German Federal Foreign Office

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Group.png German Federal Foreign Office  
(Foreign MinistryWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Auswärtiges Amt Logo.png
Parent organizationGermany
HeadquartersBerlin, Germany
Leaders• State Secretary at the German Federal Foreign Office
• Germany/Minister/Foreign Affairs
Sponsor ofEuropean Leadership Network, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy Network, M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, European Platform for Democratic Elections, German Council on Foreign Relations, Global Disinformation Index
The German Foreign Ministry

The Federal Foreign Office (German: Auswärtiges Amt) is the foreign ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany, a federal agency responsible for both the country's foreign policy and its relationship with the European Union. It is a cabinet-level ministry. The primary seat of the ministry is in the historic center of Berlin.

During the Cold War, the West German Foreign Ministry was in Bonn, while the East German one remained in Berlin.

An exclusive club

Right from the start, the Auswärtiges Amt was very socially exclusive. To join, one needed a university degree, preferably in jurisprudence and needed to prove that one had a considerable private income.[1] In 1880, a candidate had to prove that he had a private income of at least 6,000 marks/annum in order to join; by 1900, the requirement was 10,000 marks/annum and by 1912, a candidate needed at least 15,000 marks/annum to join.{[2] This requirement explains why so many German diplomats married richer women because without the wealth of their wives they would never had been able to join the Auswärtiges Amt.

The income requirement to enter the AA was only dropped in 1918.[3] Aristocrats were very much overrepresented in the Auswärtiges Amt. During the Imperial period, 69% of the 548 men who served in the Auswärtiges Amt were noblemen, and every single ambassador during the Second Reich was an aristocrat.[3] The most important department by far was the Political Department which between 1871-1918 was 61% aristocratic; middle-class men tended to serve in the less important Legal, Trade and Colonial Departments. In the 19th century, it was believed that only aristocrats had the proper social standing and graces to correctly represent the Reich abroad as ambassadors, which explains why no commoner was ever appointed ambassador during the Imperial era.

Additionally, during the entire duration of the "old" Auswärtiges Amt from 1871 to 1945, Roman Catholics were underrepresented in the Auswärtiges Amt, comprising between 15–20% of the AA's personnel. The Auswärtiges Amt was largely a Protestant institution with Protestant candidates favored over Catholic candidates when it came to recruitment. Even more underrepresented were the Jews. During the Imperial period from 1871 to 1918, the Auswärtiges Amt had only three Jewish members, plus four Jews who had converted to Lutheranism in order to improve their career prospects. There were also meritocratic elements within the AA. Besides for the income requirement, to enter the AA during the Imperial period, only candidates with the best grades at university and who knew two foreign languages were considered, and to join one had to pass what was widely considered to be one of the toughest diplomatic entrance exams in the world.


Employees on Wikispooks

Peter AmmonState Secretary20082011
Folkmar StoeckerCivil Servant in the Planning Staff19821985Attended Bilderberg/1982
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  1. Röhl, John C. G. (1994) Kaiser, Hof und Staat : Wilhelm II. und die deutsche Politik, page 152
  2. Röhl, John C. G. (1994) Kaiser, Hof und Staat : Wilhelm II. und die deutsche Politik, page 151
  3. a b Röhl 1994, p. 152.