List of chancellors of Germany

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 its leader 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]

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.[3]

Political party

  None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party
Took office Left office Duration
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.[4]

Political parties

  Zentrum   None

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Cabinet
Took office Left office Duration
Prince
Otto von Bismarck
(1815–1898)
21 March
1871
20 March
1890
18 years, 364 days Non-partisan Bismarck
Count
Leo von Caprivi
(1831–1899)
20 March
1890
26 October
1894
4 years, 220 days Non-partisan Caprivi
Prince
Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
(1819–1901)
29 October
1894
17 October
1900
5 years, 353 days Non-partisan Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
Prince
Bernhard von Bülow
(1849–1929)
17 October
1900
14 July
1909
8 years, 270 days Non-partisan Bülow
Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
(1856–1921)
14 July
1909
13 July
1917
7 years, 364 days Non-partisan Bethmann-Hollweg
Georg Michaelis
(1857–1936)
14 July
1917
1 November
1917
110 days Non-partisan Michaelis
Count
Georg von Hertling
(1843–1919)
1 November
1917
30 September
1918
333 days Centre Party Hertling
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.[6]

    Political party

      SPD

    Portrait Name
    (Birth–Death)
    Term of office Party Cabinet
    Took office Left office Duration
    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   None

    Portrait Name
    (Birth–Death)
    Term of office Party Cabinet Reichstag
    Took office Left office Duration
    Philipp Scheidemann
    (1865–1939)
    (Reichsministerpräsident)[lower-alpha 1]
    13 February
    1919
    20 June
    1919
    127 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Scheidemann Nat.Ass.
    (1919)
    Gustav Bauer
    (1870–1944)
    (Reichsministerpräsident;
    from 14 August 1919
    Reichskanzler)[lower-alpha 1]
    21 June
    1919
    26 March
    1920
    279 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Bauer
    Hermann Müller
    (1876–1931)
    27 March
    1920
    21 June
    1920
    86 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Müller I
    Constantin Fehrenbach
    (1852–1926)
    25 June
    1920
    4 May
    1921
    313 days Centre Party Fehrenbach 1
    (1920)
    Joseph Wirth
    (1879–1956)
    10 May
    1921
    14 November
    1922
    1 year, 188 days Centre Party Wirth I
    Wirth II
    Wilhelm Cuno
    (1876–1933)
    22 November
    1922
    12 August
    1923
    263 days Non-partisan Cuno
    Gustav Stresemann
    (1878–1929)
    13 August
    1923
    30 November
    1923
    109 days German People's Party Stresemann I
    Stresemann II
    Wilhelm Marx
    (1863–1946)
    30 November
    1923
    15 January
    1925
    1 year, 46 days Centre Party Marx I
    Marx II 2
    (May.1924)
    Hans Luther
    (1879–1962)
    15 January
    1925
    12 May
    1926
    1 year, 117 days Non-partisan Luther I 3
    (Dec.1924)
    Luther II
    Wilhelm Marx
    (1863–1946)
    17 May
    1926
    12 June
    1928
    2 years, 26 days Centre Party Marx III
    Marx IV
    Hermann Müller
    (1876–1931)[lower-alpha 2]
    28 June
    1928
    27 March
    1930
    1 year, 272 days Social Democratic Party of Germany Müller II 4
    (1928)
    Heinrich Brüning
    (1885–1970)[lower-alpha 3]
    30 March
    1930
    30 May
    1932
    2 years, 61 days Centre Party Brüning I 5
    (1930)
    Brüning II
    Franz von Papen
    (1879–1969)[lower-alpha 3]
    1 June
    1932
    17 November
    1932
    169 days Non-partisan Papen 6
    (Jul.1932)
    Kurt von Schleicher
    (1882–1934)[lower-alpha 3]
    3 December
    1932
    28 January
    1933
    56 days Non-partisan Schleicher 7
    (Nov.1932)
    1. 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).
    2. Müller was the last parliamentary chancellor until Konrad Adenauer in 1949
    3. Non-parliamentary chancellor, appointed by Reichpraesident Paul von Hindenburg after no majority parliamentary coalition could be formed

    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

    Portrait Name
    (Birth–Death)
    Term of office Party Cabinet Reichstag[lower-alpha 1]
    Took office Left office Duration
    Adolf Hitler
    (1889–1945)[lower-alpha 2][lower-alpha 3]
    (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)
    Joseph Goebbels
    (1897–1945)[lower-alpha 3][lower-alpha 4]
    30 April
    1945
    1 May
    1945
    1 day National Socialist
    German Workers' Party
    (Cabinet nominated in Hitler's testament but never convened)
    Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
    (1887–1977)
    (Leading Minister at Flensburg)[lower-alpha 5][lower-alpha 6]
    2 May
    1945
    23 May
    1945
    21 days National Socialist
    German Workers' Party
    Schwerin von Krosigk
    1. No elections held during World War II. Last convened on 26 April 1942.
    2. Non-parliamentary chancellor, appointed by Reichpraesident Paul von Hindenburg after no majority parliamentary coalition could be formed
    3. Committed suicide in office.
    4. Appointed by Adolf Hitler in his Political Testament
    5. Appointed by Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz after the suicide of Goebbels
    6. Arrested; government dissolved.[7]

    Federal Republic of Germany, Bundeskanzler (from 1949)

    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.[8] 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.[9]

    Political parties

      CDU   SPD   FDP

    Portrait Name
    (Birth–Death)
    Term of office Party Cabinet Bundestag
    Took office Left office Duration
    Konrad Adenauer
    (1876–1967)
    15 September
    1949
    20 October
    1953
    14 years, 30 days Christian Democratic Union
    (CDU)
    Adenauer I
    CDU/CSU–FDP–DP
    1 (1949)
    20 October
    1953
    29 October
    1957
    Adenauer II
    CDU/CSU–FDP/FVP–DP–GB/BHE
    2 (1953)
    29 October
    1957
    14 November
    1961
    Adenauer III
    CDU/CSU–DP
    3 (1957)
    14 November
    1961
    13 December
    1962
    Adenauer IV
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    4 (1961)
    14 December
    1962
    15 October
    1963
    Adenauer V
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    Ludwig Erhard
    (1897–1977)
    16 October
    1963
    26 October
    1965
    3 years, 45 days No party membership;[10]
    affiliated with the

    Christian Democratic Union
    (CDU)
    Erhard I
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    26 October
    1965
    30 November
    1966
    Erhard II
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    5 (1965)
    Kurt Georg Kiesinger
    (1904–1988)
    1 December
    1966
    21 October
    1969
    2 years, 324 days Christian Democratic Union
    (CDU)
    Kiesinger
    CDU/CSU–SPD
    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)
    Walter Scheel
    (1919–2016)
    Acting Chancellor[lower-alpha 1]
    7 May
    1974
    16 May
    1974
    9 days Free Democratic Party
    (FDP)
    (acting)
    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)
    Helmut Kohl
    (1930–2017)
    1 October
    1982
    29 March
    1983
    16 years, 26 days Christian Democratic Union
    (CDU)
    Kohl I
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    30 March
    1983
    11 March
    1987
    Kohl II
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    10 (1983)
    12 March
    1987
    18 January
    1991
    Kohl III
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    11 (1987)
    18 January
    1991
    17 November
    1994
    Kohl IV
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    12 (1990)
    17 November
    1994
    27 October
    1998
    Kohl V
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    13 (1994)
    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)
    Angela Merkel
    (1954–)
    22 November
    2005
    28 October
    2009
    15 years, 184 days Christian Democratic Union
    (CDU)
    Merkel I
    CDU/CSU–SPD
    16 (2005)
    28 October
    2009
    17 December
    2013
    Merkel II
    CDU/CSU–FDP
    17 (2009)
    17 December
    2013
    14 March
    2018
    Merkel III
    CDU/CSU–SPD
    18 (2013)
    14 March
    2018
    Incumbent Merkel IV
    CDU/CSU–SPD
    19 (2017)
    1. As Vice Chancellor under Brandt, Scheel served as acting Chancellor following Brandt's resignation.[11]

    Timeline

    Angela MerkelHelmut KohlHelmut SchmidtWilly BrandtJoseph GoebbelsAdolf HitlerFranz von PapenGustav StresemannFriedrich EbertOtto von Bismarck

    See also

    • Leadership of East Germany
    • List of chancellors of Germany by age
    • List of chancellors of Germany by time in office
    • List of German monarchs
    • List of German presidents
    • Minister-Presidents of the French "Saar protectorate"
    • Religious affiliations of chancellors of Germany
    • Vice-Chancellor of Germany#Lists of Vice Chancellors

    References

    1. "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. Verfassung des Norddeutschen Bundes  [North German Constitution] (in German). 26 June 1867 via Wikisource.
    4. Constitution of the German Empire  [Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs]. 16 April 1871 via Wikisource.
    5. "The Seeds of Evil: The Rise of Hitler — The Constitution of the Weimar Republic". schoolshistory.org.uk. 2004. Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
    6. "Biografie Friedrich Ebert 1871-1925" [Biography of Friedrich Ebert]. www.dhm.de/lemo (in German). LeMO/Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
    7. 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.
    8. "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.
    9. "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]. Treaty of 31 August 1990 (in German). Retrieved 13 March 2018.
    10. Jörges, Hans Ulrich; Wüllenweber, Walter (25 April 2007). "CDU-Altkanzler: Ludwig Erhard war nie CDU-Mitglied" (in German). Der Stern. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
    11. 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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