Document publications

Literature on the history of these publications is listed in our bibliography.


“Die Große Politik der europäischen Kabinette 1871–1914” ["The Grand Politics of the European Cabinets, 1871–1914"]

Collection of the diplomatic files of the Foreign Office. Compiled and edited on behalf of the Foreign Office by Johannes Lepsius, Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Friedrich Thimme. 40 volumes (including comments), Berlin 1922–1927, second edition 1924–1927.

Reference code: GP

“Große Politik”, which was published in the 1920s, comprises 40 volumes, many of which include various parts. The publication documents the background to the First World War from the foundation of the German Empire. Although the idea behind the work was to counter the blame attributed to Germany in the Treaty of Versailles for causing the First World War, “Große Politik” remains a useful introduction to the files of the German Empire and is sorted by topic.

Some of the material is also available online. A completely digitalised version is available in the Political Archive Reading Room. This version includes concordance lists to help users match the edited documents to the archives.

The book by Bernhard Schwertfeger,“Die diplomatischen Akten des Auswärtigen Amts 1871–1914. Ein Wegweiser durch das große Aktenwerk der Deutschen Regierung. Berlin 1924–1927” [“The Diplomatic Files of the Foreign Office, 1871–1914. A Guide to the German Government’s Extensive Collection of Files. Berlin, 1924–1927”] provides guidance on working with “Große Politik”. Schwertfeger lists the documents chronologically alongside their classification by topic.

“Die deutschen Dokumente zum Kriegsausbruch” [“The German Documents on the Outbreak of War”]

Complete collection of the official files, including some additional material, compiled by Karl Kautsky. Published by Graf Max Monteglas and Walter Schücking on behalf of the Foreign Office, following a review of the material by Monteglas, Schücking and Kautsky. Four volumes, Charlottenburg 1919; new edition with additional material, Berlin 1927.

Reference code: DD

In November 1918, the Council of the People’s Deputies commissioned the Social Democrat politician Karl Kautsky to review the Foreign Office’s files and to compile documentation on the outbreak of war in 1914. The collection was ready for printing as early as March 1919, but was only published in December of that year following revisions made at the request of the Foreign Office. The publication is reliable as regards the authenticity of the texts. However, it does not include certain important policy fields, as the selection of the documents was restricted to a few volumes of files on the First World War.

The first edition is available online. Several documents were added to the new edition published in 1927.

See here for digitzed versions of the original documents.

“L'Allemagne et les problèmes de la paix pendant la première guerre mondiale” [“Germany and the Problems of Peace during the First World War”]

Documents extraits des archives de l’Office allemand des Affaires étrangères (documents extracted from the archives of the German Foreign Office), André Scherer and Jacques Grunewald (eds.)  Four volumes, Paris 1962–1978.

Insufficient editorial attention has been paid to the Political Archive’s files from the period of the First World War. To date, only a collection of documents on an important aspect of the endeavours to reach peace has been published. This collection was produced by two French editors, who had previously worked on “Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik” [“Files on German Foreign Policy”]. Although the title of the publication is in French, the documents have been published in the original German. The original documents can be located in the archive holdings with the help of the film numbers provided in the collection.

“Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik 1918–1945” [“Files on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945”]

From the archives of the Federal Foreign Office. 75 volumes (plus registers), Baden-Baden, Frankfurt am Main, Göttingen 1950–1995.

Reference code: ADAP

While the files were still held by the Allies in Great Britain, the American, British and French started a joint project to publish important files dating from the period since the First World War. The material was edited by independent historians. German historians were also involved in the project from 1960. By the time the collection was concluded in 1995, it comprised 75 volumes. The documents were published chronologically, while briefs and registers were included with each volume. The original documents can be located in the archive holdings with the help of the film numbers provided in the collection.

The entire collection is available online.

“Adenauer und die Hohen Kommissare” [“Adenauer and the High Commissioners”]

Published by Hans-Peter Schwarz on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office. Two volumes, Munich 1989–1990.

This forerunner to “Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland” [“Files on the Foreign Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany”]  contains edited versions of the minutes of Federal Chancellor Adenauer’s meetings with the High Commissioners of the Western Allies between 1949 and 1952.

“Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland” [“Files on the Foreign Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany”]

Published by the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office. 25 volumes to date, Munich 1993 ff.

Reference code: AAPD

Each volume of the “Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland” [“Files on the Foreign Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany”] contains between 300 and 400 key documents from the holdings of the Political Archive that cover the most important aspects of the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany for the year in question. Independent historians selected and commented on the documents. The volumes are published annually following the end of the statutory 30-year rule. Each volume comprises two or three parts. To date (2016), volumes have been published for each year between 1949 and 1953 and between 1962 and 1985. The Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) is working on volumes for the missing years between 1954 and 1961. To date, the unabridged annual volumes for 1949 to 1953 and 1963 to 1970 are available online.

Full text of GP

Many volumes of the series are offered by the Internet Archive

Full text of DD

Offered by the Internet Archive

Full text of ADAP

Offered by the State Library of Bavaria (BSB)

Published AAPD volumes

List compiled by the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ)

Full text of AAPD

Comprising volumes for 1949-1953 and 1963-1970. Offered by De Gruyter publisher.