The United States and Germany enjoy a long history of cultural ties, due to the large number of Germans who immigrated to the US, primarily during the 19th century. Relations during the first half of the 20th century were antagonistic as a result of wars in Europe, first World War I (1914-1918) and then World War II (1941-1945). After the end of the Second World War, the US became very involved in the post-war oversight of Germany in the wake of the Nazi government collapse and the sharing of political control with Great Britain and the Soviet Union. As part of the larger reconstruction of war-torn Europe, the US invested considerable money and attention to the rebuilding of German society—the western half at least, as Germany was divided between East and West as a result of the Cold War tussle between the US and the USSR.
Lay of the Land: Germany lies in the central heartland of Europe and is bordered by nine countries: Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. The land ranges from flat to mountainous (more than 8,000 foot above sea level in the Bavarian Alps), and from arid to fertile.
The first Germans arrived in America alongside the English in Jamestown in 1607, and from that point on outpaced all other nations (except England, initially) in immigration until the 1890s. Many Germans came to America for the religious liberty it offered; Catholics in Protestant provinces and Protestants from Catholic provinces traveled across the Atlantic for the opportunity to practice their religion without interference. When the first national census was carried out in 1790, Germans comprised 8.6% of the population. Pennsylvania was the main destination for these early arrivals, and the 1790 census found that 33% of the state’s population was German.
German-American 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 forums.
Since reunification, US foreign direct investment in Germany has more than tripled, while German investment in the US is roughly seven times what it was when the Berlin Wall fell. Germany has a liberal foreign investment policy. For 2007, German investment in the US amounted to $202.6 billion, while US investment in Germany was $107 billion. Germany is the US’s fifth largest trading partner.
On the whole, the State Department says Germany respects the human rights of its citizens. Problems that were cited in 2007 involved limitations on the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association aimed at groups deemed extremist. There was governmental and societal discrimination against some minority religious groups. Harassment of asylum seekers, violence against women, harassment of racial minorities and foreigners, anti-Semitic acts, and trafficking in persons were problems.
John Quincy Adams
Appointment: Jun 1, 1797
Presentation of Credentials: [Dec 5, 1797]
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 5, 1801
Note: Commissioned to Prussia; resident at Berlin. Formally received on Dec 5, 1797.
At a time of global economic crisis, with the European currency, the “Euro,” near collapse, Germany has sent an ambassador to the United States who has a doctorate in economics and whose career has focused mainly on economic issues. Peter Ammon presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on September 9, 2011.