Chancellors of Germany 1867 – Present Day

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Angela Merkel

A Timeline of German Chancellors from 1867 to president day

Otto von Bismarck – 1st July 1867 – 20th March 1890
Independent
Bismarck was appointed the first Chancellor of Germany by King Wilhelm I. He was instrumental in unifying Germany into the German Empire and only resigned due to disagreements with King Wilhelm II.
Leo von Caprivi – 20th March 1890 – 26th October 1894
Independent
Served as Chancellor following the resignation of Bismarck. Caprivi championed the promotion of industry and commerce. He resigned due to disagreements with Wilhelm II.
Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfurst – 29th October 1894 – 17th October 1900
Independent
Took over as Chancellor following the resignation of Caprivi. He resigned in 1900.
Bernhard von Bulow – 17th October 1900 – 14th July 1909
Independent
Took over after the resignation of Hohenlohe. He made every effort to remain on good terms with Wilhelm II. He resigned after failing to get his inheritance tax proposals through the Reichstag.
Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg – 14th July 1909 – 13th July 1917
Independent
Took over as Chancellor following the resignation of von Bulow. He attempted to find common ground with Britain before World War One and was Chancellor during most of the War. He was forced to resign after a revolt by the Social Democrats in the Reichstag.
Georg Michaelis – 14th July 1917 – 1st November 1917
Independent
Became President following the resignation of von Hollweg. He was Chancellor for three and a half months. He was forced to resign by political opponents in the Reichstag.
Georg von Hertling – 1st November 1917 – 30th September 2018
Centre Party
Became Chancellor following the resignation of Michaelis. He believed Germany would win the war and was seen as a puppet of Hindenburg and Ludendorff. He resigned due to the deteriorating German military and home situation.
Max von Baden – 3rd October – 9th November 1918
Independent
Became Chancellor following the resignation of von Hertling. He offered a German surrender on 9th November based on Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. As per the Fourteen Points the German government became a parliamentary government and Wilhelm II abdicated. The Chancellorship passed to Friedrich Ebert, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party.
Friedrich Ebert – 9th November 1918 – 13th February 1919
Social Democratic Party
Took over from von Baden following the German surrender and became first Chancellor of the German republic at the end of November 1918. He was elected President of Germany in February 1919.
Philipp Scheidemann – 13th February 1919 – 20th June 1919
Social Democratic Party
Scheidemann was appointed first Chancellor of the Weimar government by President Ebert. He resigned in protest over the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
Gustav Bauer – 21st June 1919 – 26th March 1920
Social Democratic Party
Took over as Chancellor following the resignation of Scheidemann. His government signed the Treaty of Versailles. He introduced many welfare benefits and also a passed a law giving the Reichstag control of taxation. He resigned following the Kapp Putsch.
Hermann Muller – 27th March 1920 – 21st June 1920
Social Democratic Party
Took over as Chancellor following the resignation of Bauer.
Constantin Fehrenbach – 25th June 1920 – 4th May 1921
Centre Party
Became Chancellor after winning the General Election. He resigned the position in protest at the harsh reparation payments of the Versailles Treaty.
Joseph Wirth – 10th May 1921 – 14th November 1922
Centre Party
Took over following the resignation of Fehrenbach. He temporarily resigned in October 1921 over the partition of Upper Silesia which had been determined by the League of Nations without the agreement of the people. However, on the request of President Ebert he continued as Chancellor but resigned a year later in protest at complying with the demands of the Versailles Treaty.
Wilhelm Cuno – 22nd November 1922 – 12th August 1923
Independent
Took over as Chancellor following the resignation of Wirth. Tried to negotiate reparation payments without success. Resigned following a vote of no confidence.
Gustav Stresemann – 13th August 1923 – 30th November 1923
German People’s Party
Chancellor of a coalition government. Introduced the Rentenmark to stop hyperinflation and got the French to leave the Ruhr region. He resigned after losing the support of the Social Democrats in the Reichstag.
Wilhelm Marx – 30th November 1923 – 15th January 1925
Centre Party
Became Chancellor after the resignation of Stresemann. He continued as Chancellor of a minority government after the May election but lost the December election.
Hans Luther – 15th January 1925 – 12th May 1926
Independent
Appointed Chancellor by Ebert. He resigned after a disagreement with new President Hindenburg over flags.
Wilhelm Marx – 17th May 1926 – 12th June 1928
Centre Party
Was appointed Chancellor for a second term by Hindenburg. He negotiated for Germany to join the League of Nations and resigned after a disagreement over Russian policy.
Hermann Muller – 28th June 1928 – 27th March 1930
Social Democratic Party
Muller returned for a second term at the head of a coalition government following the resignation of Marx. Managed to negotiate the Young Plan which reduced reparation payments and gained a promise by the allies to leave the Rhineland. He resigned due to ill health and an inability to prevent hardship due to the Great Depression.
Heinrich Bruning – 30th March 1930 – 30th May 1932
Centre Party
Became Chancellor following the resignation of Muller. Failed to get the support of the right-wing German National People’s Party. He suggested a restoration of the monarchy to prevent the rise of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler which led to his dismissal by Hindenburg.
Franz von Papen – 1st June 1932 – 17th November 1932
Independent
Papen was appointed Chancellor By Hindenburg after Bruning was dismissed. He lifted the ban on the SA and SS which resulted in an increase in street violence. Papen took over the Prussian government. He survived an election in July despite the Nazis being the majority party. Papen resigned after being unable to form a government but held a caretaker government until a new Chancellor was appointed.
Kurt von Schleicher – 3rd December 1932 – 28th January 1933
Independent
Became Chancellor after von Papen resigned. He was in poor health and unable to form a government so resigned.
Adolf Hitler – 30th January 1933 – 30th April 1945
National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI)
Hitler was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg. Following his appointment he quickly removed opposition parties and banned trade unions. He declared himself Fuhrer of Germany and merged the position of President and Chancellor. He re-armed Germany and invaded Poland beginning World War Two. He remained Chancellor until he committed suicide.
Joseph Goebbels – 30th April 1945 – 1st May 1945
National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI)
As Hitler’s deputy, Goebbels became Chancellor on Hitler’s death. He committed suicide a day after becoming Chancellor.
Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk – 2nd May 1945 – 23rd May 1945
National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NAZI)
Krosigk was appointed Chancellor by President Karl Donitz after the death of Goebbels. He was Chancellor at the time of Germany’s surrender to the Allies. He remained Chancellor until the Allies dissolved the government.
Konrad Adenauer – 15th September 1949 – 15th October 1963
Christian Democratic Union
Adenauer was the first Chancellor of the newly created Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. He won elections in 1953, 1957, 1961 and 1962. He resigned in 1963 over the issue of Britain joining the European Economic Community (EEC), siding with Charles de Gaulle’s veto against the majority of his cabinet.
Ludwig Erhard – 16th October 1963 – 26th October 1965
Independent but affiliated with the Christian Democratic Union
Erhard was elected Chancellor after the resignation of Adenauer and was re-elected in October 1965. Erhard was pro-America rather than pro-Europe, a policy that led to his fall from office.
Kurt Georg Kiesinger – 1st December 1966 – 21st October 1969
Christian Democratic Union
Kiesinger was elected Chancellor following the fall of Erhard. He lost his position following the election of 1969.
Willy Brandt – 22nd October 1969 – 7th May 1974
Social Democratic Party of Germany
Brandt became Chancellor after the 1969 elections. He established close ties with the United States while working to improve realtions with Eastern Europe. He also believed in closer ties with Europe through the EEC. He resigned after a close acquaintance was revealed to be an East Germany spy.
Walter Scheel – 7th May 1974 – 16th May 1974
Free Democratic Party
Took over as acting Chancellor after the resignation of Brandt and served until he was elected as President.
Helmut Schmidt – 16th May 1974 – 1st October 1982
Social Democratic Party of Germany
Schmidt worked towards greater cooperation with the United States and also further unifying Western Europe. He was instrumental in the creation of the European Monetary System. After surviving elections in 1976 and 1980 he lost his position following the 1982 election.
Helmut Kohl – 1st October 1982 – 27th October 1998
Christian Democratic Union
Became Chancellor following the 1982 election. Kohl was a champion of European integration and a staunch ally of the United States. He was Chancellor during the fall of the Communist block and after the re-unification of Germany became known as the ‘Chancellor of Unity’. Kohl was a major force in the establishment of the European Union (EU). He was defeated in the 1998 election.
Gerhard Schroder – 27th October 1998 – 22nd October 2002
Social Democratic Party of Germany
Schroder became Chancellor following the 1998 election. He worked closely with the United Kingdom Prime Minister, Tony Blair to further economic reform in Europe. He was re-elected in 2002 with a small majority. In 2005 he stood down as Chancellor in favour of Angela Merkel.
Angela Merkel – 22nd November 2005 – Present Day
Christian Democratic Union
Merkel is the first female Chancellor of Germany. She was re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2018. She is a major player in Europe and at the heart of European and EU policy.

 

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2019). Chancellors of Germany 1867 to Present Day. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/chancellors-of-germany-1867-present-day. Last accessed June 23rd, 2019

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