Hauptinhalt

The History

From 1870 to the present day

The term "Auswärtiges Amt" was first used to designate the Foreign Office established in 1870 by the North German Confederation, which became the Foreign Office of the German Empire in 1871. This is still the name by which the German foreign ministry is known today. In Bismarck's time the Auswärtiges Amt had only two directorates: the Political Directorate and a second Directorate responsible for foreign trade and other issues as well as legal and consular matters. During the Weimar Republic the Foreign Service was reorganized along modern lines. Under the Third Reich the Auswärtiges Amt was part of the apparatus of dictatorship. Some members of the Foreign Service, however – men such as Ulrich von Hassell and Adam von Trott zu Solz – joined the German resistance and were put to death.

After World War II the Auswärtiges Amt was re-established on 15 March 1951 in Bonn. Over the years that followed the Federal Republic of Germany - with its Foreign Service - was systematically and successfully integrated into the western democratic world and relevant international organizations. Since the Federal Government's move back to Berlin in 1999 the Auswärtiges Amt has once again been based in the heart of Germany's capital.