Minister of Intra-German Relations

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Federal Ministry of Intra-German Relations
Bundesministerium für innerdeutsche Beziehungen
Agency overview
Formed 20 September 1949
Dissolved 9 November 1989 (effectively)
18 January 1991 (formally)
Jurisdiction Government of Germany
Minister responsible

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 including Austria, parts of Switzerland, the Saar area and Alsace-Lorraine.[1]

The ministry was renamed in 1969 because "All-German" might have evoked irredentist associations. The change of the name was supported by both left- and right-wing politicians.[citation needed]

The ministry was abolished in 1991 when a new government was established after the federal election of December 1990, some months after German reunification, having supported the transition.

Since West Germany maintained an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, and the legal pretense that the authorities of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) or Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) should not be recognized, it could not handle relations with East Germany through the Federal Foreign Office, since this would 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, to keep the idea of German unity alive and to inform the public about actions of the East German government.

When German reunification became a possibility after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the inner German border on 9 November 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.


Political Party:   CDU   FDP   SPD

Image Party Term of Office Chancellor
Federal Minister of All-German Affairs
Jakob Kaiser
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-P001516, Jakob Kaiser.jpg CDU 20 September 1949 29 October 1957 Adenauer
(I • II)
Ernst Lemmer
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2007-0100, Ernst Lemmer.jpg CDU 29 October 1957 13 December 1962 Adenauer
(III • IV)
Rainer Barzel
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F029561-0005, Essen, CDU-Bundestagswahlkongress, Barzel.jpg CDU 14 December 1962 11 October 1963 Adenauer
Erich Mende
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-87989-0060, Erich Mende.jpg FDP 17 October 1963 28 October 1966 Erhard
Johann Baptist Gradl
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F023374-0014, Bonn, Plenarsitzung Bundesrat, Gradl.jpg CDU 28 October 1966 30 November 1966 Erhard
Herbert Wehner
Bundesarchiv Bild 175-Z02-00866, Herbert Wehner.jpg SPD 1 December 1966 21 October 1969 Kiesinger (I)
Federal Minister of Intra-German Relations
Egon Franke
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F048636-0022, Dortmund, SPD-Parteitag, Egon Franke.jpg SPD 22 October 1969 1 October 1982 Brandt (III)
Schmidt (III • III)
Rainer Barzel
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F029561-0005, Essen, CDU-Bundestagswahlkongress, Barzel.jpg CDU 4 October 1982 29 March 1983 Kohl
Heinrich Windelen
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F042655-0004, Bonn, Tagung CDU-CSU Bundesvorstand, Windelen (cropped).jpg CDU 30 March 1983 11 March 1987 Kohl
Dorothee Wilms
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F074179-0011, Bonn, Ministerin Wilms.jpg CDU 12 March 1987 18 January 1991 Kohl


  • BMgF (Hrsg.): SBZ von A-Z, Deutscher Bundes-Verlag, Bonn, 1. bis 10. Aufl., 1953 bis 1966, ca. 500 Seiten.
  • BMgF (Hrsg.): Sowjetische Auffassungen zur Deutschlandfrage 1945–1954. Dargestellt nach amtlichen Dokumenten, Deutscher Bundes-Verlag, Bonn, 1954.
  • BMgF (Hrsg.): Wer ist wer in der SBZ? Ein biographisches Handbuch, Verlag für Internationalen Kulturaustausch, Berlin, 1958.
  • BMgF (Hrsg.): Die Situation der Jugend im kommunistischen Herrschaftssystem der SBZ Deutschlands in Bonner Berichte aus Mittel- und Ostdeutschland, Bonn – Berlin, 1960.
  • BMgF (Hrsg.): Die Bemühungen der Bundesrepublik um Wiederherstellung der Einheit Deutschlands durch gesamtdeutsche Wahlen. Dokumente und Akten. I. Teil, Oktober 1949–Oktober 1953, Deutscher Bundes-Verlag, Bonn, 1958.

See also


  1. ^ Speech held at the party congress of Austrian People's Party in Salzburg, 2 March 1951. Quoted in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 January 1952, page 5
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