List of Chancellors of Germany

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The Chancellor of Germany 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.

The office was created in the North German Confederation in 1867, 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. Bismarck, who was Chancellor until 1890, is the longest-serving Chancellor to this date.

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 to be appointed by the President, but were responsible to Parliament. The constitution was set aside during the 1933–1945 Nazi dictatorship. The 1949 German constitution made the Chancellor the most important office in the country, while diminishing the role of the President.

In German, the title was Bundeskanzler (literally, "Chancellor of the (Con)federation") in the North German Confederation and Reichskanzler (literally, "Chancellor of the Realm") from the Unification of Germany until the title Bundeskanzler was adopted again in 1949. The female form is Bundeskanzlerin. The title is often shortened to Kanzler ("Chancellor") or its female form, Kanzlerin.

Since 22 November 2005, the office has been held by Angela Merkel, the current Leader of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany.

Revolutions of 1848[edit]

During the failed revolutions of 1848, the Frankfurt Parliament took power and there were three “Ministerpräsidenten” whose duties and powers were exactly equivalent to the later office of Chancellor.

Ministerpräsidenten of the Imperial Government[edit]

(A list of ministers can be found on de:Kategorie:Reichsminister (Provisorische Zentralgewalt).)

North German Confederation (Bundeskanzler) (1867–1871)[edit]

Political Party:   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Political Party
Took Office Left Office Duration
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2005-0057, Otto von Bismarck.jpg Count
Otto von Bismarck
(1815–1898)
1 July 1867 21 March 1871 3 years, 263 days Non-partisan

German Empire (Reichskanzler) (1871–1918)[edit]

Political Party:   Zentrum   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Political Party
Took Office Left Office Duration
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2005-0057, Otto von Bismarck.jpg Prince
Otto von Bismarck
(1815–1898)
21 March 1871 20 March 1890 18 years, 364 days Non-partisan
Graf Leopold von Caprivi cropped2.jpg Count
Leo von Caprivi
(1831–1899)
20 March 1890 26 October 1894 4 years, 220 days Non-partisan
Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst.png Prince
Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
(1819–1901)
29 October 1894 17 October 1900 5 years, 353 days Non-partisan
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2004-0098A, Bernhard von Bülow (cropped).jpg Prince
Bernhard von Bülow
(1849–1929)
17 October 1900 14 July 1909 8 years, 270 days Non-partisan
Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg 1913b.jpg Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
(1856–1921)
14 July 1909 13 July 1917 7 years, 364 days Non-partisan
Georg Michaelis.jpg Georg Michaelis
(1857–1936)
14 July 1917 1 November 1917 110 days Non-partisan
Georg von Hertling.jpg Count
Georg von Hertling
(1843–1919)
1 November 1917 30 September 1918 333 days Centre Party
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R04103, Prinz Max von Baden.jpg Prince
Max von Baden
(1867–1929)
3 October 1918 9 November 1918 37 days Non-partisan

Revolutionary period (1918–1919)[edit]

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, but did not use the title of Chancellor.

During that time, Ebert also served as Chairman of the Council of the People's Delegates, until 29 December 1918 together with the Independent Social Democrat Hugo Haase.

Political Party:   SPD

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Reichstag
Took Office Left Office Duration
Friedrich Ebert face.jpg 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 SPDUSPD 13
(1912)

Weimar Republic (Reichskanzler) (1919–1933)[edit]

Political Party:   SPD   Zentrum   DVP   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Reichstag
Took Office Left Office Duration
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1979-122-29A, Philipp Scheidemann.jpg Philipp Scheidemann
(1865–1939)
(Reichsministerpräsident)
13 February 1919 20 June 1919 127 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Scheidemann SPDDDPZ
(Weimar Coalition)
Nat.Ass.
(1919)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J0113-0500-001, Gustav Bauer.jpg Gustav Bauer
(1870–1944)
(Reichsministerpräsident;
from 14 August 1919
Reichskanzler)
21 June 1919 26 March 1920 279 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Bauer SPDDDPZ
(Weimar Coalition)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1979-122-28A, Hermann Müller.jpg Hermann Müller
(1876–1931)
27 March 1920 21 June 1920 86 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Müller I SPDDDPZ
(Weimar Coalition)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R18733, Konstantin Fehrenbach.jpg Constantin Fehrenbach
(1852–1926)
25 June 1920 4 May 1921 313 days Centre Party Fehrenbach ZDDPDVP 1
(1920)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146III-105, Joseph Wirth.jpg Joseph Wirth
(1879–1956)
10 May 1921 14 November 1922 1 year, 188 days Centre Party Wirth I ZSPDDDP
(Weimar Coalition)
Wirth II
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2002-0625-505, Dr. Wilhelm Cuno.jpg Wilhelm Cuno
(1876–1933)
22 November 1922 12 August 1923 1 year, 202 days Non-partisan Cuno Ind.DVPDDPZBVP
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1982-092-11, Gustav Stresemann.jpg Gustav Stresemann
(1878–1929)
13 August 1923 30 November 1923 109 days German People's Party Stresemann I DVPSPD[1]ZDDP
Stresemann II
Reichskanzler Wilhelm Marx.jpg Wilhelm Marx
(1863–1946)
30 November 1923 15 January 1925 1 year, 46 days Centre Party Marx I ZDVPBVPDDP
Marx II ZDVPDDP 2
(May 1924)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1969-008A-07, Hans Luther.jpg Hans Luther
(1879–1962)
15 January 1925 12 May 1926 1 year, 117 days Non-partisan Luther I DVPDNVP[2]ZDDPBVP 3
(Dec.1924)
Luther II DVPZDDPBVP
Reichskanzler Wilhelm Marx.jpg Wilhelm Marx
(1863–1946)
17 May 1926 12 June 1928 2 years, 26 days Centre Party Marx III ZDVPDDPBVP
Marx IV ZDNVPDVPBVP
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1979-122-28A, Hermann Müller.jpg Hermann Müller
(1876–1931)
28 June 1928 27 March 1930 1 year, 272 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Müller II SPDDVPDDPZBVP 4
(1928)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1989-0630-504, Heinrich Brüning.jpg Heinrich Brüning
(1885–1970)
30 March 1930 30 May 1932 2 years, 61 days Centre Party Brüning I ZDDPDVPWFBVPKVP
5
(1930)
Brüning II ZDSPBVPKVP–CLV
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S00017, Franz von Papen crop.jpg Franz von Papen
(1879–1969)
1 June 1932 17 November 1932 169 days Centre Party
until 3 June 1932
Non-partisan
Papen Ind.DNVP 6
(Jul.1932)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0527-0001-020, Kurt von Schleicher.jpg Kurt von Schleicher
(1882–1934)
3 December 1932 28 January 1933 56 days Non-partisan Schleicher Ind.DNVP 7
(Nov.1932)

1 The SPD withdrew from the Stresemann II Cabinet on 3 November 1923.

2 The DNVP withdrew from the Luther I Cabinet on 26 October 1925.

Nazi Germany (Reichskanzler) (1933–1945)[edit]

Political Party:   NSDAP   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Reichstag
Took Office Left Office Duration
Adolf Hitler cropped restored.jpg Adolf Hitler
(1889–1945)
30 January 1933 30 April 1945 12 years, 90 days National Socialist
German Workers' Party
Hitler NSDAPDNVP 8 (Mar.1933)
9 (Nov.1933)
10 (1936)
11 (1938)
Führer und Reichskanzler (head of state and government) from 2 August 1934.
DNVP dissolved in 1933, its ministers joining the Nazi Party.
Sought to establish a New Order, leading to World War II. Committed suicide in office.
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1968-101-20A, Joseph Goebbels.jpg Joseph Goebbels
(1897–1945)
30 April 1945 1 May 1945 1 day National Socialist
German Workers' Party
(Cabinet nominated in Hitler's testament but never convened)
Appointed Chancellor in Hitler's will and testament; committed suicide the following day.
Ludwig Schwerin von Krosigk.jpg Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
(1887–1977)
(leading minister at Flensburg)
1 May 1945 23 May 1945 21 days None
(non-partisan conservative)
Schwerin von Krosigk Ind.NSDAP
Leading minister at Flensburg; sought a truce with the Western Allies. Arrested; government dissolved.

Occupied West Germany (Bizone, 1947–1949)[edit]

German executive power for the major part of West Germany was first reorganised in the so-called Bizone (American and British occupation zones) in 1947. As of 1948, there was an "Administrative Council" composed of "Directors" for several departments and chaired by an Oberdirektor.

Oberdirektor of the Administrative Council of the Bizone[edit]


Federal Republic of Germany (Bundeskanzler) (1949–present)[edit]

In 1949, three separate German states were established: the Federal Republic of Germany (known as West Germany), the Saar Protectorate, a protectorate of France which joined West Germany in 1956, 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. In 1990, East Germany was dissolved (see German reunification) and merged with West Germany, which retained the name of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Political Party:   CDU   SPD   FDP

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Bundestag
Took Office Left Office Duration
1 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F078072-0004, Konrad Adenauer.jpg Konrad Adenauer
(1876–1967)
20 September 1949 20 October 1953 14 years, 31 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Adenauer I CDU/CSUFDPDP 1 (1949)
20 October 1953 29 October 1957 Adenauer II CDU/CSUFDP/FVP[3]
DPGB/BHE[3]
2 (1953)
29 October 1957 14 November 1961 Adenauer III CDU/CSUDP[4] 3 (1957)
14 November 1961 13 December 1962 Adenauer IV CDU/CSUFDP 4 (1961)
14 December 1962 11 October 1963 Adenauer V
One of the "founding fathers" of the Federal Republic of Germany, Adenauer pursued conservative and pro-western policies.
2 Ludwig Erhard 916-1330.jpg Ludwig Erhard
(1897–1977)
17 October 1963 26 October 1965 3 years, 46 days No party membership;[3]
affiliated with

Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Erhard I CDU/CSUFDP[5] 4 ( ···· )
26 October 1965 30 November 1966 Erhard II 5 (1965)
As Minister of the Economy, Erhard oversaw the economic miracle, before his three-year term as Chancellor.
3 Kurt Georg Kiesinger (Nürburgring, 1969).jpg Kurt Georg Kiesinger
(1904–1988)
1 December 1966 21 October 1969 2 years, 324 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Kiesinger CDU/CSUSPD
(Grand coalition)
5 ( ···· )
Kiesinger led the Federal Republic's first Grand coalition.
4 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F057884-0009, Willy Brandt.jpg Willy Brandt
(1913–1992)
22 October 1969 15 December 1972 4 years, 198 days Social Democratic Party of Germany
(SPD)
Brandt I SPDFDP 6 (1969)
15 December 1972 7 May 1974 Brandt II 7 (1972)
The first SPD Chancellor since 1930, Brandt led a Social-liberal coalition. He pursued a policy of Ostpolitik.
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-047-20, Walter Scheel.jpg Walter Scheel
(1919–2016)
Acting Chancellor
7 May 1974 16 May 1974 9 days Free Democratic Party
(FDP)
(acting) SPDFDP 7 ( ···· )
As Vice-Chancellor under Brandt, Scheel served as acting Chancellor following Brandt's resignation.
5 Helmut Schmidt (13.07.1977).jpg Helmut Schmidt
(1918–2015)
16 May 1974 14 December 1976 8 years, 138 days Social Democratic Party of Germany
(SPD)
Schmidt I SPDFDP[6] 7 ( ···· )
16 December 1976 4 November 1980 Schmidt II 8 (1976)
6 November 1980 1 October 1982 Schmidt III 9 (1980)
Schmidt succeeded Brandt at the head of the Social-liberal coalition, until the FDP stood down.
6 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F074398-0021 Kohl (cropped).jpg Helmut Kohl
(1930–)
1 October 1982 29 March 1983 16 years, 26 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Kohl I CDU/CSUFDP 9 ( ···· )
30 March 1983 11 March 1987 Kohl II 10 (1983)
12 March 1987 18 January 1991 Kohl III CDU/CSUFDPDSU[7] 11 (1987)
18 January 1991 17 November 1994 Kohl IV CDU/CSUFDP 12 (1990)
17 November 1994 27 October 1998 Kohl V 13 (1994)
Kohl held office for the longest period since Bismarck; he oversaw German reunification in 1990.
7 Gerhardschroeder01c.jpg 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 15 (2002)
Schröder marked the arrival to power of the "generation of '68"; he headed a Red-green alliance.
8 Angela Merkel - Juli 2010 - 3zu4 cropped.jpg Angela Merkel
(1954–)
22 November 2005 28 October 2009 11 years, 13 days Christian Democratic Union
(CDU)
Merkel I CDU/CSUSPD
(Grand coalition)
16 (2005)
28 October 2009 17 December 2013 Merkel II CDU/CSUFDP 17 (2009)
17 December 2013 Incumbent Merkel III CDU/CSUSPD
(Grand coalition)
18 (2013)
The first female Chancellor and the first from former East Germany, Merkel led a Grand coalition during her first and third term.

3 The FDP withdrew from the Adenauer II Cabinet on 23 February 1956, but its ministers founded the FVP and remained in the cabinet. Following a BHE split, its ministers defected to the CDU in 1956.

4 The DP withdrew from the Adenauer III Cabinet in July 1960.

5 The FDP withdrew from the Erhard II Cabinet on 28 October 1966.

6 The FDP withdrew from the Schmidt III Cabinet on 17 September 1982.

7 Following German reunification, Hans Joachim Walther of the East German DSU joined the Kohl III Cabinet on 3 October 1990.

Timeline[edit]

1867–1945[edit]

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[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Akten zur Vorgeschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Band 4, Oldenbourg-Verlag
  2. ^ "Gesetz Nr. 25/Verordnung Nr. 201 der Militärregierung (German)". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  3. ^ http://www.stern.de/politik/deutschland/cdu-altkanzler-ludwig-erhard-war-nie-cdu-mitglied-587764.html

See also[edit]