The DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) was founded in 1900 in Leipzig by representatives of 86 clubs. Germany was represented in Paris when FIFA was founded by seven nations in May 1904, but the time the FIFA statutes came into effect on 1 September, Germany had also joined by Telegram. The DFB consolidated the large number of state-based German regional competitions in play for a single recognized national title.
The role of DFB and its representatives like Felix Linnemann during Nazi Germany was documented in „100 Jahre DFB“ and by Nils Havemann in Fußball unterm Hakenkreuz.. According to Gleichschaltung policy, the DFB, with its large membership from all political sides, and strong regional structures compared to weak national ones, submitted to new rulers and new Gau structures. On a short general meeting on 9 July 1933 in Berlin, the DFB did so, at least formally. Later, the Hitler salute was made compulsory, Marxists and Jews were expelled. Germany had done well in 1934, but after a 0-2 loss in the 1936 Summer Olympics, with Hitler attending, the DFB and football fell from grace. Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach and Hitlerjugend took over, putting Reichssportführer Hans von Tschammer und Osten in charge, making DFB officials even more powerless. Germany had made a bid to host the 1938 World Cup, but it was withdrawn without comment.
Following the Anschluss in March 1938 that made Austria part of Germany, the Austrian Football Association became part of the German federation. New coach Sepp Herberger was told on short notice to use also Austrian players in his team, which was eliminated in the first round of the WC, weakening the situation of football within Nazi politics to near meaninglessness. Internationally, Germans and the DFB were still present, with Ivo Schricker serving as General Secretary of FIFA from 1932 to December 1950, four Germans Jakob, Kitzinger, Goldbrunner and Lehner playing in a FIFA friendly in Amsterdam, and two (Albin Kitzinger und Anderl Kupfer) representing FIFA vs. a continental team.
In the aftermath of World War II, the FIFA decided in November 1945 to ban the DFB (and Japan) from international competition. This was only changed in 1949 when The Football Association requested FIFA to lift the ban on games. FIFA did so on 7 May 1949, two weeks before the Federal Republic of Germany was founded, requiring permission by the military governments of the time. Due to partition into several occupation zones and states, the DFB was legally re-founded in Stuttgart on 21 January 1950 only by the regional associations in West Germany, without the Saarland Football Association in the French occupied Saarland, which on 12 June 1950 would be recognized by FIFA as the first of three German FAs after the war. At the FIFA congress held on 22 June prior to the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Swiss Football Association requested that DFB is reinstated with full FIFA membership, which was granted on 22 September 1950 in Bruxelles. The teams of the DFB and the Saarland were squred off in the Qualifiers for the 1954 WC before the Saarland and its FA was permitted to rejoin Germany and the DFB in 1956.
In the early years of the division of Germany, West Germany claimed exclusive mandate of all of Germany. Unlike the IOC, which granted only provisonal recognition to the East Germans in 1955, demanding they participate in an All-German team, the FIFA fully recognized the East German Football Association in the mid-1950s. Upon reunification in 1990, the Deutscher Fußball Verband der DDR (DFV) was absorbed into the DFB .