List of Chancellors of Germany

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Portrait of Otto von Bismarck, sitting at desk
Portrait of Adolf Hitler, standing
Drawing of Konrad Adenauer on TIME magazine cover
Portait of Helmut Kohl in front of European Flag

The Chancellor of Germany[1] is the political leader of Germany and the head of the Federal Government. The office holder is responsible for selecting all other members of the government and chairing Cabinet meetings.[2]

The office was created in the North German Confederation in 1867,[3] when Otto von Bismarck became the first Chancellor. With the unification of Germany and establishment of the German Empire in 1871, the Confederation evolved into a German nation-state and the office became known as the Chancellor of Germany.[4]

Originally, the Chancellor was only responsible to the Emperor. This changed with the constitutional reform in 1918, when the Parliament was given the right to dismiss the Chancellor. Under the 1919 Weimar Constitution the Chancellors were appointed by the directly elected President, but were responsible to Parliament.[5] The constitution was set aside during the 1933–1945 Nazi dictatorship. During Allied occupation, no independent German government and no Chancellor existed; and the office was not reconstituted in East Germany. The 1949 Basic Law made the Chancellor the most important office in West Germany, while diminishing the role of the President.[1]

In German, the title was Bundeskanzler ("Chancellor of the (Con)federation") in the North German Confederation and Reichskanzler ("Chancellor of the Realm") from the Unification of Germany until the title Bundeskanzler (now meaning "Federal Chancellor") was adopted again in 1949. The female form is Bundeskanzlerin.[6] The title is often shortened to Kanzler ("Chancellor") or its female form, Kanzlerin.[7] The Deputy to the Chancellor is widely, yet unofficially, known as Vice Chancellor (Vizekanzler).

North German Confederation, Bundeskanzler (1867–1871)

The North German Confederation came into existence after the falling apart of the German Confederation, itself caused by Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. The chancellor was appointed by the Prussian King.[8]

Political party

  None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party
Took office Left office Duration
Portrait Count
Otto von Bismarck
(1815–1898)
1 July
1867
21 March
1871
3 years, 263 days Non-partisan

German Empire, Reichskanzler (1871–1918)

The German Empire was born out of the North German Federation as result of the Franco-Prussian War. The newly created Emperor named the Chancellor to serve at his pleasure.[9]

Political parties

  Zentrum   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Cabinet
Took office Left office Duration
Portrait Prince
Otto von Bismarck
(1815–1898)
21 March
1871
20 March
1890
18 years, 364 days Non-partisan Bismarck
Portrait Count
Leo von Caprivi
(1831–1899)
20 March
1890
26 October
1894
4 years, 220 days Non-partisan Caprivi
Portrait Prince
Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
(1819–1901)
29 October
1894
17 October
1900
5 years, 353 days Non-partisan Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
Portrait Prince
Bernhard von Bülow
(1849–1929)
17 October
1900
14 July
1909
8 years, 270 days Non-partisan Bülow
Portrait Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
(1856–1921)
14 July
1909
13 July
1917
7 years, 364 days Non-partisan Bethmann-Hollweg
Portrait Georg Michaelis
(1857–1936)
14 July
1917
1 November
1917
110 days Non-partisan Michaelis
Portrait Count
Georg von Hertling
(1843–1919)
1 November
1917
30 September
1918
333 days Centre Party Hertling
Portrait Prince
Max von Baden
(1867–1929)
3 October
1918
9 November
1918
37 days Non-partisan Baden

Revolutionary period, Reichskanzler (1918–1919)

On 9 November 1918, Chancellor Max von Baden handed over his office to Friedrich Ebert. Ebert continued to serve as head of government during the three months between the end of the German Empire in November 1918 and the first gathering of the National Assembly in February 1919 as Chairman of the Council of the People's Deputies, until 29 December 1918 together with USPD Leader Hugo Haase.[10]

Political party

  SPD

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Cabinet
Took office Left office Duration
Portrait Friedrich Ebert
(1871–1925)
(Reichskanzler and
Vorsitz des Rates der Volksbeauftragten)
9 November
1918
13 February
1919
96 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Council of the People's Deputies

Weimar Republic, Reichskanzler (1919–1933)

The Weimar Constitution of 1919 set the framework for the Weimar Republic. The Chancellors were often dependent on support from the President.[1][5]

Political parties

  SPD   Zentrum   DVP   DDP   DNVP   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Cabinet Reichstag
Took office Left office Duration
Portrait Philipp Scheidemann
(1865–1939)
(Reichsministerpräsident)[a]
13 February
1919
20 June
1919
127 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Scheidemann Nat.Ass.
(1919)
Portrait Gustav Bauer
(1870–1944)
(Reichsministerpräsident;
from 14 August 1919
Reichskanzler)[a]
21 June
1919
26 March
1920
279 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Bauer
Portrait Hermann Müller
(1876–1931)
27 March
1920
21 June
1920
86 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Müller I
Portrait Constantin Fehrenbach
(1852–1926)
25 June
1920
4 May
1921
313 days Centre Party Fehrenbach 1
(1920)
Portrait Joseph Wirth
(1879–1956)
10 May
1921
14 November
1922
1 year, 188 days Centre Party Wirth I
Wirth II
Portrait Wilhelm Cuno
(1876–1933)
22 November
1922
12 August
1923
263 days Non-partisan Cuno
Portrait Gustav Stresemann
(1878–1929)
13 August
1923
30 November
1923
109 days German People's Party Stresemann I
Stresemann II
Portrait Wilhelm Marx
(1863–1946)
30 November
1923
15 January
1925
1 year, 46 days Centre Party Marx I
Marx II 2
(May.1924)
Portrait Hans Luther
(1879–1962)
15 January
1925
12 May
1926
1 year, 117 days Non-partisan Luther I 3
(Dec.1924)
Luther II
Portrait Wilhelm Marx
(1863–1946)
17 May
1926
12 June
1928
2 years, 26 days Centre Party Marx III
Marx IV
Portrait Hermann Müller
(1876–1931)
28 June
1928
27 March
1930
1 year, 272 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Müller II 4
(1928)
Portrait Heinrich Brüning
(1885–1970)
30 March
1930
30 May
1932
2 years, 61 days Centre Party Brüning I 5
(1930)
Brüning II
Portrait Franz von Papen
(1879–1969)
1 June
1932
17 November
1932
169 days Non-partisan Papen 6
(Jul.1932)
Portrait Kurt von Schleicher
(1882–1934)
3 December
1932
28 January
1933
56 days Non-partisan Schleicher 7
(Nov.1932)
  1. ^ a b The title of Chancellor was not formally used until the Weimar Constitution took effect. Instead Scheidemann and Bauer were appointed as Reichsministerpräsident (Minister-President or Prime Minister).

Nazi Germany, Reichskanzler (1933–1945)

Adolf Hitler's Machtergreifung (seizure of power) marked the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Nazi Germany. Hitler reigned as dictator and consolidated all power to himself.

Political parties

  NSDAP   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Cabinet Reichstag[a]
Took office Left office Duration
Portrait Adolf Hitler
(1889–1945)[b]
(Führer und Reichskanzler from 2 August 1934)
30 January
1933
30 April
1945
12 years, 90 days National Socialist
German Workers' Party
Hitler 8 (Mar. 1933)
9 (Nov. 1933)
10 (Mar. 1936)
11 (Apr. 1938)
Portrait Joseph Goebbels
(1897–1945)[b]
30 April
1945
1 May
1945
1 day National Socialist
German Workers' Party
(Cabinet nominated in Hitler's testament but never convened)
Portrait Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
(1887–1977)
(Leading Minister at Flensburg)[c]
2 May
1945
23 May
1945
21 days None
(non-partisan conservative)
Schwerin von Krosigk
  1. ^ No elections held during World War II. Last convened on 26 April 1942.
  2. ^ a b Committed suicide in office.
  3. ^ Arrested; government dissolved.[11]

Federal Republic of Germany, Bundeskanzler (1949–present)

In 1949, two separate German states were established: the Federal Republic of Germany (known as West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (known as East Germany). The list below gives the Chancellors of West Germany; the government of East Germany was headed by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.[12] In 1990, East Germany was dissolved as it merged with West Germany; Germany was reunified. It retained the name of the Federal Republic of Germany.[13]

Political parties

  CDU   SPD   FDP

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Cabinet Bundestag
Took office Left office Duration
Portrait Konrad Adenauer
(1876–1967)
15 September
1949
20 October
1953
14 years, 30 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Adenauer I
CDU/CSUFDPDP
1 (1949)
20 October
1953
29 October
1957
Adenauer II
CDU/CSUFDP/FVPDPGB/BHE
2 (1953)
29 October
1957
14 November
1961
Adenauer III
CDU/CSUDP
3 (1957)
14 November
1961
13 December
1962
Adenauer IV
CDU/CSUFDP
4 (1961)
14 December
1962
15 October
1963
Adenauer V
CDU/CSUFDP
Portrait Ludwig Erhard
(1897–1977)
16 October
1963
26 October
1965
3 years, 45 days No party membership;[14]
affiliated with the

Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Erhard I
CDU/CSUFDP
26 October
1965
30 November
1966
Erhard II
CDU/CSUFDP
5 (1965)
Portrait Kurt Georg Kiesinger
(1904–1988)
1 December
1966
21 October
1969
2 years, 324 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Kiesinger
CDU/CSUSPD
Portrait Willy Brandt
(1913–1992)
22 October
1969
15 December
1972
4 years, 197 days Social Democratic Party of Germany
(SPD)
Brandt I
SPDFDP
6 (1969)
15 December
1972
7 May
1974
Brandt II
SPDFDP
7 (1972)
Portrait Walter Scheel
(1919–2016)
Acting Chancellor[a]
7 May
1974
16 May
1974
9 days Free Democratic Party
(FDP)
(acting)
Portrait Helmut Schmidt
(1918–2015)
16 May
1974
14 December
1976
8 years, 138 days Social Democratic Party of Germany
(SPD)
Schmidt I
SPDFDP
16 December
1976
4 November
1980
Schmidt II
SPDFDP
8 (1976)
6 November
1980
1 October
1982
Schmidt III
SPDFDP
9 (1980)
Portrait Helmut Kohl
(1930–2017)
1 October
1982
29 March
1983
16 years, 26 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Kohl I
CDU/CSUFDP
30 March
1983
11 March
1987
Kohl II
CDU/CSUFDP
10 (1983)
12 March
1987
18 January
1991
Kohl III
CDU/CSUFDP
11 (1987)
18 January
1991
17 November
1994
Kohl IV
CDU/CSUFDP
12 (1990)
17 November
1994
27 October
1998
Kohl V
CDU/CSUFDP
13 (1994)
Portrait Gerhard Schröder
(1944–)
27 October
1998
22 October
2002
7 years, 26 days Social Democratic Party of Germany
(SPD)
Schröder I
SPDGreen
14 (1998)
22 October
2002
22 November
2005
Schröder II
SPDGreen
15 (2002)
Portrait Angela Merkel
(1954–)
22 November
2005
28 October
2009
12 years, 176 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Merkel I
CDU/CSUSPD
16 (2005)
28 October
2009
17 December
2013
Merkel II
CDU/CSUFDP
17 (2009)
17 December
2013
14 March
2018
Merkel III
CDU/CSUSPD
18 (2013)
14 March
2018
Incumbent Merkel IV
CDU/CSUSPD
19 (2017)
  1. ^ As Vice Chancellor under Brandt, Scheel served as acting Chancellor following Brandt's resignation.[15]

Timeline

1867–1945

Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk Joseph Goebbels Adolf Hitler Kurt von Schleicher Franz von Papen Heinrich Brüning Hans Luther Wilhelm Marx Gustav Stresemann Wilhelm Cuno Joseph Wirth Constantin Fehrenbach Hermann Müller Gustav Bauer Philipp Scheidemann Friedrich Ebert Maximilian of Baden Georg von Hertling Georg Michaelis Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg Bernhard von Bülow Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst Leo von Caprivi Otto von Bismarck

Since 1949

Angela Merkel Gerhard Schröder Helmut Kohl Helmut Schmidt Willy Brandt Kurt Georg Kiesinger Ludwig Erhard Konrad Adenauer

See also

Coat of arms of Germany.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Germany
Foreign relations

References

  1. ^ a b c "Neuland Grundgesetz | Abkehr von Weimarer Verfassung – Reaktion auf Nazi-Deutschland" [Virgin Soil "Basic Law" | Departure from Weimar Constitution - Reaction to Nazi Germany] (in German). Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "Tasks of the Federal Chancellor". bundeskanzlerin.de. The Press and Information Office of the Federal Government. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  3. ^ (in German) Wikisource link to Verfassung des Norddeutschen Bundes [North German Constitution]. Wikisource. 26 June 1867. 
  4. ^ (in English) Wikisource link to Constitution of the German Empire [Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs]. Wikisource. 16 April 1871. 
  5. ^ a b "The Seeds of Evil: The Rise of Hitler — The Constitution of the Weimar Republic". schoolshistory.org.uk. 2004. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "»Bundeskanzlerin« zum Wort des Jahres 2005 gewählt" [»Bundeskanzlerin« chosen as Word of the Year 2005] (Press release) (in German). Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache. 16 December 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  7. ^ The dictionary definition of Kanzlerin at Wiktionary
  8. ^ (in German) Wikisource link to Verfassung des Norddeutschen Bundes [North German Constitution]. Wikisource. 26 June 1867. 
  9. ^ (in English) Wikisource link to Constitution of the German Empire [Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs]. Wikisource. 16 April 1871. 
  10. ^ "Biografie Friedrich Ebert 1871-1925" [Biography of Friedrich Ebert]. www.dhm.de/lemo (in German). LeMO/Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  11. ^ Hillmann, Jörg; Zimmermann, John (2014) [2002]. "Die »Reichsregierung« in Flensburg" [The "Government" in Flensburg]. Kriegsende 1945 in Deutschland (in German). Munich: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. pp. 35–65. ISBN 978-3-486-83332-4. 
  12. ^ "Entstehung der DDR: Verfassung und Führungsrolle der SED" [Formation of the GDR: Constitution and the SED's Leadership Role]. www.hdg.de/lemo (in German). LeMO/Haus der Geschichte. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  13. ^ Vertrag zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands (Einigungsvertrag) [Unification Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic], 31 August 1990 (in German). Retrieved on 13 March 2018.
  14. ^ Jörges, Hans Ulrich; Wüllenweber, Walter (25 April 2007). "CDU-Altkanzler: Ludwig Erhard war nie CDU-Mitglied" (in German). Der Stern. Retrieved 8 April 2018. 
  15. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (24 August 2016). "Walter Scheel, Leading Figure in West German Thaw With the East, Dies at 97". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
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