and Japan), Germany shares the interest and institutions of a free and secure world trade.

Main article: Ostpolitik

Under the Hallstein Doctrine, the FRG did not have any diplomatic relations with countries in Eastern Bloc until the early 1970s, when Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik led to increased dialogue and treaties like the Treaty of Warsaw, where West Germany accepted the Oder-Neisse line as German-Polish border, and the Basic Treaty, where West and East Germany accepted each other as sovereign entities. Both Germany states were admitted to the United Nations on 18 September 1973.


Main article: German reunification
Leaders of the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany

After the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany, German reunification took effect on 3 October 1990.

On 14 November 1990, Germany and Poland signed a treaty confirming the Oder-Neisse line. They also concluded a cooperation treaty on 17 June 1991. Germany concluded four treaties with the Soviet Union covering the overall bilateral relationship, economic relations, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the territory of the former German Democratic Republic, and German support for those troops.

Russia accepted obligations under these treaties as successor to the Soviet Union.

Primary institutions and actors[edit]

Federal Cabinet[edit]

The three cabinet-level ministries responsible for guiding Germany's foreign policy are the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Foreign Office. In practice, most German federal departments play some role in shaping foreign policy in the sense that there are few policy areas left that remain outside of international jurisdiction. The bylaws of the Federal Cabinet (as delineated in Germany's Basic Law), however, assign the Federal Foreign Office a coordinating function. Accordingly, other ministries may only invite foreign guests or participate in treaty negotiations with the approval of the Federal Foreign Office.


With respect to foreign policy, the Bundestag acts in a supervisory capacity. Each of its committees – most notably the foreign relations committee – oversees the country's foreign policy. The consent of the Bundestag (and insofar as Länder are impacted, the Bundesrat) is required to ratify foreign treaties.


There is a raft of NGOs in Germany that engage foreign policy issues. These NGOs include think-tanks (German Council on Foreign Relations), single-issue lobbying organizations (Amnesty International), as well as other organizations that promote stronger bilateral ties between Germany and other countries (Atlantic Bridge). While the budgets and methods of NGOs are distinct, the overarching goal to persuade decision-makers to the wisdom of their own views is a shared one.


Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder with former U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House in 2001

In 2001, the discovery that the terrorist cell which carried out the attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001, was based in Hamburg, sent shock waves through the country[clarification needed].

The government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder backed the following U.S. military actions, sending Bundeswehr troops to Afghanistan to lead a joint NATO program to provide security in the country after the ousting of the Taliban.

Nearly all of the public was strongly against America's 2003 invasion of Iraq, and any deployment of troops[citation needed]. This position was shared by the SPD/Green government, which led to some friction with the United States.

In August 2006, the German government disclosed a botched plot to bomb two German trains. The attack was to occur in July 2006 and involved a 21-year-old Lebanese man, identified only as Youssef Mohammed E. H. Prosecutors said Youssef and another man left suitcases stuffed with crude propane-gas bombs on the trains.

As of February 2007, Germany had about 3,000 NATO-led International Security Assistance Force force in Afghanistan as part of the War on Terrorism, the third largest contingent after the United States (14,000) and the United Kingdom (5,200).[18] German forces are mostly in the more secure north of the country.

However, Germany, along with some other larger European countries (with the exception of the UK and the Netherlands), have been criticised by the UK and Canada for not sharing the burden of the more intensive combat operations in southern Afghanistan.[19][20]

Global initiatives[edit]

Humanitarian aid[edit]

Germany is the largest net contributors of the United Nations and has several development agencies working in Africa and the Middle East. The development policy of the Federal Republic of Germany is an independent area of German foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and carried out by the implementing organisations. The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community.[21] It is the world's third biggest aid donor after the United States and France.[22] Germany spent 0.37 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on development, which is below the government's target of increasing aid to 0.51 per cent of GDP by 2010. The international target of 0.7% of GNP would have not been reached either.

Ecological involvement[edit]

International organizations[edit]

Germany is a member of the Council of Europe, European Union, European Space Agency, G4, G8, International Monetary Fund, NATO, OECD, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, UN, World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization.

European Union[edit]

European integration has gone a long way since the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the Elysée Treaty. Peaceful collaborations with its neighbors remain one of Germany's biggest political objectives, and Germany has been on the forefront of most achievements made in European integration:

Most of the social issues facing European countries in general: immigration, aging populations, straining social-welfare and pension systems – are all important in Germany. Germany seeks to maintain peace through the "deepening" of integration among current members of the European Union member states

Germany has been the largest net contributor to EU budgets for decades (in absolute terms – given Germany's comparatively large population – not per capita) and seeks to limit the growth of these net payments in the enlarged union.


Under the doctrine introduced by the 2003 Defense Policy Guidelines, Germany continues to give priority to the transatlantic partnership with the United States through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. However, Germany is giving increasing attention to coordinating its policies with the European Union through the Common Foreign and Security Policy.


The German Federal Government began an initiative to obtain a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, as part of the Reform of the United Nations. This would require approval of a two-thirds majority of the member states and approval of all five Security Council veto powers.

This aspiration could be successful due to Germany's good relations with the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation. Germany is a stable and democratic republic and a G7 country which are also favourable attributes. The United Kingdom and France support German ascension to the supreme body.[23] The U.S. is sending mixed signals.


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Egypt 1957-12 See Egypt–Germany relations

Egypt has an embassy in Berlin, as well as consulates in Frankfurt and Hamburg. Germany has an embassy in Cairo.

 Libya See Germany–Libya relations

Germany is represented in Libya with an embassy in Tripoli, while Libya has an embassy in Berlin. The relationship between these countries was tense in the late 1980s following a bombing incident, but has improved since with increasingly close co-operation especially on economic matters.[24][25]

 Namibia See Germany–Namibia relations

Peter Katjavivi, a founder of the University of Namibia and longtime South West Africa People's Organization member, has been the Namibian ambassador in Berlin since 2006.[26]


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Argentina See Argentina–Germany relations
 Barbados 1967-03-14 See Barbados–Germany relations
  • Diplomatic relations between the two states were broken during the First World War.
  • Relations were restored after the war under the agreement concluded on 20 July 1921.[29][30]
  • Around 375,000 Bolivians are of German descent and some presidents were of German descent.
  • See also: Ethnic Germans in Bolivia
 Canada See Canada–Germany relations

Until 2005 Canada's embassy was in Bonn, but in April 2005 a new embassy opened in Berlin. Canada also operates consulates in Munich, Düsseldorf and Hamburg. The provinces of Ontario and Alberta have representatives in Germany, co-located in the consulates. Quebec runs a stand-alone bureau in Munich, with an “antenne culturelle” office in Berlin. In addition to its embassy in Ottawa, Germany maintains consulates in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Additional diplomats responsible for specialized files are also accredited from Washington.

 Colombia 1882
  • Colombia has an embassy in Berlin, a consulate-general in Frankfurt and three honorary consulates in Bremen, Hamburg and Stuttgart.
  • Germany has an embassy in Bogotá and three honorary consulates in Cali, Cartagena and Medellin.
 Mexico 1879-01-23 See Germany–Mexico relations
 Paraguay 1860-08-01
 United States See Germany–United States relations

Since 2006, the current chancellor Angela Merkel has sought warmer relations with the United States and to rebuild political ties on common values and beliefs.

  • Germany has an embassy in Washington, and consulates-general in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco.[37]
  • United States has an embassy in Berlin and consulates-general in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig and Munich.[38]
  • See also: German American
 Uruguay See Germany–Uruguay relations

Germany has an embassy in Montevideo. Uruguay has an embassy in Berlin, a general consulate in Hamburg and 6 honorary consulate (in Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Potsdam and Stuttgart). Germany is the Uruguay's principal trading partner in the European Union.[39]


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Afghanistan ~1919 See Afghanistan–Germany relations
  • German was one of the first nations to recognise Afghan sovereignty, following the Soviet Union in 1919.[40]
  • Germany maintains an embassy in Kabul,[41] and Afghanistan an embassy in Berlin and a consulate in Bonn.[42]
  • Afghanistan and Germany established close ties in 1935, as Afghanistan sought to break from their historical patterns of British and Russian alignment. Afghanistan resisted calls from Moscow and London to expel the Italian and German diplomatic corps for most of World War II.[43]
 Bangladesh 1972

After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 East Germany was the third country in the world, and the first country in Europe, to officially recognise Bangladesh in 1972.[46] Bangladesh also warmly greeted German reunification. As an economic power as well as an important member of the European Union (EU), Germany is a reliable partner of Bangladesh in development cooperation.After establishment of diplomatic relations, the bilateral relations between the two countries began to grow steadily. Bangladesh is a priority partner country of German Development Cooperation (GTZ). In trade with Germany, Bangladesh has for years recorded a large surplus. Germany is the second largest export market of Bangladesh after the US. The cultural relationship of both the countries is very strong. The cultural cooperation between them is mainly channeled through the Goethe Institute that work on developing the cultural ties between both the countries by sponsoring local and German cultural activities.Both Germany and Bangladesh share common views on various international issues and work together in the UN and in other international forum. They have maintained and developed close and friendly relations in a wide range of field. The two countries are harmonized together by their commitment to various sectors mutually agreed upon, which is expected to be strengthened further in future.

 Brunei 1 May 1984 See Brunei–Germany relations

Brunei has an embassy in Berlin, and Germany has an embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan.[47]

 China See China–Germany relations

Germany has good relationships with the People's Republic of China, even though Angela Merkel and large parts of Germany's political class have recently criticised the People's Republic for holding back reforms in the field of democracy and human rights. In recent years trade between them has reached high volumes, both in import and exports.

 Georgia See Foreign relations of Georgia#Europe

During the Cold War India maintained diplomatic relations with both West Germany and East Germany. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the reunification of Germany, relations have further improved. The German ambassador to India, Bernd Mutzelburg, once said that India and Germany, are not just 'natural partners', but important countries in a globalised world. Germany is India's largest trade partner in Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited India recently, as did the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visit Germany. Both countries have been working towards gaining permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. As both countries are strong liberal democracies, they have similar objectives. UN reforms, fighting terrorism and climate change, and promotion of science, education, technology, and human rights, are some areas of shared interests, and collaboration between these two countries. Culturally too, Indian and German writers and philosophers, have influenced each other.[48] Recently, Germany has invested in developing education and skills amongst rural Indians. Germany was one of the first countries to agree with the Indo-US Nuclear deal.

 Indonesia 1952
  • Indonesia and Germany have traditionally enjoyed good, intensive and wide-ranging relations.
  • Germany and Indonesia, as the largest members of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), respectively, take similar positions on many issues relating to the development of the two regional organizations.[59]
  • Indonesia has an Embassy in Berlin
  • Germany has an Embassy in Jakarta
 Iraq See Germany–Iraq relations
  • Iraq has an embassy in Berlin.
  • Germany has an embassy in Baghdad.
  • There are currently some 84,000–150,000 Iraqis living in Germany.
 Israel See Germany–Israel relations

Germany-Israel relations refers to the special relationship between Israel and Germany based on shared beliefs, Western values and a combination of historical perspectives.[60] Among the most important factors in their relations is Nazi Germany's role in the genocide of European Jews during the Holocaust.[61] Following German history during the Holocaust, one of Postwar Germany's aims were to establish and maintain relations of Wiedergutmachung with the State of Israel. Starting with the Reparations Agreement in 1952, support for the national security of the State of Israel is central to German foreign policy. Germany has been actively involved in the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in 1979, the Oslo Accords (1993) which led to the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty in 1994 and the continuous Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which make Germany arguably (next to the United States) Israel's closest ally.

 Japan See Germany–Japan relations

Regular meetings between the two countries have led to several cooperations. In 2004 German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi agreed upon cooperations in the assistance for reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan,[62][63] the promotion of economic exchange activities,[64] youth and sports exchanges[65] as well as exchanges and cooperation in science, technology and academic fields.[66] After China, Japan is Germany's principal trading partner in Asia in 2006:[67]

 Malaysia See Germany–Malaysia relations
  • Germany has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Berlin.
 Pakistan See Germany–Pakistan relations

Pakistan and Germany enjoy extremely close, warm and historical relations.[68][69] Germany is Pakistan's fourth largest trading partner and biggest trading partner in the EU. Germany has been a reliable partner in trade, development, military, scientific and cultural co-operation.the collaboration between Germany and Pakistan dates back to the creation of Pakistan. Germany has an embassy in Islamabad, a consulate-general in Karachi and an honorary consulate in Lahore, whereas Pakistan has an embassy in Berlin and a Consulate-General in Frankfurt. Germany is home to 53,668 Pakistani immigrants.

 Philippines See Germany–Philippines relations

The relation between Germany and the Philippines remain strong and positive. On 1955 an agreement was signed which led to a dynamic cooperation between the two countries. Germany has an embassy in Manila and the Philippines has an embassy in Berlin.

 Singapore See Germany–Singapore relations
  • Singapore has an embassy in Berlin and Germany has an embassy in Singapore.
 North Korea 2001-03-01[70] See Foreign relations of North Korea
 South Korea 1883-11-26[71]/As West Germany 1955-12-01 [72] See Germany–South Korea relations



Being the historic core of Europe and the "twin engine for European integration", the cooperation with France is one of the most central elements of German foreign policy. The Elysée Treaty from 1963 set the foundation for a collaboration that – next to the European project – also repeatedly called for a "Core Union" with maximum integration.[75]

Balkan states[edit]

See also: Cold War II
The European Union and the Eurozone

The German government was a strong supporter of the enlargement of NATO.

Germany was one of the first nations to recognize Croatia and Slovenia as independent nations, rejecting the concept of Yugoslavia as the only legitimate political order in the Balkans (unlike other European powers, who first proposed a pro-Belgrade policy). This is why Serb authorities sometimes referred to "new German imperialism" as one of the main reasons for Yugoslavia's collapse. German troops participate in the multinational efforts to bring "peace and stability" to the Balkans.

Central Europe[edit]

Weimar triangle (France, Germany and Poland); Germany continues to be active economically in the states of Central Europe, and to actively support the development of democratic institutions. In the 2000s, Germany has been arguably the centerpiece of the European Union (though the importance of France cannot be overlooked in this connection).

Table of foreign relations[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Armenia See Armenia–Germany relations

Armenian-German relations have always been stable and solid; they continue to work together and advance through the years in cooperation. Their leaders have discussed bilateral relations and noted that they have considerably improved over the last few years.[76]

 Austria See Austria–Germany relations

Relations between them are close because as countries have strong historical and cultural ties.

 Belarus 1999
 Belgium See Foreign relations of Belgium
 Bulgaria See Bulgaria–Germany relations

The Bulgarian government views Germany as its key strategic partner in the EU.

 Croatia 1992-01-15 See Croatia–Germany relations
 Cyprus 1960 See Cyprus–Germany relations
 Czech Republic See Czech Republic–Germany relations

Today, they share 815 km of common borders. The Czech Republic has an embassy in Berlin, three general consulates (in Bonn, Dresden and Munich), and 6 honorary consulates (in Dortmund, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Rostock and Stuttgart). Germany has an embassy in Prague.

 Denmark See Denmark–Germany relations

Denmark has an embassy in Berlin and three General consulates in Flensburg, Hamburg and Munich. They border each other.

 Finland See Finland–Germany relations
 France See France–Germany relations

In recent times, France and Germany are among the most enthusiastic proponents of the further integration of the EU. They are sometimes described as the "twin engine" or "core countries" pushing for moves.

The two countries were arch enemies for centuries and fought against each other in World War I and World War II.

 Greece 1834 (Prussia)
 Hungary 1973-12-21 See Germany–Hungary relations
 Ireland 1922
Irish Ambassador William Warnock with the German Foreign Ministry official Dr. Heß, after signing a trade agreement in 1961
 Italy See Germany–Italy relations
 Kosovo See Germany–Kosovo relations
  • Germany recognized Kosovo on 20 February 2008.[92]
  • Germany has an embassy in Pristina since 27 February 2008.[93]
  • Kosovo will open an embassy in Berlin.
  • Germany is the second-largest donor to Kosovo, behind the United States.[94]
 Latvia 1920 and again 1991-08-28
 Malta 1965
 Moldova 1992-04-30 See Germany–Moldova relations
  • Relations were established following the unification of Germany in 1871.
  • During the First World War, the German army refrained from attacking the Netherlands, and thus relations between the two states were preserved. At war's end in 1918, the former Kaiser Wilhelm II fled to the Netherlands, where he lived till his death in 1941.
  • The German army occupied the Netherlands during the Second World War and kept the country under occupation in 1940–1945.
 Poland See Germany–Poland relations

During the Cold War, communist Poland had good relations with East Germany, but had strained relations with West Germany. After the fall of communism, Poland and the reunited Germany have had a mostly positive but occasionally strained relationship due to some political issues. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Germany has been a proponent of Poland's participation in NATO and the European Union. The Polish-German border is 467 km long.[104]

 Romania 1872
 Russia See Germany–Russia relations

Germany tries to keep Russia engaged with the rest of the Western world. The future aim is to promote a stable market-economy liberal democracy in Russia, which is part of the Western world.

 Serbia 1951 See Germany–Serbia relations
 Slovakia 1993
 Slovenia 1992

See Germany–Slovenia relations

  • Germany has an embassy in Ljubljana
  • Slovenia has an embassy in Berlin, and a general consulate in Munich
  • Relations have been strong with cultural and economic cooperation.
  • Germany has an embassy in Stockholm.
  • Sweden has an embassy in Berlin.
  • Sweden also has 12 honorary consulates in Germany.
  Switzerland See Germany–Switzerland relations
 Turkey See Germany–Turkey relations

Based on good Turkish-German relations from the 19th century onwards, Germany promoted a Turkish immigration to Germany. However, large scale didn't occur until the 20th century. Germany suffered an acute labor shortage after World War II and, in 1961, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) officially invited Turkish workers to Germany to fill in this void, particularly to work in the factories that helped fuel Germany's economic miracle. The German authorities named these people Gastarbeiter (German for guest workers). Most Turks in Germany trace their ancestry to Central and Eastern Anatolia. Today, Turks are Germany's largest ethnic minority and form most of Germany's Muslim minority. Berlin is home to about 250,000 Turks,[109] making it the largest Turkish community outside of Turkey.

 Ukraine See Germany–Ukraine relations
 United Kingdom See Germany–United Kingdom relations
  • The United Kingdom has an embassy in Berlin and Consulate Generals in Düsseldorf and Munich. The United Kingdom also has Honorary Consulates in Bremen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Kiel, Nürnberg and Stuttgart.[110][111][112]
  • Germany has an embassy in London and a Consulate General in Edinburgh. German also has Honorary Consulates in Aberdeen, Barrow on Humber, Belfast, Coventry, Bristol, Cardiff, Dover, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, Kirkwall, Leeds, Lerwick, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle upon Tyne, Plymouth and Southampton.[113][114][115]
  • Both countries are members of the EU and NATO.
  Vatican City See Germany–Holy See relations

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

European diplomacy[edit]

  • Albrecht-Carrié, René. A Diplomatic History of Europe Since the Congress of Vienna (1958), 736pp; a basic introduction that gives context to Germany's roles
  • Kennedy, Paul. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (1989) excerpt and text search; very wide ranging, with much on economic power
  • Langer, William. An Encyclopedia of World History (5th ed. 1973), very detailed outline
  • Langer, William. European Alliances and Alignments 1870-1890 (2nd ed. 1950); advanced coverage of Bismarckian system
  • Langer, William L. The Diplomacy of Imperialism 1890-1902 (2 vol, 1935)
  • Macmillan, Margaret. The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 (2013) cover 1890s to 1914; see esp. ch 3-5, 8,
  • Mowat, R. B. A History of European Diplomacy 1815-1914 (1922), basic introduction
  • Schroeder, Paul W. The Transformation of European Politics 1763-1848 (1996)
  • Steiner, Zara. The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919-1933 (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Steiner, Zara. The Triumph of the Dark: European International History 1933-1939 (2011) excerpt and text search
  • Taylor, A. J. P. The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 1848–1918 (1957) excerpt and text search, advanced coverage of all major powers

German diplomacy[edit]

  • Bark, Dennis L., and David R. Gress. A History of West Germany. Vol. 1: From Shadow to Substance, 1945–1963. Vol. 2: Democracy and Its Discontents, 1963–1991 (1993), the standard scholarly history
  • Brandenburg, Erich. From Bismarck to the World War;: A history of German foreign policy, 1870-1914 (1933)
  • Cole, Alistair. Franco-German Relations (2000)
  • Feldman, Lily Gardner. Germany's Foreign Policy of Reconciliation: From Enmity to Amity (Rowman & Littlefield; 2012) 393 pages; on German relations with France, Israel, Poland, and Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic. excerpt and text search
  • Geiss, Imanuel. German foreign policy, 1871-1914 (1976)
  • Haftendorn, Helga. German Foreign Policy Since 1945 (2006), 441pp
  • Hanrieder, Wolfram F. Germany, America, Europe: Forty Years of German Foreign Policy (1991)
  • Heuser, Beatrice. NATO, Britain, France & the FRG: Nuclear Strategies & Forces for Europe, 1949-2000 (1997) 256pp
  • Junker, Detlef, ed. The United States and Germany in the Era of the Cold War (2 vol 2004), 150 short essays by scholars covering 1945–1990 excerpt and text search vol 1; excerpt and text search vol 2
  • Kimmich, Christoph. German Foreign Policy 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (2nd ed. Scholarly Resources, 1991) 264 pp.
  • Maulucci Jr., Thomas W. Adenauer's Foreign Office: West German Diplomacy in the Shadow of the Third Reich (2012) excerpt and text search
  • Schwarz, Hans-Peter. Konrad Adenauer: A German Politician and Statesman in a Period of War, Revolution and Reconstruction (2 vol 1995) excerpt and text search vol 2; also full text vol 1; and full text vol 2
  • Sontag, Raymond James. Germany and England: Background of Conflict, 1848-1898 (1938)
  • Spang, Christian W. and Rolf-Harald Wippich, eds. Japanese-German Relations, 1895-1945: War, Diplomacy and Public Opinion (2006)
  • Young, William. German Diplomatic Relations 1871-1945: The Wilhelmstrasse and the Formulation of Foreign Policy (2006); how the foreign ministry shaped policy

External links[edit]