U.S. Relations With Germany

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Fact Sheet
December 21, 2016

More information about Germany is available on the Germany Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


Following U.S. independence from Great Britain, the United States established the first Consulate on German soil in Hamburg in June 1790, and the second one in Bremen in 1794, both independent German states at the time. The United States established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Prussia in 1797, then the German Empire in 1871. U.S.-German relations were terminated in 1917 during World War I, and the United States declared war on Germany. Relations were reestablished in 1921, but were severed again in 1941 during World War II when Nazi Germany declared war on the United States. After the war, Germany was divided into four zones occupied by Allied powers; Berlin also was divided. In 1955, the United States established diplomatic relations with West Germany, which had been created out of the U.S., British, and French zones. The United States established diplomatic relations in 1974 with East Germany, which had been created from the Soviet Union's zone. West Germany and East Germany were unified in 1990.

Germany is one of the United States’ closest and strongest allies in Europe. U.S. relations with Germany are based on our close and vital relationship, as friends, trading partners, and allies sharing common institutions. Our political, economic, and security relationships, critical to shared prosperity and continued stability, are based on extensive people-to-people ties and close coordination at the most senior levels. Most recently, the United States and Germany have been working closely together to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, negotiate a political solution to the crisis in Syria, and to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

In the political sphere, Germany stands at the center of European affairs and plays a key leadership role as a member of the G-7, G-20, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The United States and Germany work side by side to maintain peace and freedom and Germany plays an important role in NATO’s core mission of collective defense. In 2016, Germany held the Chairmanship of the OSCE where they helped continue the OSCE’s important work preventing conflict, promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and encouraging open and transparent economies. The United States recognizes that the security and prosperity of the United States and Germany significantly depend on each other.

As allies in NATO, the United States and Germany work side by side to maintain peace and freedom. Germany plays an important role in NATO’s core mission of collective defense, serving as a framework nation for NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. U.S. and German troops work together effectively in NATO and UN operations worldwide due in part to the joint training and capacity-building performed at U.S. military installations in Germany. The two countries have extended their diplomatic cooperation into military cooperation by maintaining peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans and Africa, and working together to encourage the evolution of open and democratic states throughout central and Eastern Europe. Germany was an integral part of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and is a Framework Nation in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. German and U.S. maritime forces also are deployed to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, Germany has been a reliable U.S. ally in efforts against terrorism and combating foreign fighters and is a key member of the counter-ISIL coalition.

U.S. Assistance to Germany

The United States provides no development assistance to Germany.

Bilateral Economic Relations

As two of the world's leading trading nations, the United States and Germany share a commitment to an open and expanding world economy. Our deep economic ties are based on dynamic and growing trade and investment. Germany is a member of the European Union and is the largest European economy.

In 2015, the United States became Germany’s fourth largest supplier of goods and the U.S. became Germany’s leading export market. Germany exported goods worth more than $125 billion to the United States and U.S. exports to Germany totaled $50 billion.

The U.S. and German trade relationship is driven by massive mutual investment. In 2015, German direct investment in the United States was worth $255 billion, while U.S. direct investment in Germany was worth $108 billion. German investments in the United States focus largely on manufacturing and wholesale, as well as finance and insurance. Altogether, U.S. affiliates of German firms employ over 670,000 American workers. Together, our companies represent over one million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The U.S.-German Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation affords U.S. investors national treatment and provides for the free movement of capital between the United States and Germany. Taxation of U.S. firms within Germany is governed by a protocol on the avoidance of double taxation.

Germany's Membership in International Organizations

Germany and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, G-20, G-7, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Germany also is an observer to the Organization of American States.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Germany is John B. Emerson; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Germany maintains an embassy in the United States at 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-298-4000).

More information about Germany is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Germany Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Germany Page
U.S. Embassy: Germany
History of U.S. Relations With Germany
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information