The move is reported to be temporary, apparently so the nation can digest thousands of insurgents ostensibly fleeing poverty and violence.
Germany is a signatory of the Schengen agreement that effectively erases the requirement for passports allowing travel to move freely between participating nations.
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Germany’s open-door policy to refugees appeared to be unravelling tonight following the country's reinstatement of border controls to curb the overwhelming influx of migrants.
Europe’s top economy halted all trains from Austria and, in an historic move, temporarily suspended the open borders Schengen agreement in response to the arrival of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in recent days.
The decision marks a dramatic shift away from the current abolishment of passport checks throughout Europe's Schengen zone.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said: 'At this moment Germany is temporarily introducing border controls again along [the EU's] internal borders. The focus will be on the border to Austria at first.
'The aim of these measures is to limit the current inflows to Germany and to return to orderly procedures when people enter the country.
Mr de Maiziere added: 'This step has become necessary. The great readiness to help that Germany has shown in recent weeks... must not be overstretched.'
The Interior Minister did not specify how long the border controls would remain in place or give details of exactly how incoming migrants would be handled.
He said there could be disruption to rail travel.
Most migrants have been arriving by train, with 800,000 in total expected to arrive this year.
Germany's national railway, Deutsche Bahn, said it had halted service between Austria and Germany for 12 hours at authorities' orders.
Tonight, officials were seen carrying out the first passport checks at the country's border with Austria.
Three Syrian migrants were stopped at the Freilassing crossing and told to remain on the side of the road in the Bavarian commune close to Austria's Salzburg, after German officers looked at their papers.
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