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Federal Republic of Germany
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357,000 sq. km. (137,821 sq. mi.); about the size of Montana.
(population about 3.4 million). Other cities--Hamburg (1.7 million), Munich
(1.2 million), Cologne (964,000), Frankfurt (644,000), Essen (603,000), Dortmund
(592,000), Stuttgart (582,000), Dusseldorf (568,000), Bremen (543,000), Hanover
Terrain: Low plain in the north; high plains, hills, and basins
in the center and east; mountainous alpine region in the south.
cooler and rainier than much of the United States.
Noun and adjective--German(s).
Population (2005 est.): 82 million.
groups: Primarily German; Danish minority in the north, Sorbian (Slavic) minority
in the east; 7.3 million foreign residents.
Religions: Protestants (26 million);
Roman Catholics (26 million); approximately 3.2 million Muslims.
Education: Years compulsory--10; attendance--100%; literacy--99%.
Infant mortality rate (1998 est.)--5.0/1,000; life expectancy (1999
est.)--women 80 years, men 74 years.
Persons employed (2001 avg.): 38.8 million;
unemployed (2001 avg.): 3.9 million--9.1% of labor force.
Founded: 1949 (Basic Law, i.e., Constitution, promulgated
on May 23, 1949). On October 3, 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany and the
German Democratic Republic unified in accordance with Article 23 of the F.R.G.
Branches: Executive--president (titular chief of state),
chancellor (executive head of government); legislative--bicameral parliament;
judicial--independent, Federal Constitutional Court.
divisions: 16 Laender (states).
Major political parties: Social Democratic
Party (SPD); Christian Democratic Union (CDU); Christian Social Union (CSU); Alliance
90/Greens; Free Democratic Party (FDP); Left Party (LP)/Party of Democratic Socialism
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
(2001): $1.8 trillion.
Annual growth rate (2001): 0.6%; (2003 est.): 0.5%.
capita income: $22,900.
Inflation rate (consumer prices, 2001): 2.5%.
resources: Iron, hard coal, lignite, potash, natural gas.
for 1% of GDP): Products--corn, wheat, potatoes, sugar, beets, barley,
hops, viticulture, forestry, fisheries.
Industry (34% of GDP): Types--iron
and steel, coal, chemicals, electrical products, ships, vehicles, construction.
(2001): Exports--$628 billion: chemicals, motor vehicles, iron and steel
products, manufactured goods, electrical products. Major markets--France,
U.S., and U.K. Imports--$594 billion: food, petroleum products, manufactured
goods, electrical products, motor vehicles, apparel. Major suppliers--France,
inhabitants of Germany are ethnic German. There are, however, more than 7 million
foreign residents, including asylees, guest workers, and their dependents. Germany
is a prime destination for political and economic refugees from many developing
countries. An ethnic Danish minority lives in the north, and a small Slavic minority
known as the Sorbs lives in eastern Germany.
has one of the world's highest levels of education, technological development,
and economic productivity. Since the end of World War II, the number of youths
entering universities has more than tripled, and the trade and technical schools
of the Federal Republic of Germany (F.R.G.) are among the world's best. With a
per capita income level of more than $22,900, Germany is a broadly middle class
society. A generous social welfare system provides for universal medical care,
unemployment compensation, and other social needs. Millions of Germans travel
abroad each year.
With unification on October
3, 1990, Germany began the major task of bringing the standard of living of Germans
in the former German Democratic Republic (G.D.R.) up to that of western Germany.
This has been a lengthy and difficult process due to the relative inefficiency
of industrial enterprises in the former G.D.R., difficulties in resolving property
ownership in eastern Germany, and the inadequate infrastructure and environmental
damage that resulted from years of mismanagement under communist rule.
uncertainty in eastern Germany is often cited as one factor contributing to extremist
violence, primarily from the political right. Confusion about the causes of the
current hardships and a need to place blame has found expression in harassment
and violence by some Germans directed toward foreigners, particularly non-Europeans.
The vast majority of Germans condemn such violence.
rise of Prussian power in the 19th century, supported by growing German nationalism,
eventually ended in the formation of the German empire in 1871 under the chancellorship
of Otto von Bismarck. Political parties developed during the empire, and Bismarck
was credited with passing the most advanced social welfare legislation of the
However, Emperor William II's dynamic
expansion of military power contributed to tensions on the continent. The fragile
European balance of power, which Bismarck had helped to create, broke down in
1914. World War I and its aftermath, including the Treaty of Versailles, ended
the German Empire.
Fascism's Rise and
The postwar Weimar Republic (1919-33) was established as a broadly
democratic state, but the government was severely handicapped and eventually doomed
by economic problems and the rise of the political extremes. The hyperinflation
of 1923, the world depression that began in 1929, and the social unrest stemming
from resentment toward the conditions of the Versailles Treaty worked to destroy
the Weimar government.
The National Socialist
(Nazi) Party, led by Adolf Hitler, stressed nationalist and racist themes while
promising to put the unemployed back to work. The party blamed many of Germany's
ills on the alleged influence of Jewish and non-German ethnic groups. The party
also gained support in response to fears of growing communist strength. In the
1932 elections, the Nazis won a third of the vote. In a fragmented party structure,
this gave the Nazis a powerful parliamentary caucus, and Hitler was asked to form
a government. He quickly declined. The Republic eroded and Hitler had himself
nominated as Reich Chancellor January 1933. After President Paul von Hindenburg
died in 1934, Hitler assumed that office as well. Once in power, Hitler and his
party first undermined and then abolished democratic institutions and opposition
parties. The Nazi leadership immediately jailed Jewish opposition and other figures
and withdrew their political rights. The Nazis implemented a program of genocide,
at first through incarceration and forced labor and then by establishing death
camps. Nazi revanchism and expansionism led to World War II, which resulted in
the destruction of Germany's political and economic infrastructures and led to
After Germany's unconditional
surrender on May 8, 1945, the United States, the United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R.
and, later, France occupied the country and assumed responsibility for its administration.
The commanders in chief exercised supreme authority in their respective zones
and acted in concert on questions affecting the whole country.
United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union agreed at Potsdam in August
1945 to treat Germany as a single economic unit with some central administrative
departments in a decentralized framework. However, Soviet policy turned increasingly
toward dominating that part of Europe where their armies were present, including
eastern Germany. In 1948, the Soviets, in an attempt to abrogate agreements for
Four-Power control of the city, blockaded Berlin. Until May 1949, the Allied-occupied
part of Berlin was kept supplied only by an Allied airlift. The "Berlin airlift"
succeeded in forcing the Soviets to accept, for the time being, the Allied role
and the continuation of freedom in a portion of the city, West Berlin.
Developments in West Germany
The United States and the United Kingdom moved
to establish a nucleus for a future German government by creating a central Economic
Council for their two zones. The program later provided for a constituent assembly,
an occupation statute governing relations between the Allies and the German authorities,
and the political and economic merger of the French with the British and American
zones. The western portion of the country became the Federal Republic of Germany.
On May 23, 1949, the Basic Law, which came
to be known as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, was promulgated.
Konrad Adenauer became the first federal Chancellor on September 20, 1949. The
next day, the occupation statute came into force, granting powers of self-government
with certain exceptions.
The F.R.G. quickly
progressed toward fuller sovereignty and association with its European neighbors
and the Atlantic community. The London and Paris agreements of 1954 restored full
sovereignty (with some exceptions) to the F.R.G. in May 1955 and opened the way
for German membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the
Western European Union (WEU).
Western Allies retained occupation powers in Berlin and certain responsibilities
for Germany as a whole, including responsibility for the determination of Germany's
eastern borders. Under the new arrangements, the Allies stationed troops within
the F.R.G. for NATO defense, pursuant to stationing and status-of-forces agreements.
With the exception of 45,000 French troops, Allied forces were under NATO's joint
defense command. (France withdrew from NATO's military command structure in 1966.)
Political life in the F.R.G. was remarkably
stable and orderly. After Adenauer's chancellorship (1949-63), Ludwig Erhard (1963-66)
and Kurt Georg Kiesinger (1966-69) served as Chancellor. Between 1949 and 1966
the united caucus of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social
Union (CSU), either alone or with the smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP), formed
the government. Kiesinger's 1966-69 "Grand Coalition" included the F.R.G.'s two
largest parties, CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). After the 1969
election, the SPD, headed by Willy Brandt, formed a coalition government with
the FDP. Brandt resigned in May 1974, after a senior member of his staff was uncovered
as an East German spy.
Helmut Schmidt (SPD)
succeeded Brandt, serving as Chancellor from 1974 to 1982. Hans-Dietrich Genscher,
a leading FDP official, became Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister, a position
he would hold until 1992.
In October 1982,
the FDP joined forces with the CDU/CSU to make CDU Chairman Helmut Kohl the Chancellor.
Following national elections in March 1983, Kohl emerged in firm control of both
the government and the CDU. He served until the CDU's election defeat in 1997.
In 1983, a new political party, the Greens, entered the Bundestag for the first
Political Developments in East
In the Soviet zone, the Communist Party forced the Social Democratic
Party to merge in 1946 to form the Socialist Unity Party (SED). Under Soviet direction,
a constitution was drafted on May 30, 1949, and adopted on October 7 when the
German Democratic Republic was proclaimed. On October 11, 1949, a SED government
under Wilhelm Pieck was established. The Soviet Union and its East European allies
immediately recognized the G.D.R. The United States and most other countries did
not recognize the G.D.R. until a series of agreements in 1972-73.
G.D.R. established the structures of a single-party, centralized, communist state.
On July 23, 1952, the G.D.R. abolished the traditional Laender and established
14 Bezirke (districts). Formally, there existed a "National Front"--an umbrella
organization nominally consisting of the SED, four other political parties controlled
and directed by the SED, and the four principal mass organizations (youth, trade
unions, women, and culture). However, control was clearly and solely in the hands
of the SED. Balloting in G.D.R. elections was not secret. On July 17, 1953, East
Germans revolted against totalitarian rule. The F.R.G. marked the bloody revolt
by making the date the West German National Day, which remained until reunification.
the 1950s, East Germans fled to the West by the millions. The Soviets made the
inner German border increasingly tight, but Berlin's Four-Power status countered
such restrictions. Berlin thus became an escape point for even greater numbers
of East Germans. On August 13, 1961, the G.D.R. began building a wall through
the center of Berlin, slowing down the flood of refugees and dividing the city.
The Berlin Wall became the symbol of the East's political debility and the division
In 1969, Chancellor Brandt announced
that the F.R.G. would remain firmly rooted in the Atlantic Alliance but would
intensify efforts to improve relations with Eastern Europe and the G.D.R. The
F.R.G. commenced this "Ostpolitik" by negotiating nonaggression treaties with
the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Based upon Brandt's
policies, in 1971 the Four Powers concluded a Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin
to address practical questions the division posed, without prejudice to each party's
view of the city's Four Power status.
F.R.G.'s relations with the G.D.R. posed particularly difficult questions. Though
anxious to relieve serious hardships for divided families and to reduce friction,
the F.R.G. under Brandt was intent on holding to its concept of "two German states
in one German nation." Relations improved, however, and in September 1973, the
F.R.G. and the G.D.R. were admitted to the United Nations. The two Germanys exchanged
permanent representatives in 1974, and, in 1987, G.D.R. head of state Erich Honecker
paid an official visit to the F.R.G.
During the summer of 1989, rapid changes took place in the
G.D.R. Pressures for political opening throughout Eastern Europe had not seemed
to affect the G.D.R. regime. However, Hungary ended its border restrictions with
Austria, and a growing flood of East Germans began to take advantage of this route
to West Germany. Thousands of East Germans also tried to reach the West by staging
sit-ins at F.R.G. diplomatic facilities in other East European capitals. The exodus
generated demands within the G.D.R. for political change, and mass demonstrations
in several cities--particularly in Leipzig--continued to grow. On October 7, Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Berlin to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the
establishment of the G.D.R. and urged the East German leadership to pursue reform.
On October 18, Erich Honecker resigned and
was replaced by Egon Krenz. The exodus continued unabated, and pressure for political
reform mounted. Finally, on November 9, the G.D.R. allowed East Germans to travel
freely. Thousands poured through the Berlin Wall into the western sectors of Berlin.
The Wall was opened.
On November 28, F.R.G
.Chancellor Kohl outlined a 10-point plan for the peaceful unification of the
two Germanys. In December, the G.D.R. Volkskammer eliminated the SED's monopoly
on power. The SED changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS),
and numerous political groups and parties formed. The communist system had been
eliminated. A new Prime Minister, Hans Modrow, headed a caretaker government that
shared power with the new, democratically oriented parties.
early February 1990, Chancellor Kohl rejected the Modrow government's proposal
for a unified, neutral Germany. Kohl affirmed that a unified Germany must be a
member of NATO. Finally, on March 18, the first free elections were held in the
G.D.R., and Lothar de Maiziere (CDU) formed a government under a policy of expeditious
unification with the F.R.G. The freely elected representatives of the Volkskammer
held their first session on April 5, and the G.D.R. peacefully evolved from a
communist to a democratically elected government.
Power Control Ends
In 1990, as a necessary step for German unification
and in parallel with internal German developments, the two German states and the
Four Powers--the United States, U.K., France, and the Soviet Union--negotiated
to end Four Power reserved rights for Berlin and Germany as a whole. These "Two-plus-Four"
negotiations were mandated at the Ottawa Open Skies conference on February 13,
1990. The six foreign ministers met four times in the ensuing months in Bonn (May
5), Berlin (June 22), Paris (July 17), and Moscow (September 12). The Polish Foreign
Minister participated in the part of the Paris meeting that dealt with the Polish-German
Of key importance was overcoming
Soviet objections to a united Germany's membership in NATO. The Alliance was already
responding to the changing circumstances, and, in NATO, issued the London Declaration
on a transformed NATO. On July 16, after a bilateral meeting, Gorbachev and Kohl
announced an agreement in principle to permit a united Germany in NATO. This cleared
the way for the signing of the "Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to
Germany" in Moscow on September 12. In addition to terminating Four Power rights,
the treaty mandated the withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Germany by the end
of 1994. This made it clear that the current borders were final and definitive,
and specified the right of a united Germany to belong to NATO. It also provided
for the continued presence of British, French, and American troops in Berlin during
the interim period of the Soviet withdrawal. In the treaty, the Germans renounced
nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and stated their intention to reduce
German armed forces to 370,000 within 3 to 4 years after the Conventional Armed
Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, signed in Paris on November 19, 1990, entered into
German unification could then proceed.
In accordance with Article 23 of the F.R.G.'s Basic Law, the five Laender (which
had been reestablished in the G.D.R.) acceded to the F.R.G. on October 3, 1990.
The F.R.G. proclaimed October 3 as its new national day. On December 2, 1990,
all-German elections were held for the first time since 1933.
AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The government is parliamentary, and a democratic
constitution emphasizes the protection of individual liberty and division of powers
in a federal structure. The chancellor (prime minister) heads the executive branch
of the federal government. The duties of the president (chief of state) are largely
ceremonial; the chancellor exercises executive power. The Bundestag (lower, principal
chamber of the parliament) elects the chancellor. The president is elected every
5 years on May 23 by the Federal Assembly, a body convoked only for this purpose,
comprising the entire Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates.
Bundestag, which serves a 4-year term, consists of at least twice the number of
electoral districts in the country (299). When parties' directly elected seats
exceed their proportional representation, they may receive more seats. The number
of seats in the Bundestag was reduced to 598 for the 2002 elections. The Bundesrat
(upper chamber or Federal Council) consists of 69 members who are delegates of
the 16 Laender (states). The legislature has powers of exclusive jurisdiction
and concurrent jurisdiction with the Laender in areas specified in the Basic Law.
The Bundestag has primary legislative authority. The Bundesrat must concur on
legislation concerning revenue shared by federal and state governments and those
imposing responsibilities on the states.
has an independent federal judiciary consisting of a constitutional court, a high
court of justice, and courts with jurisdiction in administrative, financial, labor,
and social matters. The highest court is the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal
Constitutional Court), which ensures a uniform interpretation of constitutional
provisions and protects the fundamental rights of the individual citizen as defined
in the Basic Law.
Democratic Party (SPD). The SPD is one of the oldest organized political parties
in the world. It originally advocated Marxist principles. In 1959, in the Godesberg
Program, the SPD abandoned the concept of a class party while continuing to stress
social welfare programs. Although the SPD originally opposed West Germany's 1955
entry into NATO, it now strongly supports German ties with the Alliance. Gerhard
Schroeder led the party to victory in 2002 on a platform strongly opposing the
war in Iraq. The SPD has a powerful base in the bigger cities and industrialized
Christian Democratic Union/Christian
Social Union (CDU/CSU). An important aspect of postwar German politics was
the emergence of a moderate Christian party--the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)--operating
in alliance with a related Bavarian party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). Although
each party maintains its own structure, the two form a common caucus in the Bundestag
and do not run opposing campaigns. The CDU/CSU has adherents among Catholics,
Protestants, rural interests, and members of all economic classes. It is generally
conservative on economic and social policy and more identified with the Roman
Catholic and Protestant churches.
90/Greens. In the late 1970s, environmentalists organized politically as the
Greens. Opposition to nuclear power, military power, and certain aspects of highly
industrialized society were principal campaign issues. In the December 1990 all-German
elections, the Greens merged with the Eastern German Alliance 90, a loose grouping
of civil rights activists with diverse political views. The Greens joined a federal
government for the first time in 1998, forming a coalition with the SPD.
Democratic Party (FDP). The FDP has traditionally been composed mainly of
middle and upper class Protestants, who consider themselves heirs to the European
liberal tradition. The party has participated in all but three postwar federal
governments and has spent only 8 years out of government in the 50-year history
of the Federal Republic.
Left Party (LP)/Party
of Democratic Socialism (PDS). Spurred by common opposition to Agenda 2010
and Hartz IV reforms, in July 2005 the PDS and the WASG (Wahlalternative Soziale
Gerechtigkeit) agreed to form a left alliance for the 2005 Bundestag elections.
The alliance agreed on the name “Left Party,” with the option of listing PDS afterward.
The WASG was established in late 2004 by western leftists, trade unionists, SPD
dissidents, and former PDS members. The PDS was established in December 1989 as
the successor party to the SED (the communist party of the G.D.R.). It has renounced
most of the extreme aspects of SED policy but retains much of its Marxist leanings.
Other parties. In addition to those
parties that won representation in the Bundestag in 2005, a variety of minor parties
won a cumulative 2.7% of the vote, down from 3.0% in 2002. Several other parties
were on the ballot in one or more states but did not qualify for representation
in the federal Bundestag.
The 2005 federal elections were held after Chancellor Schroeder
asked for a Bundestag "vote of confidence" in the SPD-Greens coalition. The July
1, 2005 confidence motion failed, and President Koehler called for elections to
be held on September 18, 2005, a year earlier than planned. The results of the
2005 Bundestag elections are as follows:
several weeks of negotiations, the CDU/CSU and SPD agreed to form a “grand coalition”
under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Angela Merkel and the new cabinet
were sworn in on November 22, 2005.
President--Horst Köhler (CDU)
President of the
Bundestag--Nobert Lammert (CDU)
Chancellor--Angela Merkel (CDU)
and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs--Franz Muentefering (SPD)
of Foreign Affairs--Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD)
Minister of Defense--Franz
Josef Jung (CSU)
Minister of Finance--Peer Streinbrueck (SPD)
Interior--Wolfgang Schaeuble (CDU)
maintains an Embassy in the United States
at 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-298-4000). Consulates
general are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles,
Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. Germany has honorary consuls in more
than 30 U.S. cities.
Germany is the world's third-largest economy and the largest in Europe. Recent
performance has not been dynamic, however, and the German economy is vulnerable
to external shocks, domestic structural problems, and continued difficulties in
integrating the formerly communist east.
the 1948 currency reform until the early 1970s, West Germany experienced almost
continuous economic expansion. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed
down, and even declined, from the mid-1970s through the recession of the early
1980s. The economy then experienced 8 consecutive years of growth that ended with
a downturn beginning in late 1992. Since unification, Germany has seen annual
average real growth of only about 1.5% and stubbornly high unemployment. The best
performance since unification was in 2000, when real growth reached 3.0%. Although
final figures are not yet available, most forecasters expected growth of about
0.5% for 2003, with unemployment rising to 10.4%.
often describe their economic system as a "social market economy." The German
Government provides an extensive array of social services. The state intervenes
in the economy by providing subsidies to selected sectors and by owning some segments
of the economy, while promoting competition and free enterprise. The government
has restructured the railroad system on a corporate basis, privatized the national
airline, and is privatizing telecommunications and postal services.
German economy is heavily export-oriented, with exports accounting for more than
one-third of national output. As a result, exports traditionally have been a key
element in German macroeconomic expansion. Germany is a strong advocate of closer
European economic integration, and its economic and commercial policies are increasingly
determined within the European Union (EU). Germany uses the common European currency,
the euro, and the European Central Bank sets monetary policy.
this external vulnerability, most foreign and German experts consider domestic
structural problems to be the main cause of recent sluggish performance. An inflexible
labor market is the main cause of persistently high unemployment. Heavy bureaucratic
regulations burden many businesses and the process of starting new businesses.
German employers, even during periods of relatively fast growth, say they often
prefer to invest overseas or install more machinery, rather than make job-creating
investments at their domestic facilities.
years after reunification (October 3, 1990), Germany has made great progress in
raising the standard of living in eastern Germany, introducing a market economy
and improving its infrastructure. At the same time, the process of convergence
between east and west is taking longer than originally expected and, on some measures,
has stagnated since the mid-1990s. Eastern economic growth rates have been lower
than in the west in recent years, unemployment is twice as high, prompting many
skilled easterners to seek work in the west, and productivity continues to lag.
Eastern consumption levels are dependent on public net financial transfers from
west to east totaling about $11.5 billion per year. In addition to social assistance
payments, the government will extend funds to promote eastern economic development
The United States is Germany's
second-largest trading partner, and U.S.-German trade has continued to grow strongly.
Two-way trade in goods totaled $89.1 billion in 2002. U.S. exports to Germany
were $26.6 billion while U.S. imports from Germany were more than $62.5 billion.
At $35.8 billion, the U.S.'s fifth-largest trade deficit is with Germany. Major
U.S. export categories include aircraft, electrical equipment, telecommunications
equipment, data processing equipment, and motor vehicles and parts. German export
sales are concentrated in motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, and heavy electrical
equipment. Much bilateral trade is intra-industry or intra-firm.
has a liberal foreign investment policy. From 1998 to 2001, annual average flows
of U.S. direct investment in Germany were $5.4 billion, while those of German
investors in the United States reached $27.2 billion. U.S. firms employ about
800,000 people in Germany; German firms likewise employ about 800,000 people in
the United States.
Despite persistence of
structural rigidities in the labor market and extensive government regulation,
the economy remains strong and internationally competitive. Although production
costs are very high, Germany is still an export powerhouse. Additionally, Germany
is strategically placed to take advantage of the rapidly growing central European
countries. The current government has addressed some of the country's structural
problems, with important tax, social security, and financial sector reforms.
Germany continues to emphasize close ties with the United States,
membership in NATO, and the "deepening" of integration among current members of
the EU. The Federal Republic of Germany took part in all of the joint postwar
efforts aimed at closer political, economic, and defense cooperation among the
countries of western Europe. Germany has been a large net contributor to the EU
budget. Germany also is a strong supporter of the United Nations and of the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
the postwar era, the Federal Republic of Germany also sought to improve its relationship
with the countries of eastern Europe, first establishing trade agreements and,
subsequently, diplomatic relations. With unification, German relations with the
new democracies in central and eastern Europe intensified. On November 14, 1990,
Germany and Poland signed a treaty confirming the Oder-Neisse border. They also
concluded a cooperation treaty on June 17, 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 G.D.R., and German
support for those troops. Russia accepted obligations under these treaties as
successor to the Soviet Union. Germany continues to be active economically in
the states of central and eastern Europe and to actively support the development
of democratic institutions, bilaterally and through the EU.
after World War II, Berlin became the seat of the Allied Control Council, which
was to have governed Germany as a whole until the conclusion of a peace settlement.
In 1948, however, the Soviets refused to participate any longer in the quadripartite
administration of Germany. They also refused to continue the joint administration
of Berlin and drove the government elected by the people of Berlin out of its
seat in the Soviet sector and installed a communist regime in its place. From
then until unification, the Western Allies continued to exercise supreme authority--effective
only in their sectors--through the Allied Kommandatura. To the degree compatible
with the city's special status, however, they turned over control and management
of city affairs to the Berlin Senat (executive) and House of Representatives,
governing bodies established by constitutional process and chosen by free elections.
The Allies and German authorities in the F.R.G. and West Berlin never recognized
the communist city regime in East Berlin or G.D.R. authority there.
the years of Berlin's isolation--176 kilometers (110 mi.) inside the former G.D.R.--the
Western Allies encouraged a close relationship between the Government of West
Berlin and that of the F.R.G. Representatives of the city participated as nonvoting
members in the F.R.G. parliament; appropriate West German agencies, such as the
supreme administrative court, had their permanent seats in the city; and the governing
mayor of Berlin took his turn as President of the Bundesrat. In addition, the
Allies carefully consulted with the F.R.G. and Berlin Governments on foreign policy
questions involving unification and the status of Berlin.
1948 and 1990, major events such as fairs and festivals took place in West Berlin,
and the F.R.G. encouraged investment in commerce by special concessionary tax
legislation. The results of such efforts, combined with effective city administration
and the Berliners' energy and spirit, were encouraging. Berlin's morale remained
high, and its industrial production considerably surpassed its prewar level.
Final Settlement Treaty ended Berlin's special status as a separate area under
Four Power control. Under the terms of the treaty between the F.R.G. and the G.D.R.,
Berlin became the capital of a unified Germany. The Bundestag voted in June 1991
to make Berlin the seat of government. The Government of Germany asked the Allies
to maintain a military presence in Berlin until the complete withdrawal of the
Western Group of Forces (ex-Soviet) from the territory of the former G.D.R. The
Russian withdrawal was completed August 31, 1994. On September 8, 1994, ceremonies
marked the final departure of Western Allied troops from Berlin.
1999, the formal seat of the federal government moved from Bonn to Berlin. Berlin
also is one of the Federal Republic's 16 Laender.
U.S.-German relations have been a focal point of American involvement
in Europe since the end of World War II. Germany stands at the center of European
affairs and is a key partner in U.S. relations with Europeans in NATO and the
German-American ties extend
back to the colonial era. More than 7 million Germans have immigrated over the
last three centuries, and today nearly a quarter of U.S. citizens claim German
ancestry. In recognition of this heritage and the importance of modern-day U.S.-German
ties, the U.S. President annually has proclaimed October 6, the date the first
German immigrants arrived in 1623, to be "German-American Day."
policy toward Germany remains the preservation and consolidation of a close and
vital relationship with Germany, not only as friends and trading partners, but
also as allies sharing common institutions. During the 45 years in which Germany
was divided, the U.S. role in Berlin and the large American military presence
in West Germany served as symbols of the U.S. commitment to the preservation of
peace and security in Europe. Since German unification, the U.S. commitment to
these goals has not changed. The U.S. made significant reductions in its troop
levels in Germany after the Cold War ended, and, on July 12, 1994, President Clinton
"cased the colors" at the Berlin Brigade's deactivation ceremony. The U.S., however,
continues to recognize that the security and prosperity of the United States and
Germany significantly depend on each other.
allies in NATO, the United States and Germany work side by side to maintain peace
and freedom. This unity and resolve made possible the successful conclusion of
the 1987 U.S.-U.S.S.R. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the Two-plus-Four
process--which led to the Final Settlement Treaty--and the November 1990 Conventional
Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. More recently, the two allies have cooperated
closely in peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans and have worked together to encourage
the evolution of open and democratic states throughout central and eastern Europe.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks
on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC,
Germany has been a reliable U.S. ally in the campaign against terrorism. As two
of the world's leading trading nations, the United States and Germany share a
common, deep-seated commitment to an open and expanding world economy. Personal
ties between the United States and Germany extend beyond immigration to include
intensive foreign exchange programs, booming tourism in both directions, and the
presence in Germany of large numbers of American military personnel and their
The United States and Germany
have built a solid foundation of bilateral cooperation in a relationship that
has changed significantly over nearly six decades. The historic unification of
Germany and the role the United States played in that process have served to strengthen
ties between the two countries.
political, economic, and security relationships continue to be based on close
consultation and coordination at the most senior levels. High-level visits take
place frequently, and the United States and Germany cooperate actively in international
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Chief of Mission--John A. Cloud
Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs--John
Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs--Stephen R. Pattison
for Economic Affairs--Robert Cekuta
Minister-Counselor for Management--Raymond
Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs--John K. Bauman
for Public Affairs--Anne Chermak
Chief, Office of Defense Cooperation--Col.
Defense Attaché--Col. Donald H. Zedler
Consulate General, Dusseldorf--George W. Knowles
Frankfurt--Peter W. Bodde
Consulate General, Hamburg--Duane C. Butcher
General, Leipzig--Mark D. Scheland
Consulate General, Munich--Matthew M. Rooney
U.S. Embassy in Germany is located
at Neustaedtische Kirchstrasse 4-5 10117 Berlin.
call the Embassy, the country code for Germany is 49, the city code for Berlin
is 30 (030 within Germany): tel: (49 30) 238-5174; fax (49 30) 238-6290. Consulates
General are located in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Munich. Mission
Germany maintains an informative web site at: http://berlin.usembassy.gov/.
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
Department of State's Consular Information Program provides Consular Information
Sheets, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements. Consular Information Sheets
exist for all countries and include information on entry requirements, currency
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security, political
disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in the country. Travel Warnings
are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to
a certain country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate
information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions
overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Free
copies of this information are available by calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs
at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Consular Information
Sheets and Travel Warnings also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet
home page: http://travel.state.gov/. Consular
Affairs Tips for Travelers publication series, which contain information on obtaining
passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are on the Internet and hard copies
can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office, telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.
information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained from the Office
of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. For after-hours emergencies,
Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000.
National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's
single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone:
1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service representatives and operators
for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time,
excluding federal holidays.
can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) and
a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm
give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements,
and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet
entitled Health Information for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280)
is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel.
Information on travel
conditions, visa requirements, currency and customs regulations, legal holidays,
and other items of interest to travelers also may be obtained before your departure
from a country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see
"Principal Government Officials" listing in this publication).
citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas are encouraged
their travel via the State Department’s travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/
or at the Consular section of the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country by filling
out a short form and sending in a copy of their passports. This may help family
members contact you in case of an emergency.
Department of State Web Site. Available on
the Internet at http://www.state.gov/, the Department
of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy
information, including Background Notes and
daily press briefings
along with the directory of key officers
of Foreign Service posts and more.
provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market information offered
by the federal government and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help
with the export process, and more.
a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides authoritative economic,
business, and international trade information from the Federal government. The
site includes current and historical trade-related releases, international market
research, trade opportunities, and country analysis and provides access to the
National Trade Data Bank.
US State Department