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Chancellor of Germany

The head of government in Germany has traditionally been called Kanzler (Chancellor). The name of the office today is Bundeskanzler (Federal Chancellor); from 1871 to 1945, it was Reichskanzler.

See "Chancellor" for etymological notes.

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Reichskanzler Before World War II, the title in Germany was Reichskanzler, meaning Imperial Chancellor. In the 1871 German Empire, the Reichskanzler was neither elected by nor responsible to Parliament (the Reichstag). Instead, he was appointed by the Emperor, which is the prime reason that the Second Reich cannot be called a democracy even though the Reichstag was an elected Parliament.

This was only changed on October 29, 1918 with an amendment to the 1871 constitution. However, the change could not prevent the outbreak of the revolution a few days later. The new constitution of the 1919 Weimar Republic confirmed that the Reichskanzler was elected by and responsible to Parliament only; but the system did not work well, eventually leading to the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Reichskanzler on January 30, 1933.

Reichskanzler of the 1871 German Empire:

1871-1890 Prince Otto von Bismarck
1890-1894 Count Leo von Caprivi
1894-1900 Prince Chlodwig of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst[?]
1900-1909 Prince Bernhard von Bülow[?]
1909-1917 Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
1917          Georg Michaelis[?]
1917-1918 Count Georg von Hertling[?]
1918          Prince Maximilian of Baden
1918          Friedrich Ebert (SPD)

Ebert continued to serve as Head of Government during the two months between the end of the German Empire in November 1918 and the founding of the Weimar Republic in February 1919, but did not hold the title of Chancellor.

Reichskanzler of the 1919 Weimar Republic:

1919          Philipp Scheidemann[?] (SPD)
1919-1920 Gustav Bauer[?] (SPD)
1920          Hermann Müller[?] (SPD)
1920-1921 Konstantin Fehrenbach[?] (Center Party[?])
1921-1922 Karl Joseph Wirth[?] (Center Party)
1922-1923 Wilhelm Cuno[?]
1923          Gustav Stresemann (DVP)
1923-1925 Wilhelm Marx[?] (Center Party)
1925-1926 Hans Luther[?]
1926-1928 Wilhelm Marx (Center Party)
1928-1930 Hermann Müller[?] (SPD)
1930-1932 Heinrich Brüning (Center Party)
1932          Franz von Papen
1932-1933 Kurt von Schleicher[?]

Reichskanzler of the Nazi Era

1933-1945 Adolf Hitler; the office was combined with that of the Reichspräsident in 1934 and called Führer und Reichskanzler (see Gleichschaltung) and separated again in Hitler's political testament
1945 Joseph Goebbels (formally for one day between Hitler's and his own suicide)
1945 Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk[?]

Bundeskanzler Since the 1949 constitution (Grundgesetz) has been in effect, the Chancellor is elected by a majority of the members of the Bundestag upon the proposal of the Bundespräsident. If the nominee of the President is not elected, the Bundestag may elect its own nominee within fourteen days. If no one is elected within this period, the Bundestag will attempt an election. If the person with the highest number of votes has a majority, the President must appoint him. If the person with the highest number of votes does not have a majority, the President may appoint him or call new elections.

The early removal of the Chancellor from office has intentionally been made difficult and is only possible by means of a a Constructive Vote of No Confidence.

Bundeskanzler since WW II:

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