DGAP’s History

The German Council on Foreign Relations or DGAP (an anagram stemming from its German name, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V.) can look back on a long history that began in 1945 with the founding of a journal.

1945 to 1949


On July 6, 1945, Wilhelm Cornides receives a “certificate of registration” for his editorial company Europa-Archiv (literally “Europe Archive”), the first step in his application for a license to establish a foreign policy journal in Frankfurt. Upon receiving approval from the occupation authority, the first edition appears in July 1946 with a circulation of 10,000. Later named Internationale Politik (IP), the journal bears the name Europa-Archiv until 1995.


The establishment of an archives section and the publication of the first volumes on international politics and economics in Germany form the foundation of the DGAP’s future library and information center.


Hermann Volle becomes editor of the journal and Wilhelm Cornides remains publisher.

1950 to 1959


Wilhelm Cornides and Theodor Steltzer, head of the Institute of European Politics and Economics in Frankfurt, visit the United States and make initial contact with American institutes, such as the Council on Foreign Relations.


Cornides and Steltzer hold preliminary talks on establishing a German institute with experts from Chatham House in London and representatives of German business and politics, including: Prof. Arnold Toynbee (Chatham House), Dr. Heinrich von Brentano (foreign minister of West Germany from 1955 to 1963), Dr. Günter Henle (managing director of Klöckner & Co.), Hermann J. Abs (CEO of Deutsche Bank), Wilhelm Beutler (chief executive of the Voice of German Industry), State Secretary Walter Hallstein, Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Grewe (head of the political department at the Foreign Office), Otto Wolff von Amerongen, Erich Ollenhauer (SPD), Dr. Gerhart Lütkens (SPD), and Federal President Theodor Heuss (FDP).


DGAP is founded on March 29, 1955, at the University of Bonn. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Dr. Günter Henle, and Prof. Dr. Hans Rothfels all deliver speeches.

Dr. Günter Henle is elected as DGAP’s first president. Theodor Steltzer becomes vice president.

The “DGAP Sponsors Association” is launched to support DGAP financially. Fifty-three companies join the association.

The DGAP Research Committee is formed, followed by the Academic Board of Directors. Arnold Bergstraesser is elected as the first director of the Research Institute.

DGAP’s headquarters is initially located in Frankfurt. An office is established in Bonn under the leadership of Dietrich Mende.


Ulrich Gembardt becomes director of the Research Institute.

DGAP launches the first volume of the yearbook Internationale Politik.

1960 to 1969


DGAP’s Research Institute, journal, and library move from Frankfurt to Bonn.

Walther Becker (former ambassador) becomes vice president.


Hans-Adolf Jacobsen is appointed director of the Research Institute.


In addition to his role as editor of Europa-Archiv, Wilhelm Cornides succeeds Hans-Adolf Jacobsen as director of the Research Institute.

Georg Federer (former ambassador) becomes vice president.


Wilhelm Cornides dies due to illness at 46 years of age.

Journalist Dr. Wolfgang Wagner becomes executive vice-president and goes on to succeed William Cornides in 1967 as director of the Research Institute and editor of Europa-Archiv.


Gebhardt von Walter (former ambassador) becomes vice president.

1970 to 1979


The Research Committee is replaced by the smaller Scientific Board.

Karl Carstens is appointed director of the Research Institute.


Kurt Birrenbach (Thyssen AG) is elected president of DGAP.

Prof. Dr. Karl Kaiser succeeds Karl Carstens as director of the Research Institute.


Herbert Trebesch (former admiral) becomes executive vice-president.

1980 to 1989


At DGAP’s twenty-fifth anniversary ceremony in Bonn, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher speaks about “German foreign policy for the 1980s.”


Günter Diehl (former ambassador) succeeds Kurt Birrenbach as president of DGAP.


Erich Straetling (former ambassador) becomes executive vice-president.


After 40 years as editor of Europa-Archiv, Hermann Volle is replaced by Dr. Jochen Thies.


C. Peter Henle (Klöckner & Co.) is elected president of DGAP.

DGAP’s library and information center join the “European Information Network on International Relations and Area Studies.”


Günter van Well (former ambassador) becomes executive vice-president.

1990 to 1999


Nelson Mandela speaks about South Africa’s future at DGAP.


The post of director of the Research Institute is renamed “Otto Wolff-Director” at a ceremony attended by Otto Wolff von Amerongen, a long-time DGAP sponsor, and former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.


Werner Lamby (VIAG AG) and Reinhard Schlagintweit (former ambassador) are elected president and executive vice-president of DGAP.

Dr. Angelika Volle assumes the editorship of Europa-Archiv.


Federal President Roman Herzog delivers his first foreign policy speech at a ceremony marking the fortieth anniversary of DGAP in Bonn.

Europa-Archiv is renamed Internationale Politik (IP) with Werner Weidenfeld as its publisher.

DGAP acquires the former Royal Yugoslavian embassy building in the Tiergarten district of Berlin. Its original staff consists of five employees preparing research and presentations.


Federal President Rita Süssmuth and Otto Wolff von Amerongen speak at a ceremony marking the fiftieth anniversary of Internationale Politik (IP) in Bonn.

Dieter von Würzen becomes executive vice-president.

DGAP, with the support of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, launches the “Forum on European Foreign Policy,” featuring summer schools, conferences, and meetings concerned with Europe’s emerging foreign policy.


Reinhard Schlagintweit (former ambassador) undertakes a second term as executive vice-president.


DGAP is relocated from Bonn to Berlin. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder speaks at the restored building’s inauguration at Rauchstraße 17/18. With the support of a number of DGAP members and partners such as the “Haus der Geschichte,” DGAP is able to continue their meetings and operations in Bonn even after the move.

Under the leadership of President Dr. Ulrich Cartellieri (Deutsche Bank) and his deputy Dr. Immo Stabreit (former ambassador), a new constitution is adopted and a new chairperson elected at the general assembly on November 24, 1999. The Executive Committee replaces the Managerial Presidium. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer speaks at the general assembly.

With the launch of the Berliner Forum Zukunft (Berlin Forum on the Future), DGAP concentrates on issues related to European and transatlantic security, including civil and military aviation and space flight.

2000 to 2009


IP – Transatlantic Edition (later re-named IP – Global Edition), the English edition of the journal IP, is published for the first time under editor Elizabeth Pond.

DGAP establishes “Arbeitsstelle Europa” to pursue discussions on European politics and to issue publications.


Hans-Dietrich Genscher (former Foreign Minister) becomes president of DGAP.

DGAP introduces a new comprehensive website at www.weltpolitik.net (later www.aussenpolitik.net).

DGAP establishes the “Arbeitsstelle USA/Transatlantische Beziehungen” (USA/Transatlantic Relations Program) for continuous analysis of American foreign policy and developments in transatlantic relations.


Leopold Bill von Bredow (former ambassador) becomes executive vice-president.


Alfred Freiherr von Oppenheim succeeds Hans-Dietrich Genscher as president of DGAP.

Prof. Dr. Eberhard Sandschneider (Freie Universität Berlin) is appointed Otto-Wolff-Director of the Research Institute.

Sabine Rosenbladt becomes editor-in-chief of Internationale Politik (IP).


Fritjof von Nordenskjöld (former ambassador) becomes executive vice-president.


Dr. Arend Oetker becomes president of DGAP.  He succeeds Alfred Freiherr von Oppenheim, who died unexpectedly at the age of 71.

DGAP’s fiftieth anniversary is celebrated at a large ceremony at the Berlin Philharmonic. Federal President Horst Köhler gives a speech paying tribute to DGAP’s role in formulating German foreign policy.

Prof. Dr. Werner Weidenfeld resigns from his post as publisher of Internationale Politik (IP). DGAP begins publishing IP in-house.

Internationale Politik (IP) appears in a new design and is now available both via subscription and at newsstands.


DGAP establishes the “Alfred von Oppenheim-Zentrum für Europäishe Zukunftsfragen” (Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Studies) to foster the debate on European policy.

Inauguration of DGAP’s Munich Forum with a lecture by Georg A. Boomgaarden, state secretary at the Foreign Office.

Chancellor Angela Merkel holds her first foreign policy speech at DGAP on “The Role of the European Union on the International Stage.”


A third DGAP forum is launched in Hamburg. The opening speech is delivered by Dr. Christoph Heusgen, the foreign and security policy advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.


DGAP’s Saxony Forum is founded at Wackerbarth Castle in Radebeul.


Dr. Sylke Tempel becomes editor-in-chief of IP. The journal changes its frequency of publication. Subscriptions to IP now include the English-language “Global Edition” as a supplement.

DGAP’s chapter in Bonn and the cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf are included in DGAP’s newly established North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) Forum. The forum is launched with presentations by Secretary of State Silberberg and by Head of the Chancellery Thomas de Maiziere.

2010 to 2019


Paul Freiherr von Maltzahn (former ambassador) is elected executive vice-president of DGAP.

The DGAP Foundation for Foreign Relations is established to assure the long-term financial viability of DGAP. As a benefactor of the foundation and founding member of DGAP, Berthold Beitz organizes a ceremony at the Villa Hügel in Essen.

DGAP’s Frankfurt Forum is founded in partnership with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper and Vontobel Bank. Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxemburg, speaks at the opening ceremony on the future of the European Monetary Union.


DGAP Consulting is founded as a subsidiary of the Sponsors Association of the DGAP e.V.  DGAP Consulting offers companies, organizations, and associations individual consulting services on all foreign policy issues. It also uses its profits to fund the charitable work of the DGAP e.V.


Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, delivers a significant keynote speech at DGAP in which she calls for an increase of funds for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which increased pressure on the German government.

In homage and remembrance of author and diplomat Ivo Andrićh, DGAP presented a reading of The Bridge Over the Drina, the Nobel Laureate’s most well-known work. From 1940 to 1941, Andrić was ambassador at the Yugoslavian Embassy on Rauchstraße in Berlin’s Tiergarten district, where DGAP’s offices are today.

Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière spoke on the realignment of the Bundeswehr at DGAP. Defense no longer means only national defense – it increasingly refers to the defense of alliances and international crisis prevention.


Dr. Harald Kindermann (former ambassador) is elected secretary general of DGAP.


DGAP celebrates its sixtieth anniversary.


As increasing challenges transform German foreign policy, DGAP transforms itself and reorganizes its management. Dr. Daniela Schwarzer becomes its director. Dr. Thorsten Klaßen becomes a member of its management board and is responsible for fundraising and administration.

DGAP and Germany’s Federal Foreign Office mourn the death of Dr. Sylke Tempel, then editor-in-chief of Internationale Politik (IP) and Berlin Policy Journal. She died on October 5, 2017 in an accident in Berlin.


Martin Bialecki takes over as editor-in-chief of the periodicals published by DGAP: Internationale Politik (IP) and Berlin Policy Journal.


DGAP strengthens its research work by reorienting it to better achieve cross-program synergies. In January, Future Forum Europe is established to foster joint reflection by politics and business on foreign policy. The conference spearheads a plea for strengthening Europe and maintaining the multilateral international order in 2019.

After more than 14 years as president of DGAP, Dr. Arend Oetker is succeeded by Dr. Thomas (“Tom”) Enders on June 13, 2019.

New formats further strengthen DGAP. Its foreign policy journal Internationale Politik (IP) is published in a new design. The introduction of a regional forum in Brussels provides more networking opportunities for DGAP members. 

2020 to today


DGAP demonstrates adaptability and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. It holds over 50 digital events providing more than 4,000 participants opportunities for exchange and discussion.

In addition to offering deep analysis of the pandemic’s impact on the global economy, DGAP makes significant contributions to the foreign policy debates around Germany’s EU Presidency and the US Presidential Election.

End of the Franco-German Future Dialogue after 13 years and launch of a new Think Tank Network on the Eastern Partnership.

Ambassador Rolf Nikel elected as DGAP’s vice president.


Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook becomes DGAP’s new director.

Active engagement with Germany’s federal election in September through publications, events, and campaigns. High-profile guests such as Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Defense Minister Annegret Kamp-Karrenbauer (CDU) deliver keynote speeches.

Focus on security and defense policy, especially in the context of the Bundeswehr's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

A program on climate foreign policy is established that is led by Dr. Kira Vinke.

Germany’s first “traffic light” coalition government is formed. It is so named for the colors that represent the three parties involved: red for the social democrats (SPD), yellow for the liberal democrats (FDP), and green for the green party. The coalition aims to adopt strategies in areas such as national security and climate foreign policy.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 marks a turning point for European security.

DGAP Morning Briefings become a key platform for expert debates. DGAP’s research agenda is dominated by the energy crisis and how to facilitate independence from Russian gas and oil.

Prof. Dr. Guntram Wolff and Dr. Monika Lüke assume their roles as DGAP’s director and administrative director, respectively. DGAP restructures into five thematic and regional centers.

The “Women@DGAP” series promotes exchange among female members and staff.


In 2023, DGAP maintains its role as a prominent analyst and advisor amid global conflicts, notably Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict. The organization critically assesses the German government’s responses in its “Action Group Zeitenwende” initiative.

DGAP introduces its new podcast, “BerlinsideOut,” which offers insights into German politics from an international perspective.

The year’s focus shifts toward climate change and migration, highlighted by DGAP’s active participation in COP28 in Dubai and follow-up discussions. The launch of an interactive climate glossary also marks a significant contribution to the discourse.

A new president and board for the Young DGAP are elected.