Saturday, 8 February 2014


Historically, the German state of Prussia and several smaller German states, had sent emissaries abroad prior to the establishment of the North German Confederation, the precursor to the modern State of Germany.
In 1874 Germany had only four embassies (in London, Paris, Saint Petersburg, and Vienna), but this was complemented by non-ambassadorial representation in the form of 14 ministerial posts (in Athens, Bern, Brussels, The Hague, Constantinople, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome, Stockholm, Peking, Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C., and to the Holy See), seven consulates-general with diplomatic status (in Alexandria, Belgrade, Bucharest, London, New York, Budapest, and Warsaw), and 37 consulates and vice-consulates headed by consular officers. By 1914 five additional embassies were established in Constantinople, Madrid, Rome, Washington, D.C., and Tokyo. The Foreign Office progressively reformed itself in this time to serve Germany's rising commercial and colonial interests abroad, as well as to reflect the professionalisation of diplomacy generally.
Politics of the Third Reich affected the Foreign Office. In 1933 the Reich Citizenship Act led to the forced retirement of over 120 tenured civil servants. Positions and structures were created to imbed NSDAP representatives, and the SS began to be posted abroad as "police attach├ęs". Under Joachim von Ribbentrop the Reich Foreign Ministry grew from 2,665 officers in 1938 to a peak of 6,458 in 1943, despite missions abroad closing as a consequence of the Second World War.
Germany's post-war diplomatic network started as early as 1949 with a mission in Paris to the newly formed Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The following year consulates-general were (re)opened in London, New York, Paris, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome, and Athens (until 1951 these were not embassies, as by virtue of the Occupation Statute the three allied powers had competence of foreign affairs; these consulates were intended to just manage commercial and consular affairs). West Germany's Foreign Office grew, and by the time of West Germany's reunification with East Germany in 1990 there were 214 diplomatic missions abroad.



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