The title Chancellor has designated different offices in the history of Germany. It is currently used for the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundeskanzler(in) der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), the head of government of Germany.
The term, dating from the Early Middle Ages, is derived from the Latin term cancellarius. The modern office of chancellor evolved from the position created for Otto von Bismarck in the North German Confederation in 1867; this federal state evolved into a German nation-state with the 1871 Unification of Germany. The role of the chancellor has varied greatly throughout Germany's modern history. Today, the chancellor is the country's effective leader, although in formal protocol, the Bundespräsident and Bundestagspräsident are ranked higher.
The current, official title in German is Bundeskanzler(in), which means "Federal Chancellor", and is sometimes shortened to Kanzler(in). The 8th and current chancellor is Angela Merkel, who is serving her fourth term in office. She is the first female chancellor.
|Chancellor of Germany
Bundeskanzler der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
since 22 November 2005
|Executive branch of the Government|
Cabinet of Germany
|Status||Head of Government|
|Member of||European Council|
|Seat||Federal Chancellery, Berlin (primary)|
Palais Schaumburg, Bonn (secondary)
|Nominator||President of Germany|
|Term length||4 years, renewable|
|Constituting instrument||German Basic Law|
|First holder||Otto von Bismarck|
|Deputy||Vice Chancellor of Germany|
The title of Chancellor has a long history, stemming back to the Holy Roman Empire, when the office of German archchancellor was usually held by Archbishops of Mainz. The title was, at times, used in several states of German-speaking Europe. The modern office of chancellor was established with the North German Confederation, of which Otto von Bismarck became Bundeskanzler (meaning "Federal Chancellor") in 1867. With the enlargement of this federal state to the German Empire in 1871, the title was renamed to Reichskanzler (meaning "Reich Chancellor"). With Germany's constitution of 1949, the title of Bundeskanzler was revived.
During the various eras, the role of the chancellor has varied. From 1867 to 1918, the chancellor was the only responsible minister of the federal level. He was installed by the federal presidium (i.e. the Prussian king; since 1871 called Emperor). The Staatssekretäre were civil servants subordinate to the chancellor. Besides the executive, the constitution gave the chancellor only one function: presiding over the Federal Council, the representative organ of the states (together with the parliament the law maker). But in reality, the chancellor was nearly always installed as minister president of Prussia, too. Indirectly, this gave the chancellor the power of the Federal Council, including the dissolution of parliament.
Although effective government was possible only on cooperation with the parliament (Reichstag), the results of the elections had only an indirect influence on the chancellorship, at most. Only in October 1918, the constitution was changed: it required the chancellor to have the trust of the parliament. Some two weeks later, Chancellor Max von Baden declared the abdication of the emperor and ceded power illegally to the revolutionary Council of People’s Delegates.
According to the Weimar Constitution of 1919, the chancellor was head of a collegial government. The chancellor was appointed and dismissed by the president, as were the ministers, upon proposal by the chancellor. The chancellor or any minister had to be dismissed if demanded by parliament. As today, the chancellor had the prerogative to determine the guidelines of government (Richtlinienkompetenz). In reality this power was limited by coalition government and the president.
When the Nazis came to power on 30 January 1933, the Weimar Constitution was de facto set aside. After the death of President Hindenburg in 1934, Adolf Hitler, the dictatorial party leader and chancellor, took over the powers of the president. The new official title became Führer und Reichskanzler (meaning "Leader and Reich Chancellor").
The 1949 constitution gave the chancellor much greater powers than during the Weimar Republic, while strongly diminishing the role of the president. Germany is today often referred to as a "chancellor democracy", reflecting the role of the chancellor as the country's chief executive.
Since 1867, 33 individuals have served as heads of government of Germany, West Germany, or Northern Germany, nearly all of them with the title of Chancellor.
Due to his administrative tasks, the head of the clerics at the chapel of an imperial palace during the Carolingian Empire was called chancellor (from Latin: cancellarius). The chapel's college acted as the Emperor's chancery issuing deeds and capitularies. Since the days of Louis the German, the archbishop of Mainz was ex officio German archchancellor, a position he held until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, while de jure the archbishop of Cologne was chancellor of Italy and the archbishop of Trier of Burgundy. These three prince-archbishops were also prince-electors of the empire electing the King of the Romans. Already in medieval times, the German chancellor had political power like Archbishop Willigis (archchancellor 975–1011, regent for King Otto III of Germany 991–994) or Rainald von Dassel (Chancellor 1156–1162 and 1166–1167) under Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
In 1559, Emperor Ferdinand I established the agency of an imperial chancellery (Reichshofkanzlei) at the Vienna Hofburg Palace, headed by a vice-chancellor under the nominal authority of the Mainz archbishop. Upon the 1620 Battle of White Mountain, Emperor Ferdinand II created the office of an Austrian court chancellor in charge of the internal and foreign affairs of the Habsburg Monarchy. From 1753 onwards, the office of an Austrian state chancellor was held by Prince Kaunitz. The imperial chancellery lost its importance, and from the days of Maria Theresa and Joseph II, merely existed on paper. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Prince Metternich served as state chancellor of the Austrian Empire (1821–1848), likewise Prince Hardenberg acted as Prussian chancellor (1810–1822). The German Confederation of 1815-1866 did not have a government or parliament, only the Bundestag as representative organ of the states.
In the now defunct German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), which existed from 7 October 1949 to 3 October 1990 (when the territory of the former GDR was reunified with the Federal Republic of Germany), the position of chancellor did not exist. The equivalent position was called either Minister President (Ministerpräsident) or Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the GDR (Vorsitzender des Ministerrats der DDR). (See Leaders of East Germany.)
The head of the federal government of the North German Confederation, which was created on 1 July 1867, had the title Bundeskanzler. The only person to hold the office was Otto von Bismarck, the prime minister of Prussia. The king, being the bearer of the Bundespräsidium, installed him on 14 July.
Under the constitution of 1 January 1871, the king had additionally the title of Emperor. The constitution still called the chancellor Bundeskanzler. This was only changed in the new constitution of 16 April 1871 to Reichskanzler. The office remained the same, and Bismarck was not even re-installed.
In the 1871 German Empire, the Reichskanzler ("Imperial Chancellor") served both as the emperor's first minister, and as presiding officer of the Bundesrat, the upper chamber of the German parliament. He was neither elected by nor responsible to Parliament (the Reichstag). Instead, the chancellor was appointed by the emperor.
The federal level had four organs:
Technically, the foreign ministers of the empire's states instructed their states' deputies to the federal council (Bundesrat) and therefore outranked the chancellor. For this reason, Prince Bismarck (as he was from 1871 onwards) continued to serve as both prime minister and foreign minister of Prussia for virtually his entire tenure as chancellor of the empire, since he wanted to continue to exercise this power. Since Prussia controlled seventeen votes in the Bundesrat, Bismarck could effectively control the proceedings by making deals with the smaller states.
The term chancellor signalled the seemingly low priority of this institution compared to the governments of the German states, because the new chancellor of the federal empire should not be a full-fledged prime minister, in contrast to the heads of the states. The title of chancellor additionally symbolized a strong monarchist, bureaucratic, and ultimately antiparliamentary component, as in the Prussian tradition of, for instance, Hardenberg.
In both of these aspects, the executive of the federation, and then empire, as it was formed in 1867 and 1871, was deliberately different from the Imperial Ministry of the revolutionary years 1848/49, which had been led by a prime minister elected by the National Assembly.
In 1871, the concept of the federal chancellor was transferred to the executive of the newly formed German Empire, which now also contained the South German states. Here too, the terms of “chancellor” and “federal agency” (as opposed to “ministry” or “government”) suggested an (apparent) lower priority of the federal executive as compared to the governments of the federal states. For this reason, neither the chancellor nor the leaders of the imperial departments under his command used the title of Minister until 1918.
The constitution of Germany was altered on 29 October 1918, when the parliament was given the right to dismiss the chancellor. However, the change could not prevent the outbreak of a revolution a few days later.
On 9 November 1918, Chancellor Max von Baden handed over his office of chancellor 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.
Under the Weimar Republic, the chancellor was a fairly weak figure. Much like his French counterpart, he served as little more than a chairman. Cabinet decisions were made by majority vote. In fact, many of the Weimar governments depended highly on the cooperation of the president, due to the difficulty of finding a majority in the parliament.
Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933 by Paul von Hindenburg. Upon taking office, Hitler immediately began accumulating power and changing the nature of the chancellorship. After only two months in office, and following the burning of the Reichstag building, the parliament passed the Enabling Act giving the chancellor full legislative powers for a period of four years – the chancellor could introduce any law without consulting Parliament. Powers of the chancellor continued to grow until August 1934, when the incumbent President Paul von Hindenburg died. Hitler used the Enabling Act to merge the office of chancellor with that of the president to create a new office, "the leader". Although the offices were merged, Hitler continued to be addressed as "Führer und Reichskanzler" indicating that the head of state and head of government were still separate positions, albeit held by the same man. This separation was made more evident when, in April 1945, Hitler gave instruction that upon his death the office of leader would dissolve and there would be a new president and chancellor. On 30 April 1945, when Hitler committed suicide, he was briefly succeeded as chancellor by Joseph Goebbels, as dictated in Hitler's will and testament. With Goebbels following Hitler's suicide with his own, the reins of power passed to Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as president of Germany. Dönitz, in turn, appointed conservative Count Schwerin von Krosigk as head of government with the title “Leading Minister”.
The 1949 German constitution, the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), invests the chancellor (German, Bundeskanzler) with broad powers to initiate government policy. For that reason, some observers refer to the German political system as a "chancellor democracy". Whichever major party (CDU/CSU or SPD) does not hold the chancellorship usually calls its leading candidate for the federal election "chancellor-candidate" (Kanzlerkandidat). The federal government (Bundesregierung) consists of the chancellor and his or her cabinet ministers.
The chancellor's authority emanates from the provisions of the Basic Law and in practice from his or her status as leader of the party (or coalition of parties) holding a majority of seats in the Bundestag (federal parliament). With the exception of Helmut Schmidt, the chancellor has also been chairman of his or her own party. This was the case with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 1999 until he resigned the chairmanship of the SPD in 2004.
The German chancellor is officially addressed as "Herr Bundeskanzler" if the chancellor is a man. The current holder of this office, Angela Merkel, considered to be the planet's most influential woman by Forbes Magazine, is officially addressed as "Frau Bundeskanzlerin", the feminine form of the title. Use of the mixed form "Frau Bundeskanzler" was deprecated by the government in 2004 because it is regarded as impolite and was seen as a way of acknowledging Merkel's future leadership.
Events from the year 1879 in Germany.Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel (, German: [aŋˈɡeːla ˈmɛɐ̯kl̩]; née Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a German politician serving as Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She served as the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 2000 to 2018. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and by many commentators as the leader of the Free World.Merkel was born in Hamburg in then-West Germany and moved to East Germany as an infant when her father, a Lutheran clergyman, received a pastorate in Perleberg. She obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986 and worked as a research scientist until 1989. Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, and briefly served as a deputy spokesperson for the first democratically elected East German Government headed by Lothar de Maizière in 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and has been reelected ever since. As the protégée of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Merkel was appointed as the Federal Minister for Women and Youth in Kohl's government in 1991, and became the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1994. After her party lost the federal election in 1998, Merkel was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before becoming the party's first female leader two years later in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble.
Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed Germany's first female chancellor at the head of a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the 2009 federal election the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote, and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the Free Democratic Party (FDP). At the 2013 federal election, Merkel's CDU won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag. After the 2017 federal election the CDU was again the largest party, and she was reelected to her fourth term on 14 March 2018.In 2007, Merkel was President of the European Council and played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. One of Merkel's consistent priorities has been to strengthen transatlantic economic relations. Merkel played a crucial role in managing the financial crisis at the European and international level, and she has been referred to as "the decider." In domestic policy, health care reform, problems concerning future energy development and more recently her government's approach to the ongoing migrant crisis have been major issues during her Chancellorship. On 26 March 2014, Merkel became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union and she is currently the senior G7 leader. In October 2018, Merkel announced that she would not seek reelection as leader of the CDU at the party convention in December 2018 and as Chancellor in 2021.Chancellor, Alberta
Chancellor is a hamlet in southern Alberta, Canada within Wheatland County. It is located approximately 26 kilometres (16 mi) north of Highway 1 and 86 kilometres (53 mi) east of Calgary.
Chancellor originally was built up chiefly by Germans, who named the hamlet after the office of Chancellor of Germany.Chancellor of Germany (1949–present)
The Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (in German called Bundeskanzler(in), meaning 'Federal Chancellor', or Kanzler(in) for short) is, under the German 1949 Constitution, the head of government of Germany. Historically, the office has evolved from the office of chancellor (German: Kanzler, later Reichskanzler, meaning 'Chancellor of the Realm') that was originally established in the North German Confederation in 1867.
The 1949 Constitution increased the role of the chancellor compared to the 1919 Weimar Constitution by making the chancellor much more independent of the influence of the President and granting the chancellor the right to set the guidelines for all policy areas, thus making the chancellor the real chief executive. The role is generally comparable to that of a prime minister in other parliamentary democracies.
The 8th and current Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany is Angela Merkel, who was elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2018. She is the first female chancellor since the establishment of the original office in 1867 and is known in German as Bundeskanzlerin, the feminine form of Bundeskanzler. Merkel is also the first chancellor elected since the fall of the Berlin Wall to have been raised in the former East Germany.Constantin Fehrenbach
Constantin Fehrenbach, sometimes falsely, Konstantin Fehrenbach (11 January 1852 – 26 March 1926), was a German Catholic politician who was one of the major leaders of the Centre Party or Zentrum. He served as President of the Reichstag in 1918, and then as President of the Weimar National Assembly from 1919 to 1920. In June 1920, Fehrenbach became Chancellor of Germany. He resigned in May 1921 over the issue of war reparation payments to the Allies. Fehrenbach headed the Centre Party's Reichstag fraction from 1923 until his death in 1926.Democratic Awakening
Democratic Awakening (German: Demokratischer Aufbruch) was an East German political movement and political party that was active during the Fall of Communism and in the period leading up to the German reunification. While it was a relatively minor party, it took part in the first democratically elected government in East Germany in 1990, and is especially known because future Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel started her political career within the party.
It was founded in October 1989, based on existing politically active church groups. Founding members included Wolfgang Schnur, Friedrich Schorlemmer, Rainer Eppelmann, Günter Nooke and Thomas Welz. The organisation became a political party on December 16/17, 1989 in Leipzig. The party convention adopted a more conservative program than some of the founding members, like Schorlemmer, were willing to bear, so they left the party. Others, like Nooke, who left some time later, resented the growing cooperation with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of East Germany, which had been a member of the Communist-dominated National Front of parties and mass organisations that had supported the Communist regime.
Democratic Awakening now supported rapid German reunification and joined the Alliance for Germany (Allianz für Deutschland) along with the CDU and German Social Union (DSU) for the 1990 Volkskammer elections on March 18. Only a few days prior to the elections, party chairman Schnur had to confess to having been an informer for the Ministry for State Security (Stasi), and resigned. Although Alliance for Germany won the elections, Democratic Awakening only collected 0.9% of votes, amounting to four seats in the Volkskammer. Eppelmann became minister for disarmament and defense in the new government and new party chairman. On August 5, 1990 Democratic Awakening ceased to exist after merging into the East German CDU, which in turn on 3 October 1990 merged into its West German counterpart, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
From February 1990, Angela Merkel served as the party's spokeswoman. After the mergers, Merkel was elected in the post-unification election as a member of the all-German Bundestag for the CDU, and eventually became Chancellor of Germany in 2005.Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women
Since 2004, Forbes has compiled a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. It is edited by notable Forbes journalists, including Moira Forbes, and is based on visibility and economic impact. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has remained at the top spot since 2006, with the brief exception of 2010 where she was temporarily supplanted by then U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People
Since 2009, the business magazine, Forbes had compiled an annual list of the world's most powerful people. The list has one slot for every 100 million people, meaning in 2009 there were 67 people on the list and by 2018 there were 75. Slots are allocated based on the amount of human and financial resources that they have sway over, as well as their influence on world events.Georg Michaelis
Georg Michaelis (8 September 1857 – 24 July 1936) was Chancellor of Germany for a few months in 1917. He was the first chancellor not of noble birth to hold the office. With an economic background in business, Michaelis' main achievement was to encourage the ruling classes to open peace talks with Russia. Contemplating the end of the war was near, he encouraged infrastructure development to facilitate recovery at war's end through the media of Mitteleuropa. A somewhat humourless character, known for process engineering, Michaelis was faced with insurmountable problems of logistics and supply in his brief period as chancellor.German order of precedence
The German order of precedence is a symbolic hierarchy of the five highest federal offices in Germany used to direct protocol. It has no official status, but has been established in practical use.
The President of Germany, the head of state of Germany.
The President of the Bundestag, the speaker of the German parliament, the Bundestag.
The Chancellor of Germany, the head of the government of Germany.
(1.) The President of the Bundesrat, the speaker of the Bundesrat, a federal legislative chamber, in which the governments of the sixteen german states are represented. He or she is ex officio also deputy to the President of Germany (Basic Law, Article 57). Thus, he or she becomes first in the order, while acting on behalf of the President or while acting as head of state during a vacancy of the presidency.
The President of the Federal Constitutional Court, the supreme court of Germany.Guido Westerwelle
Guido Westerwelle (German: [ˈɡiːdo ˈvɛstɐˌvɛlə]; 27 December 1961 – 18 March 2016) was a German politician who served as Foreign Minister in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel and as Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011, being the first openly gay person to hold any of these positions. He was also the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) from May 2001 until he stepped down in 2011. A lawyer by profession, he was a member of the Bundestag from 1996 to 2013.Klaus Kinkel
Klaus Kinkel (17 December 1936 – 4 March 2019) was a German statesman, civil servant, diplomat and lawyer, who served as Foreign Minister (1992–1998) and Vice Chancellor of Germany (1993–1998) in the government of Helmut Kohl.
Kinkel war a career civil servant and a longtime aide to Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and served as his personal secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior from 1970 and in senior roles in the Foreign Office from 1974. He was President of Federal Intelligence Service from 1979 to 1982 and a state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Justice from 1982 to 1991. In 1991 he was appointed as the Federal Minister of Justice and joined the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) shortly after. In 1992 he became Foreign Minister, and in 1993 he also became the Vice Chancellor of Germany and the leader of the Free Democratic Party. He left the government in 1998 following its electoral defeat. Kinkel was a member of the Bundestag from 1994 to 2002, and was later active as a lawyer and philanthropist.
During his brief tenure as Minister of Justice he pressed for the extradition and criminal prosecution of deposed East German dictator Erich Honecker and sought to end the left-wing terrorism of the Red Army Faction. As Foreign Minister he is regarded as one of the most influential European politicians of the 1990s. He personified an "assertive foreign policy", increased Germany's peacekeeping engagements overseas, was at the forefront among Western leaders of building a relationship with Boris Yeltsin's newly democratic Russian Federation and pressed for Germany to be given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. He also championed the Maastricht Treaty, the merging of the Western European Union with the EU to give the EU an independent military capability and the expansion of the EU. Kinkel played a central role in the efforts to resolve the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, and proposed the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.Leo von Caprivi
Georg Leo Graf von Caprivi de Caprera de Montecuccoli (English: Count George Leo of Caprivi, Caprera, and Montecuccoli), born Georg Leo von Caprivi, (24 February 1831 – 6 February 1899) was a German general and statesman who succeeded Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany. Caprivi served as German Chancellor from March 1890 to October 1894. Caprivi promoted industrial and commercial development, and concluded numerous bilateral treaties for reduction of tariff barriers. However, this movement toward free trade angered the conservative agrarian interests, especially the Junkers. He promised the Catholic Center party educational reforms that would increase their influence, but failed to deliver. As part of Kaiser Wilhelm's "new course" in foreign policy, Caprivi abandoned Bismarck's military, economic, and ideological cooperation with the Russian Empire, and was unable to forge a close relationship with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He successfully promoted the reorganization of the German military.List of Chancellors of Germany
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.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. 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.Vice-Chancellor of Germany
The Deputy to the Federal Chancellor (German: Stellvertreter des Bundeskanzlers), widely known as the Vice Chancellor (German: Vizekanzler) of Germany is, according to protocol, the second highest position in the Cabinet of Germany. He is the equivalent of a deputy prime minister in other parliamentary systems.
The 18th and current Vice Chancellor of Germany (Federal Republic) is Olaf Scholz, who was appointed to the position on 14 March 2018 and also serves as the Federal Minister of Finance.Wilhelm Cuno
Wilhelm Carl Josef Cuno (2 July 1876 – 3 January 1933) was a German businessman and politician who was the Chancellor of Germany from 1922 to 1923, for a total of 264 days. His tenure included the episode known as the Occupation of the Ruhr by French and Belgian troops and the period in which inflation in Germany accelerated notably, heading towards hyperinflation. Cuno was also general director of the Hapag shipping company.Wilhelm Marx
Wilhelm Marx (15 January 1863 – 5 August 1946) was a German lawyer, Catholic politician and a member of the Centre Party. He was Chancellor of Germany twice, from 1923 to 1925 and again from 1926 to 1928, and he also served briefly as Minister President of Prussia in 1925, during the Weimar Republic. He was the longest-serving Chancellor during the Weimar Republic.
Chancellors of Germany
|North German Confederation |
|German Empire |
|Weimar Republic |
|Nazi Germany |
|Federal Republic |