Talk:President of Germany

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Ashton Iommi?[edit]

Who is this Ashton Iommi listed as President from 1919-25? Looks like someone has been vandalizing the page and replaced Friedrich Ebert with some unknown's name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:25, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Right, that was vandalism. Friedrich Ebert is the right guy. -- (talk) 05:40, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Right to refuse to sign laws?[edit]

[quote] There is disagreement about whether the president, in fact, has greater powers than the above description would suggest. Some argue that nothing in the Basic Law suggests that a president must follow government directives. For instance, the president could refuse to sign legislation, thus vetoing it, or refuse to approve certain cabinet appointments. As of mid-2003, no president had ever taken such action, and thus the constitutionality of these points had never been tested. [/quote]

I seem to recall that I was teached in school that if the Bundespräsident refused to sign something into law he must step down from his post and a the a new one would be elected. In that way giving the präsidend no real veto power. Hexren

I never heard of this. A quick google search for grundgesetz and bundespräsident didn't give this info, either. -- till we *) 11:09, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)
It definitely is not the case. However, if the president would refuse to sign a law just based on his personal opinion, that would probably lead to a major crisis. The normal way is for the president to get advice from constitutional experts if he deems a law unconstitutional. In that case, he may or may not sign it. In most cases, he will sign it and at the same time encourage a revision at the contitutional court. There are only very few cases in which a president denied signing a law, and for the reason of deeming it unconstitutional (either because of its conetents, or because he believes there have been violations in the formality of passing it). Normally, there is little choice for the president, especially if the law is controversial: if he signs it, the opposers will appeal to the constitutional court, if he refuses, the supporters might try to make him sign it (by sueing him at the contitutional court, I believe). --Flosch 22:54, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Article 65 GG, sentence 1: The Chancellor determines the guidelines of policy and bears responsibility.
The president has no right whatsoever to refuse a law simply because he's not an advocate of the policy that's behind it or because he doesn't agree with it. His only functions are: 1. to check if the making of the law is constitutional (e.g. he has to refuse it when the vote in the Bundesrat is not Ok etc.) and 2. to check if the content of the law is constitutional, that is, if it does or does not harm the law stated in the Grundgesetz. Unfortunately there's only a German source for this: Wolfgang Rudzio: "Das politische System der Bundesrepublik Deutschland", p. 296, Wiesbaden 2006. According to this, there were only six cases in which the President actually refused to sign. -Bundesamt 16:46, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, so they say. What the Constitution actually does say is that "the President signs (fertigt aus) the laws", period. The Constitution does not say he must do so: what he must do is appoint Chancellor the one elected by Parliament. It does not say he can refuse even manifestly unconstitutional acts, either. It's up to the interpretation.
German jurisprudence, btw., seems to make a distinction (stemming from Imperial times) between "voting on a law", "sanctioning a law" and "signing a law". The reason is according to their theory, the actual force of law should have come from the sovereignity, represented in the Bundesrat. Thus the (Imperial) Bundesrat was said to sanction the law. To the Emperor as such (though heavily represented, as King of Prussia, in the Bundesrat) was merely left the signing - the German princes did not consider themselves Imperial officials. And the Parliament, the Reichsrat (and Bundesrat together)? They could discuss the laws and vote on them, and indeed laws needed a Reichstag approval too; but not give actual force of law. - According to this theory at least, the Emperor could not refuse to sign a law which was by content and mode of legislation constitutional.
The question is, does the word "ausfertigen" as present in the Constitution contain in its meaning the aspect that, apart from errors, everything must be signed? I wonder.
It is practice, though, that Presidents only refuse to sign (in their eyes) unconstitutional laws. But the idea of constitutional practice has a way lower importance in Germany than e. g. in Britain.
It is also practice, by the way, that Presidents appoint anyone proposed for appointment by the responsible person (ministers by the Chancellor, etc.). Here, however, the Constitution to me seems manifestly clear: Apart from the election of Chancellor, the president may at entirely his own discretion refuse to follow such proposals. Yet even Lübke, who thought about using this reserve power, was persuaded not to and settled for putting the minister in question at the last position on the order of appointments.--2001:A60:15A0:6801:1F2:EFFD:BEF5:6F86 (talk) 13:24, 25 September 2014 (UTC)


The article currently says that existed during the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and is the successor to the office of Reichspräsident ("Reich President") that existed during the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). What happened between 1933-1949? Even if one argues that the office did not exsist between 1933 and April 29 1945. It did exist on April 30 1945. Philip Baird Shearer 11:58, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There was certainly a Reichspräsident from 33-34 (Hindenburg). While Wikipedia currently says that Dönitz was Reichspräsident in a couple of articles, I have never before heard of him being referred to as such. Rather, I've always seen him called simply "Head of State". Columbia does not refer to him as such. ([1]). Britannica sort of does. In some sense, both Hitler and Dönitz held the office of Reichspräsident. Neither was normally styled as such. I'm not sure how this is to be indicated. It is certainly wrong, as the list linked from this page now does, to say that Dönitz was the third Reichspräsident - he was either not Reichspräsident, or Hitler was too. Obviously, there was no German government between 1945 and 1949. john k 17:33, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Hitler was became "Führer und Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler" at six O'clock on the morning of August 2, 1934, according to the article Gleichschaltung point No. 8. In Hitler's political testament they were separated again (See Chancellor of Germany#Reichskanzler. (See also the articles on Allied Control Council, End of World War II in Europe and Hitler say the same thing but they are derived from a November version of President of Germany and Chancellor of Germany#Reichskanzler amoung other sources. There is of course the legal question if Hitler had the power to recreate the office. But if not de jure, de facto Karl Dönitz was Reichspräsident --Philip Baird Shearer 19:37, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Not to denigrate the Wikipedia, but I don't think other Wikipedia articles can be used properly as evidence of anything. I'd like to see a, well, book that talks about this issue, or that calls Dönitz Reichspräsident. john k 20:00, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Quit right ask for an original source:
In German [Adolf Hitler Politisches Testament] "ernenne ich als Führer der Nation folgende Mitglieder des neuen Kabinetts:
Reichspräsident: D ö n i t z
Reichskanzler: Dr. G o e b b e l s
Parteiminister: B o r m a n n
English translation of Adolf Hitler's Final Political Testament "I appoint the following members of the new Cabinet as leaders of the nation:
President of the Reich: DOENITZ
Chancellor of the Reich: DR. GOEBBELS
Party Minister: BORMANN"
--Philip Baird Shearer 20:21, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Okay, fair enough. I'd suggest that we remove the numeration entirely, since the question of whether Hitler was Reichspräsident, or merely held the powers of Reichspräsident, seems up in the air, and the ordinals don't really give us any additional information. john k 17:14, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Hitler was not Reichspräsident, sure he was head of state, but his title was "Führer (und Reichskanzler)" not "Reichspräsident (and Reichskanzler)". There is nothing unusual about this. When Oli was Head of State in England, he was not "King Oli" he was "Protector and major killjoy"
I can not find a document for you which explains this on line, but I can prove it to you in a round about way. As you will be aware the German army oath of allegiance was changed so that Officers who took their oaths seriously were caught like flys on fly paper. This change took place on August 2, 1934 (the day Hitler became head of state). If Hitler had still been Reichspräsident (or if the office had still existed) then the Oath would have had to included it, because not to do so would have allowed the Officers a way around the wording of the oath. But it did not. It used the word Führer. The Army Enslaved --Philip Baird Shearer 20:05, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

It's not at all the same as Cromwell, though. In the Third Reich, the Weimar Constitution (providing for a President) was still officially in operation, and Hitler explicitly took on Hindenburg's powers in 1934. The word Führer was certainly the one used, but in all essential respects the Führer was the Reichspräsident. The latter office had been subsumed within the larger office of "Führer". This is different from Cromwell, who was operating under a completely different political system than old Chucky I. john k 21:34, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The Weimar Constitiution was not officially in operation see Third Reich#Chronology of events Gleichschaltung, Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act. If you disagree with this then find a source which says that Hitler was officially Reichspräsident or that the Weimar Constitiution was officially in operation until June 5 1945 (creation of the Allied Control Council). Because if you do we will have to re-write much more than the sequencing on the Reichspräsident in these articles!
BTW the full name of the Enabling Act was the "Law to remedy the misery of the people and the country" which sounds like a title of a Levellers pamphlet! Philip Baird Shearer 23:15, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

In terms of the enabling act - indeed, the Weimar Constitution was put out of operation. But it was done constitutionally - that is to say, Germany's constitution was still the Weimar Constitution. It just was suspended for an indefinite period of time. But I wasn't clear. In terms of Hitler as Reichspräsident, I wasn't saying that he was Reichspräsident, exactly. Just that he incorporated within himself all of Hindenburg's powers, meaning that the role of Führer in some sense incorporated the role of Reichspräsident. At any rate, all I'm asking now is that the awkward ordinals in the other article be removed - it just seems weird to say that Dönitz was the third Reichspräsident. john k 03:53, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I suggest that that is a something to be discussed on Talk:Reichspräsident. I am going to copy a few paragraphs to get us started Philip Baird Shearer 16:34, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Never Reichspräsident, reverted Edit[edit]

This is the text of the German wikipedia about Reichspräsident: unmittelbar nach Hindenburgs Tod übernahm Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler auch das Amt des Reichspräsidenten (durch Volksabstimmung vom 19. August 1934 bestätigt), ersetzte den Titel "Reichspräsident" jedoch durch "Führer";

Means: direct after the death of Hindenburg, Hitler took over the office (Reichspräsident). Confirmed by plebiscite of 19th August 1934. He changed the title "Reichspräsident" into "Führer".

That is the reason for the reverting of the IP edit. --Gabriel-Royce 14:53, 14 February 2007 (UTC)


Given that, as the article states, Presidents in the Federal Republic are required to be non-partisan and drop their party affiliations, is it right to have parties and party colours featured on the list of Presidents? 01:44, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes it is, as this is serious information and not unimportant either. Although German political habit (no law, by the way) requires them to lead a non-partisan policy and to suspend their party membership for the time in office, at least winning the election is an even important political goal for parties, as can be seen in the election of Gustav Heinemann and to a certain extent even in the election to the first term of Horst Köhler. -- (talk) 21:52, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Merger of Reichspräsident with this article[edit]

I created Reichspräsident as its own article about a year ago. This was merged with this article by an anonymous user and I restored it as a separate article about a month ago. Serø has now merged it again so I've undone the merger a second time. The reasons I think Reichspräsident deserves a separate article from this one (which should be about the modern presidency, known in German as the Bundespräsident) are the following:

  • With the merger, the article becomes unwieldy and gives too much prominence to the Weimar office when most people will come here for the modern office. It is normal practice to spin off a section when an article becomes unwieldy and even if Reichspräsident had not originally been separate it would now be a prime candidate for spinning off.
  • The offices of Reichspräsident and Bundespräsident are separate offices, from separate eras with entirely different constitutional roles and powers.
  • The German Wikipedia has the two offices as separate articles and those guys seem to know what they're talking about.
  • There are many precedents for this kind of treatment of historical offices on Wikipedia. See, for example, the separate articles on Taoiseach and President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, both of which were basically the prime minister of Southern Ireland.

Iota 20:11, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Reichspräsident is not an English word. The title used in all English language sources is "President [of Germany]". If you want to write in German language, do that on the German language Wikipedia. Besides, it's highly manipulative to cut off parts of the history. An article with the title "President of Germany" needs to deal with all Presidents of Germany. If it is too much stuff (which it isn't at the moment), some stuff could be moved to separate articles that elaborate on issues like "functions of the President of Germany from 1919 to 1934" etc., however "President of Germany" being the main article must provide an overview of the history of the office since its establishment in 1919 in any case. Donnog 22:00, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Donnog - there's no reason not to cover both Weimar and BRD in a single article. john k 04:41, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

I've introduced an attempt at a reasonable compromise and I hope people will consider it with an open mind. I've replaced the Weimar section with a large summary and a "Main article:" link. This means the information isn't hidden away and there is a much greater impression of continuity between the two offices. However it also means that people looking for information about the presidency as it now exists (which means most people) don't have to wade through a lot of obscure historical stuff. I also think some changes can be made to the Reichspräsident article to address some of the concerns raised (we could also discuss renaming it if using a German term is really that objectionable). So what I've implemented is a partial, rather than a total merger. If this still isn't satisfactory by all means lets discuss the matter further. For now I just want to respond to a few of the points above.
If you want to write in the German language, do that on the German language Wikipedia.
I'm aware that this is the English Wikipedia. The reason I use the German word Reichspräsident is because it's a convenient way of distinguishing between the two historical offices. On reflection I agree that after introductory remarks it might be best to stick mainly to the term president or President of Germany. But English sources do mention the fact that the Weimar office had a different German title when contrasting the two offices. In any case if there is a better way of doing this then lets discuss it.
Besides, it's highly manipulative to cut off parts of the history.
I'm honestly baffled by this. I don't have an agenda and I hope you don't either. My only interest is in organising the encyclopedia in a logical and accessible way. The only reasons I favour a two article approach are those I've given above. Please remember to assume good faith.
I also don't think you can fairly say I'm trying to 'cut' things out. How this all got started is that I noticed that the German Wikipedia had an article on the Weimar presidency containing a lot of information not on the English Wikipedia. So I created an equivalent English article. For this I used entirely fresh information from both the German Wikipedia and my own study of secondary sources. I did not 'cut' anything out of the English President of Germany article. Since then all I've been trying to do is preserve Reichspräsident as its own article. If I had an agenda to censor information about the Weimar presidency I would not have created a large article about it in the first place.
Anyway I just want to set the record straight on these points about motives rather than get into a fight. It's more important to have a constructive discussion.
Iota 15:19, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

I've just edited Reichspräsident to, among other tweaks, replace most of the use of the German term with president and President of Germany. Looking at it again the German term was being overused. Iota 15:47, 12 April 2006 (UTC)


Why is Hitler not on the list of Presidents?

Because he wasn't President but Leader. The Emperors are not on the list either, for the simple reason they were Emperors and not Presidents. Donnog 14:48, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Hitler was a President, but a not vor long time. He became the Führer. -- 15:02, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Reichskanzler that was his title after the election of 1933--Gabriel-Royce 16:16, 25 January 2007 (UTC) And Reichspräsident after the referendum of the year 1934 (19 August).--Gabriel-Royce 22:50, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

He was never President he was 'Führer und Reichskanzler' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:27, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

German States and Heads of states!!![edit]

You are messing around a bit.

Germany as Nation State had severel legal forms with changing borders and offices:

The Deutsches Reichs reigned by the Kaiser (emperor) between 1871 and 1918. (Monarchy) The Deutsches Reich also named the "Weimarer Republik"(Reichspräsident between 1918 and 1933.(Republic) The Deutsches Reich or Third Reich (Drittes Reich oder Tausendjähriges Reich) of Hitler and the NAZI's.(Dictatorship) The Deutsches Reich ended with the Allied victory and the dicissions of the allies. Instead there were now two new German States: West-Germany =Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and East Germany = Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic) 1989/90 both states were reunificated (German reunification) The new state took its name, flag and signs from West-Germany also the law. So you got six different political systems between 1871 and today. In consequence you can't say the President of Germany! You could name the article German head of states or you have to change it into several articles. For ex.: The presidents of the Federal Republic of Germany, and another one Presidents of the German Reich or so. It is totally wrong to say something like this the President of Germany (Bundespräsident, formerly Reichspräsident). It is not the same office, because Reich and Federal Republik of Germany are not the same states! You wouldn't say England while talking about Great Britain, would you. Or King instead of Queen. --Gabriel-Royce 16:16, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps we should make President of Germany a disambiguation page for Reichspräsident and Federal President of Germany? That would require more input from native English speakers, though. Kusma (討論) 16:20, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Ah, you've seen it. Yes that is a possible change for the future of this article.--Gabriel-Royce 16:24, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

"The Deutsches Reich ended with the Allied victory and the dicissions of the allies. Instead there were now two new German States"
This two sentences above are totally wrong! The German Reich did not cease to exist in 1945, but only was occupied, and then the German state was renamed to "Federal Republic of Germany" in 1949. The GDR saw itself as a successor state, but West Germany never did it. --Orangerider (talk) 15:47, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Gustav Heinemann.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 23:22, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

FRG and DDR[edit]

Why are the Presidents of the FRG given the title "President of Germany" during the period 1949-91, but the Presidents of the DDR are not? Either Germany had two Presidents (or heads of state) during this period (because there were two de facto and internationally recognised states on German soil), or there were none (because both the FRG and the GRD had no de jure status in the absence of a peace treaty). Both are arguable positions, but to say that the FRG was the only legitimate German state during this period is a political opinion. Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 09:56, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I also think the GDR's status should be taken into account and have its own paragraph, with a link to the main article Leaders of East Germany. Wedineinheck (talk) 10:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't have the details readily to hand, but I believe the situation in Germany after 1949 was that while both the FRG and the GDR initially claimed to be the sole legitimate German state and legal successor to the pre-1945 Germany, the GDR ultimately dropped this claim and thereafter saw itself as distinct,separate entity. I can't remember which year this was, but it was linked to one of the constitutional changes. The FRG of course never dropped its claim to be the legal successor to the German Reich, a position which is now not disputed. To be entirely acuurate then, the list of German presidents from 1949 would need to have two lines, up until the pooint the GDR dropped its claim to be the successor to the Reich, or the office of President was dropped in the GDR - whichever was the earlier. P M C 20:05, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
the Federal Republic still exists178.210.114.106 (talk) 10:09, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Brief an den Bundespräsidenten Horst Köhler 22.4.2008[edit]

  • Da zahlen Millionen Menschen in Deutschland mehr als 35 Jahre insgesamt 5000 Euro, 10.000 Euro, 15.000 Euro, 20.000 Euro, 25.000 Euro, 30.000 Euro, 35.000 Euro, 40.000 Euro, 45.000 Euro, 50.000 Euro und mehr ein und dann beschliessen der Bundespräsident, der Bundestag, der Bundesrat, wir zahlen aus den Einnahmen des Staates und der Sozialversicherungen nur einen monatlichen Betrag von 347 Euro an euch Rentner.
  • BILD:
  • Frage 1 und Satz 1:
  • Herr Rüttgers, die Kanzlerin hat Ihren Rentenplänen eine klare Absage erteilt.
  • Frage 2 und Satz 2:
  • Warum geben Sie trotzdem keine Ruhe?
  • Frage 3 und Satz 3:
  • Rüttgers: Ich habe den Anstoß für eine notwendige Diskussion gegeben – und die läuft jetzt.
  • Frage 4 und Satz 4:
  • Es geht um die Frage:
  • Frage 5 und Satz 5:
  • Wie gehen wir mit einem Problem um, das wir objektiv haben und von dem die Menschen erwarten, dass wir es lösen.
  • Frage 6 und Satz 6:
  • Konkret:
  • Frage 7 und Satz 7:
  • Ein Arbeitnehmer mit niedrigem Einkommen, der sein Leben lang Rentenbeiträge zahlt und dann zum Sozialamt gehen muss, weil seine Rente nicht zum Leben reicht.
  • Frage 8 und Satz 8:
  • Das ist ein Missstand, den wir beheben müssen.
  • BILD:
  • Frage 9 und Satz 9:
  • Nach Meinung vieler Experten haben Rentner heute im Durchschnitt mehr Geld als je zuvor.
  • Frage 10 und Satz 10:
  • Hetzen Sie da nicht die Älteren gegen die Jüngeren auf?
  • Frage 11 und Satz 11:
  • Rüttgers: Von Aufhetzen kann nun wirklich keine Rede sein!
  • Frage 12 und Satz 12:
  • Die Fakten:
  • Frage 13 und Satz 13:
  • Bundesweit bekommen derzeit rund 370 000 Rentner nur noch Geld in Höhe der Grundsicherung als Existenzminimum.
  • Frage 14 und Satz 14:
  • Und: Allein in Nordrhein-Westfalen ist die Zahl dieser Menschen zwischen 2003 und 2006 um 34 Prozent angestiegen.
  • Frage 15 und Satz 15:
  • Es mag ja sein, dass mehr Rentner als je zuvor ein gutes Auskommen haben.
  • Frage 16 und Satz 16:
  • Das ändert aber nichts an einem zentralen Problem:
  • Frage 17 und Satz 17:
  • Die Altersarmut nimmt drastisch zu – ob wir uns das nun schönreden oder nicht.
  • Frage 18 und Satz 18:
  • BILD: Haben Sie mal ausgerechnet, was höhere Renten kosten und wie das finanziert werden soll?
  • Frage 19 und Satz 19:
  • Rüttgers: Das Kostenargument zieht nicht.
  • Frage 20 und Satz 20:
  • Denn wenn ein Rentner zusätzlich Geld vom Sozialamt bekommt, dann muss dafür ja auch die Staatskasse aufkommen.
  • Frage 21 und Satz 21:
  • Also: Warum dann erst dieser Umweg?
  • Frage 22 und Satz 22:
  • Und den bitteren Gang zum Sozialamt sollten wir den Menschen nach lebenslanger harter Arbeit möglichst ersparen.
  • Frage 24 und Satz 24:
  • BILD: Werden Sie das Projekt Rentenerhöhung für langjährige Beitragszahler ins Parlament einbringen?
  • Frage 25 und Satz 25:
  • Rüttgers: Wir werden jetzt dafür werben, in der CDU eine Mehrheit für unsere Position zu bekommen.
  • Frage 26 und Satz 26:
  • Das wird sicher gelingen, denn unser Parteitag in Leipzig hat 2003 genau das beschlossen, was wir jetzt fordern.
  • Frage 27 und Satz 27:
  • Und dann wird das Thema mit dem Willen zur Lösung diskutiert. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:53, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
1 this is english wiki
2 the discussion should be about the article or even the improvement of the article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Theodor Heuss.jpg[edit]

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Suggested split[edit]

The article Chancellor of Germany was recently split into two parts, to refer to the different offices in modern Germany (Bundeskanzler) and before 1945 (Reichskanzler). I suggest that we split this article in the same way, for consistency. Note that the office of president was much more important/powerful before 1945, and had a different name in German (Reichspräsident versus Bundespräsident). --KarlFrei (talk) 12:41, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Don't be ridiculous. Besides, if you read the talk page, you'll see that a compromise was worked out years ago when it comes to this question. There is already a separate, in-depth article on the Weimar presidency. But of course this article shall provide an overview of the first presidents of Germany as well. I can't understand why anyone would want to erase Friedrich Ebert, Germany's first President, from history (even the modern presidential standard is from the Weimar Republic (see original)). It's like removing George Washington from the POTUS article, just because the presidency today is somewhat different from the 18th century. UweBayern (talk) 02:46, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Also note that the German chancellors also have a main article with in-depth articles on the chancellery in various eras (North German Confederation, German Empire, Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany and Federal Republic). We are rather fortunate that the presidency only existed in two eras, and the two first presidents have a natural place in this article. UweBayern (talk) 02:50, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree with the original poster. This article is complete nonsense. Nobody in Germany would ever acknowledge any kind of continuity from the President of the Reich to the Federal President. It's like having one article for the King of England and the President of the United States. Besides: The title of President didn't come up in Germany only after World War I. In the North German Confederation, the king of Prussia was the de facto President, Prussia as a whole holding the Presidency. In the German Empire that did not change, only now instead of using the title President they went back to Holy Roman Empire and made William I German Emperor. So if you want to cover all German presidents in one article, please add William I, Frederick and William II, if only so that you see the overall lunacy of having these completely different offices covered in one and the same place. BTW the same nonsense is happening over at the "President of France" article. Covering Napoleon III and Sarkozy in one article... Honestly, you have to be seriously braindead even to think of doing that... So could someone just call up ANY historian before inventing historical continuity where it does not exist?! --Eisenmaus (talk) 23:28, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

That's nonsense. AFAIK it's well known in Germany that the Federal President's office was loosely based on the Reichspräsident's, though of course removing almost all his political powers after the Hindenburg experience. Both offices have the same name in English. And please give any historic source for your hilarious claim of the German Emperor or Prussia as a whole being called a "President of Germany". --Roentgenium111 (talk) 19:46, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Article 11, Constitution of the German Empire: "Das Präsidium des Bundes steht dem Könige von Preußen zu, welcher den Namen Deutscher Kaiser führt." But you are waking up a discussion that has been dead for more than two years (see dates) --RJFF (talk) 19:54, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Btw: many constitutional law experts and historians argue that the Bundespräsident's office was not based on the Reichspräsident's, but created in contrast to the latter, because of the negative experiences with the Weimar constitution. --RJFF (talk) 20:09, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
As I see it, a split would largely consist of removing the History section and adding a hatnote:
This page is about the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. For the presidents of Germany during the Weimar Republic, see President of Germany (1919–1945). For leaders of East Germany (including one with the title "president"), see Leadership of East Germany. For a list of German heads of state and acting heads of state, see List of German presidents. For other uses, see President of Germany (disambiguation).
--Boson (talk) 23:39, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
And would you welcome this solution? I would make a case for doing so. The role of the Reichspräsident was pretty much different from today's president. While the Weimar republic had a semi-presidential system with a powerful president, the president today is merely a figurehead. And I was rather startled to find Friedrich Ebert as the "inaugural holder" of the office, where I expected to see Theodor Heuss. I don't think that anyone sees today's presidents in a line of continuity issuing from Ebert and (even less) Hindenburg. This article describes voting procedure, qualifications, powers and duties of the Federal President, and not of the Reich's President, and the history section is redundant as there is a separate article on the President of Germany (1919-1945) (which should be 1919-1934, as after Hindenburg's death there was no Reich's President - Hitler never was President!). I would support a split. --RJFF (talk) 19:33, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Basically, yes. On reflection, I would probably keep a few sentences with links to the other articles, explaining that there were other heads of state with different official titles and powers - and indicating that the official German titles were different, though the English common name might be used ambiguously. Somewhere, I think, we should also point out that the official title in an international context is Bundespräsident der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (in German) or President of the Federal Republic of Germany (in English). Source: German Institutions. Terminological Series issued by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. Volume 3. de Gruyter. 1990. p. 28. ISBN 0899255841. 
--Boson (talk) 01:30, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, RJFF and [User:Boson|Boson]], I also think a split would be good. References back and forth would be appropriate of course. I don't think you can consider the Kaiser a president, other than in a strictly administrative sense. Never heard of him actually carrying that as a title. Alandeus (talk) 15:44, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

There is no reason for a "split". I support the existing version that appears to have been stable for 10+ years. The history of the office of President of Germany started in 1919, claiming anything else is pure invention. We have articles on "president of [country]" based on the fact that they held the same position in their respective countries. Let's see:

  • We are talking about the same country
  • ...with the same form of government (republic)
  • ...and the same position (head of state)
  • ...with roughly the same title (including the word "President" and a prefix denoting federal), and the identical title in English
  • Conclusion: Same office for the neutral observer, and belongs in the same article.

The difference between Ebert's office and Hitler's office was much bigger than between Wulff's office and Ebert's office, and the titles used were more similar for Ebert and Wulff (both being referred to as Presidents of Germany in English) than for Ebert and Hitler (who didn't hold the title President at all). The quite misleading "Reichspräsident of Germany" article, which listed Hitler who was never a "Reichspräsident" or a President at all, is so short that it should be merged with this article. Josh Gorand (talk) 01:57, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Have you even read my arguments? It is not the same form of government. The Weimar Republic was a semi-presidential system with the president developing quasi-dictatorial powers after 1930, governing with "emergency decrees" and dissolving parliament every other month. He was commander-in-chief of the armed forces and could order them to intervene against the states with military compulsion (what Ebert actually did in 1923). He could suspend fundamental civil rights. The Federal Republic has a parliamentary system with a merely ceremonial president, being a mere figurehead. The Reich's president was elected by the people, the Federal president is elected by an electoral assembly of parliamentarians. These are two very distinct offices. The electoral procedure is different, the powers and responsibilities are completely different. The difference between Ebert's office and Wulff's office is much bigger than between Ebert's office and Emperor William's office. The Weimar constitution explicitly based the office of the Reich's chancellor on the powers of the emperor, leading to the president being called "substitute emperor". Again: no one sees Köhler or Wulff in succession of Ebert and Hindenburg. No one would say the inaugural holder of the current office was Ebert, but Heuss. No one would say it was created in 1919, but in 1949. --RJFF (talk) 04:40, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
That's 1) wrong and/or 2) not relevant to this debate. Yes, it's the same form of government in basic terms, that is, republic, as opposed to monarchy. Obviously Friedrich Ebert was the first President of Germany, this is amply documented. Only one of the Weimar era's federal presidents was directly elected, Friedrich Ebert was elected by parliament. The office (for the purposes of Wikipedia articles, i.e. the head of state of republican Germany holding a title including the word "President") known as "President of Germany" in English was created in 1919. Germany's constitution is a domestic issue and doesn't make it a new office for the purposes of Wikipedia articles, only a new chapter in the history of that office. Josh Gorand (talk) 10:49, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
What's wrong? "Germany's constitution is a domestic issue and doesn't make it a new office for the purposes of Wikipedia articles" So Wikipedia articles don't have to reflect German history scholarship, constitutional doctrine and political science, because they are domestic? I don't think so. This article covers the voting procedure and qualifications to become Federal President, and his powers and duties. If you want to make it an article about all Presidents of Germany through-out history, you have to write about voting procedure and qualifications to become Reich's president, his powers and duties, too. At the moment, it is an article about the office of Federal President according to the 1949 constitution, with a short history section. It is not an article about Reich's Presidents and Federal Presidents. If you want to merge the "Reich's President" article into here, you may propose it and find consensus. At the moment, this article is neither fish nor fowl. Neither are the two articles (President of Germany/Reich's President) clearly delimited (what could be done by defining the subject of this article as office of President according to the current constitution only) Nor are they consequently merged. --RJFF (talk) 19:15, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
No, this is, as is appropriate for an article titled "President of Germany", obviously an article about all Presidents since 1919, it includes a history section on the Weimar Era. It's not only about the postwar era. I don't need to merge anything because the article already covers all Presidents since 1919. The article titled President of Germany (1919–1945) is absurd and some IP constantly adds Hitler as a President although he was never President. If the democratically appointed SPD politician Ebert and the democratically appointed SPD politician Rau for example don't belong in the same article because their offices were different (I don't think this is a valid argument), why would Ebert and Hitler belong in the same article, with monumentally different offices and completely different titles? Josh Gorand (talk) 10:37, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I definitely think one article on all heads of state of Germany since 1919 is better than having one article for the Weimar Era head of state, one article for the Nazi era head of state, one article for the postwar era head of state, and then someone comes along and says the Cold War era office was too different from the post 1990 office and demands separate articles. This sort of fragmentation is not helpful, and the key issue is the position as head of state of the country called Germany (we have debated similar issues in relation to Jens Böhrnsen and Horst Seehofer). If one looks at articles on presidents or prime ministers of other countries, they are all covered in the same article. Josh Gorand (talk) 10:44, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Propose a merger and get consenus. But please don't do it single-handedly. I have argued above why keeping two separate articles makes sense. Other users should comment and this should by decided by consensus. I have just noticed the hat note: "This article is about the President of the Federal Republic of Germany." So this seams to be the status quo. You want change, you have to find consenus for it. --RJFF (talk) 15:24, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Tricks like that don't work with me. The inaccurate hatnote was unilaterally added just days ago without any discussion or consensus[2] and has been duly removed. The article and its title make it perfectly clear that it is about the office of "President of Germany", obviously including the Weimar era presidents of Germany who have their own section in this article. I see no consensus at all for your assertation, on the contrary. The status quo is that this article is an article about the office of President of Germany. I don't need to find any consensus, it's those who want to make changes who need to find consensus. Obviously there is no consensus to change anything and has never been. Josh Gorand (talk) 21:22, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I suppose the hatnote was added literally days ago - if you count in days. Others would probably be more likely to say say it was added weeks ago. However, that does not mean we should not discuss what the article should be about and what content should be included in which article. It mainly boils down to deciding whether we want to repeat the content about the Weimar president here (in summary style) or merely link to President of Germany (1919–1945). We could also consider including the little that relates to all the different offices in an article named Presidents of Germany. --Boson (talk) 21:57, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
So far, my understanding is that, in this discussion, UweBayern [added later] and Josh Gorand have opposed a split, while KarlFrei, RJFF, Boson, and Alandeus have proposed or supported a split; and Feedintm added the hatnote explaining that the article was about the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. Perhaps that is not enough to justify a split without more discussion, but people have had enough time to voice their opposition, as one would not normally say that the discussion was started literally only days ago. --Boson (talk) 22:20, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I see a number of users including John K opposing a split. There is obviously no consensus to change anything and never has been, on the contrary. Josh Gorand (talk) 23:26, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The hatnote was added unilaterally, without any consensus or discussion, in late February 2012. The hatnote is incorrect in relation to the contents and to the title of this article. Josh Gorand (talk) 23:33, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I can see both points of view, but Germany is something of a special case, with the various, historically recent, breaks, different territories, different forms of government, etc. As it is, with the exception of a small amount on the Weimar Republic, which duplicates something in another article, where it really belongs, most of the text is about the current office, and most of it, such as method of election, etc. does not apply to the previous offices with a similar official title or English common name. So the article really is about the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, with a little bit about some other offices stuck on like an ugly wart. If the article were to really be about all the different offices of president, it would probably need a major rewrite. I think we need more discussion, possibly with some more input from others, before changing any substantive information that relates to what the topic of the article really is. I would suggest advertisng the difference of opinion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Germany, for instance. --Boson (talk) 16:36, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
No, Germany is not a special case. Not more special than a whole bunch of countries of Eastern Europe. Josh Gorand (talk) 23:28, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
So how many "President of . . ." articles on Eastern European countries give information on pre-War presidents - not counting mere lists (similar to List of German presidents)? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Boson (talkcontribs) 21:19, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Election vs. Inauguration[edit]

Christian Wulff has been elected today, but his inauguration will be on Friday, July 2. I have corrected this in the top box, but do not know how to correct the timeline (cannot find the template).--SiriusB (talk) 19:53, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

I tried to correct it in the text of the article. It's kind of hard to do when so many people try to edit.--Pbro en (talk) 19:56, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Sorry for me, the ugly german, editing first :-) but i think it´s correct so far. Uwe —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

A more technical question: How are these timelines generated? Are they edited somewhere in tabulated form? If so, how can I find these timeline-templates? I have searched the Wikipedia help and template pages, used even Google, but could not find anything that fits.--SiriusB (talk) 20:02, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

@SiriusB: a) Fixed the timeline (FRIST!!11! :) b) You can change the timelines by changing the templates. The template used is given by double curly brackets in the article source code, here it is {{Timeline President and Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany}}, which you can edit by going to (generally: Put "Template:" before template name. HTH --Pbro en (talk) 20:13, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Sometimes it pays to read up before editing. Had I only done that. The Bundespräsidentenwahlgesetz (BPraesWahlG, Law on the Election of Federal Presidents) states in Paragraph 10: "Das Amt des Bundespräsidenten beginnt mit dem Ablauf der Amtszeit seines Vorgängers, jedoch nicht vor Eingang der Annahmeerklärung beim Präsidenten des Bundestages." Rough translation: The term of the federal president starts on the end of the term of his predecessor, but not before his declaration of acceptance is received by the president of the federal parliament. The term ended, and Parliament President Lammert has received his declaration of acceptance, so Wulff IS now president. Grmbl. But upside: I learned something today. --Pbro en (talk) 20:49, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Federal President of Germany[edit]

The redirection should be from President of Germany to Federal President of Germany, thus the other way around from the current status. As said in the first sentence in the article, the official title in German is Bundespräsident, which means Federal President. There ist nothing such as the President of Germany, it is the German Federal President. -- Chtrede (talk) 06:02, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

NO - The official wording is in German: Der Bundespräsident - but in English as in any other foreign language: The President of the Federal Republic of Germany or in French: Le President de la République fédérale d'Allemagne or in Italian: Il Presidente della Repubblica di Germania. The Term Federal is never used twice.

President elect[edit]

As there is no precedent it might be confusing, but Wulff became the 10th President of Germany upon accepting the election since the post was vacant. Previously, the election took place well in advance of the end of term (30 June since Lübkes resignation), leaving enough time to organize the transition (usually 1 July). (See §10 Bundespräsidentenwahlgesetz vom 12. Juli 2007). --Dodo19 (talk) 07:09, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Term of the president Wulff[edit]

Will the term of the federal president Christian Wulff end on 29th June 2015, not on 30th June 2014? So, is his term exactly five years long?
Was Horst Köhler formally the federal president til Wulff was elected, although Köhler resigned on 31st May and left the presidential duties immediately?
--Finrus (talk) 18:15, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

The president is elected for five years. Formally there was no president between 1 June and 30 June, the president of the Bundesrat was filling in. --Dodo19 (talk) 18:41, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Many thanks! So, if future would come without surprises, the table in de:Bundespräsident (Deutschland) may be (til 2015):

Bundespräsidenten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Nr. Name (Lebensdaten) Partei Beginn der Amtszeit Ende der Amtszeit Wahl(en)
1 Theodor Heuss (1884–1963) FDP 13. September 1949 12. September 1959 1949/1954
2 Heinrich Lübke (1894–1972) CDU 13. September 1959 30. Juni 1969 1959/1964
3 Gustav Heinemann (1899–1976) SPD 1. Juli 1969 30. Juni 1974 1969
4 Walter Scheel (* 1919) FDP 1. Juli 1974 30. Juni 1979 1974
5 Karl Carstens (1914–1992) CDU 1. Juli 1979 30. Juni 1984 1979
6 Richard von Weizsäcker (* 1920) CDU 1. Juli 1984 30. Juni 1994 1984/1989
7 Roman Herzog (* 1934) CDU 1. Juli 1994 30. Juni 1999 1994
8 Johannes Rau (1931–2006) SPD 1. Juli 1999 30. Juni 2004 1999
9 Horst Köhler (* 1943) CDU 1. Juli 2004 31. Mai 2010 2004/2009
10 Christian Wulff (* 1959) CDU 30. Juni 2010 29. Juni 2015 2010

--Finrus (talk) 19:30, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Are you sure that the President of the Federal Council was filling in? I would rather expect that a resigned Federal President has to stay in office until his successor is elected. -- (talk) 05:43, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
You may expect that, but it is quite true that the President of the Federal Council fills in. -- (talk) 10:47, 17 February 2012 (UTC
Article 57 of the German constitution: "If the Federal President is unable to perform his duties, or if his office falls prematurely vacant, the President of the Bundesrat shall exercise his powers." --Boson (talk) 12:36, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

English Translation of "Bundespräsident"[edit]

This article uses to translate the term "Bundespräsident" as "President". I think that this is a bit inacurate. In Germany, this guy is always referred to as the "Bundespräsident" (not just "Präsident") and "Bundespräsident" would translate to "Federal President". The word "Federal" is very important in this context, for several reasons:

  • Before the reunification, this word indicated that we were talking about the FRG, not the GDR.
  • It indicates that we aren't talking about a position on state level, but on the Federal level. On the state level, we got a "Ministerpräsident". (For a discussion about translating Ministerpräsident, see here:
  • Then, there are some other posts including the word president: The President of the Federal Diet, the President of the Federal Council, ...

So, to cut a long story short, I think that this article should be renamed to "Federal President" or "Federal President (Germany)" -- (talk) 05:58, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I think the correct article title is President of Germany, according to WP:COMMONNAME, viz the most commonly used English name. The first paragraph correctly gives the full and short official titles. --Boson (talk) 21:43, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
This is the English Wikipedia, so we use the English term, President of Germany. We don't use Bundespräsident or some invented translation not used by English language sources. The term "federal" is, quite frankly, irrelevant in an English context, and all the German Presidents were "federal" presidents in any case. The term only means he represents the entire country, as is indeed usual for national presidents. The office of (and article on) President of Germany has absolutely nothing to do with the title Ministerpräsident, which means something else. Josh Gorand (talk) 13:20, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
As I noted elsewhere, I think we should add the information that the official title in an international context is Bundespräsident der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (in German) or President of the Federal Republic of Germany (in English). Source: German Institutions. Terminological Series issued by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. Volume 3. de Gruyter. 1990. p. 28. ISBN 0899255841. 
--Boson (talk) 01:38, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
PS:According to the cited source, the English title is either "Federal President" or "President of the Federal Republic of Germany", but not "Federal President of Germany".--Boson (talk) 23:47, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Some Germans seem very insistent that they get to decide what people should write in other languages than German. It doesn't work that way, English speakers decide which terms to use in the English language. And this is, incidentally, the Wikipedia edition in that language. English speakers overwhelmingly refer to the head of state of Germany as the President of Germany. A term such as "Federal President" doesn't exist in the English language. We also refer to the head of government of Italy as the Prime Minister of Italy, although the term in the Italian language means something else. Josh Gorand (talk) 16:15, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

By the way, even in German, talking about the Präsident is not that uncommon, and certainly the phrase "Bundespräsident der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" is often officially, and always inofficially (if used inofficially at all) shortened to "Präsident der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" - noone needs the double marker. Anyway, phrases like "Bundespräsident Deutschlands", etc. are rather used. But I quite agree that the English-speakers decide what English is to sound like.--2001:A60:15A0:6801:1F2:EFFD:BEF5:6F86 (talk) 13:31, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah I don't see what good comes from the nitpicking, call him as you wish, I only want to point out that Präsident sounds like a real powerful guy to our ears, like the French President, while Bundespräsident as a fixed word carries all the non-powers you desribed so well with it. -- (talk) 09:48, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

Picture of Seehofer[edit]

The German constitution does not know the position of an interim or acting president. Seehofer is solely the president of the Bundesrat. As such, he carries out the duties of the President. But he is neither president, nor head of state. That may be a common misconception. This office is vacant. It is not justified to put a big picture of Seehofer in the infobox, because then it lokes like Seehofer were somehow the incumbent President of Germany. But he is not. Not by any means. Not even acting. --RJFF (talk) 19:14, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Well, the Bundesratspräsident does fulfill the definition given in Acting president, even though he's not formally called thus. He's in almost exactly the same position as e.g. an Acting president of the U.S.. So I think Seehofer's picture there is acceptable, though I wouldn't mind if it is removed (or decreased in size) either. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 19:36, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I have not studied US constitutional law, so I don't know whether it's "almost exactly the same position". But I do know that it's exactly the same position as if the incumbent were abroad, or ill or in any other wise indisposed for some days. Do you then remove the picture of the incumbent and put the picture of the President of Bundesrat for three days, because he is "acting president"? No. --RJFF (talk) 19:46, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. The picture of Seehofer does not belong here - for that reason.--Boson (talk) 22:25, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Federal president[edit]

As already mentioned in 2010 there must NOT be a redirection from federal president to president, but the other way round. There is no such thing like a "Präsident Deutschlands". It is just "Bundespräsident", meaning just "Federal President". Don't argue about the translation - I AM German. If there are no issues until the end of the week, I'll do the redirection.--JR natural scientist (talk) 22:54, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

There are a number of issues, including:
  1. The title of the article is subject to WP:Article titles, in particular WP:COMMONNAME. The title should reflect what the president is commonly called in English.
  2. The article, in particular the history section, discusses other presidents of Germany, making the official title of only the current president inappropriate.
  3. The translation suggested by the German Foreign Office as a formal title (of the current office) in an international context is "President of the Federal Republic of Germany" (as the official translation of the German name in an international context, Bundespräsident der Bundesrepubik Deutschland.
It is clear from previous discussions that the move is not uncontroversial, so please do not perform a move without establishing consensus. Since similar considerations may apply to other articles, it would be proper to use the procedure described at Wikipedia: Requested moves#Requesting a single page move to encourage input from editors that may not have this particular article on their watchlist. --Boson (talk) 08:46, 4 February 2015 (UTC)