Famous German Political Leaders

Unlike the other super powers like America and Great Britain, Germany’s political system is relatively new. It was in 1949 that the current political system of Germany was developed after the country was consolidated as the Federal Republic of Germany. Germany is a democratic, federal parliamentary republic with the Chancellor as the executive head. The role of the Chancellor is equivalent to that of a Prime Minister as in other countries. Ever since its independence, Germany has had numerous political leaders donning the role and responsibility of the Chancellor, right from its first Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who was followed by Ludwig Erhard to Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schorder and the current and three times Chancellor in a row Angela Merkel. Merkel created history in 2005 by becoming the first female Chancellor to head Germany. However, before the Federal Republic of Germany was formed, the German empire witnessed the rule of some of historical Chancellors who through their deeds and misdeeds, exerted great influence in the world over. Adolf Hitler is one such name. A fanatical leader and initiator of World War II, he led Germany and many other countries into the abyss. Others include Catherine the Great, Martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels and like. Explore in details about the life and works of German political leaders with this segment.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck
Famous As: Chancellor of the German Empire (1871-1890)
Birthdate: April 1, 1815
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Schönhausen, Germany
Died: July 30, 1898
Otto von Bismarck was a German statesman. Bismarck is credited with masterminding the unification of Germany and served as its first chancellor. He is also credited with creating the first modern welfare state in the world. Regarded as a hero by German nationalists, Otto von Bismarck's life has inspired a couple of TV series.

 2 Karl Dönitz

Karl Dönitz
Famous As: President of Germany (1945)
Birthdate: September 16, 1891
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grünau, Berlin, Germany
Died: December 24, 1980
Karl Dönitz was the supreme commander of the German Navy and played a crucial role in World War II. Hitler made Dönitz his successor before committing suicide. Dönitz officially surrendered after Germany’s loss in World War II and was convicted as a war criminal at the 1946 Nuremberg Trials.

 3 Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel
Famous As: Chancellor of Germany
Birthdate: July 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany

The current chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is widely described as the world's most powerful woman. Also considered the de facto leader of the European Union (EU), Angela Merkel has played an important role in strengthening international trade agreements. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

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 4 Helmut Kohl

Helmut Kohl
Famous As: Former Chancellor of Germany
Birthdate: April 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ludwigshafen
Died: June 16, 2017
Christian Democratic Union politician Helmut Kohl was the Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998. He had also served as the chairman of the CDU earlier. His tenure witnessed the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the formation of the European Union.

 5 Paul von Hindenburg

Paul von Hindenburg
Famous As: President of Germany (1925-1934)
Birthdate: October 2, 1847
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Grand Duchy of Posen, Poland
Died: August 2, 1934
Paul von Hindenburg served as the second president of the German Weimar Republic, from 1925 to 1934. In 1933, he appointed Adolf Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany, and also signed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler total administrative powers. Following his death, Hitler declared himself the Führer.

 6 Hermann Goring

Hermann Goring
Famous As: German Military Leader
Birthdate: January 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rosenheim, Germany
Died: October 15, 1946

Hermann Goring was a German military and political leader. One of the most influential personalities in the Nazi Party, Göring oversaw the creation of the Gestapo. He also played a key role in the Holocaust, for which he was later convicted of crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.

 7 Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen
Famous As: President of the European Commission (since Dec 2019)
Birthdate: October 8, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ixelles, Belgium
Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen is currently serving as the first president of the European Commission. Named to Time 100 in 2020, she has previously been the first female defense minister of Germany, and has held positions such as the deputy leader of the CDU and the minister of labor.
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 8 Konrad Adenauer

Konrad Adenauer
Famous As: Former Chancellor of Germany
Birthdate: January 5, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cologne
Died: April 19, 1967

German politician, Konrad Adenauer, served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963. He was also the co-founder and the first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He played a key role in leading his country from the ruins of World War II to becoming a  prosperous nation.

 9 Rudolf Hess

Rudolf Hess
Famous As: Deputy Führer
Birthdate: April 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Alexandria
Died: August 17, 1987
Nazi Party member Rudolf Hess was Hitler’s Deputy Führer and helped in the passage of the Nuremberg Laws. While on a trip to Scotland to initiate peace talks with the U.K. during World War II, he was arrested, and then convicted of war crimes. He eventually committed suicide in prison.

 10 Willy Brandt

Willy Brandt
Famous As: Chancellor of Germany (1969-1974)
Birthdate: December 18, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lübeck, Germany
Died: October 8, 1992

Willy Brandt was a German statesman and politician. From 1964 to 1987, he led the Social Democratic Party of Germany. From 1969 to 1974, Brandt served as chancellor of West Germany. In 1971, he was honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to achieve reconciliation between the countries of Eastern Europe and West Germany.

 11 Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 23, 1918
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: November 10, 2015

Helmut Schmidt, who had once been the chancellor of Germany, was also an avid art connoisseur and a talented pianist. The SPD member had also been associated with the DIE ZEIT magazine and is remembered for his efficient management of the Hamburg storm flood as the police senator of Hamburg.

 12 Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor (962-973)
Birthdate: November 23, 0912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wallhausen, Germany
Died: May 7, 0973

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, known for his ruthlessness, not only united the German empire by crushing all rebellious vassals, but also put an end to the attacks by the Magyars of Hungary. His strategy of making the German bishops feudal lords helped his cause of stabilizing his empire.

 13 Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 5, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Detmold, Germany

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the current president of Germany, has also been his nation’s Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs. A Social Democratic Party of Germany member, he went from being a factory worker’s son to studying law and politics and then eventually stepping into politics. He has also worked for the German military.

 14 Kurt von Schleicher

Kurt von Schleicher
Famous As: Chancellor of Germany (1932-33)
Birthdate: April 7, 1882
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brandenburg, Germany
Died: June 30, 1934

German general Kurt von Schleicher was the last Chancellor of the German Reich, or Weimar Republic, before Adolf Hitler came to power. He was killed on Hitler’s orders during the purge called the Night of the Long Knives. He had attempted to form an anti-Hitler coalition called the Querfront.

 15 Lina Heydrich

Lina Heydrich
Famous As: Former Writer, Reinhard Heydrich's wife
Birthdate: June 14, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fehmarn, Germany
Died: August 14, 1985

 16 Friedrich Ebert

Friedrich Ebert
Famous As: 1st President of Germany (1919-1925)
Birthdate: February 4, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany
Died: February 28, 1925

Friedrich Ebert was a German politician who served as the president of Germany from 1919 to 1925. He played an important role during the German Revolution of 1918–19, which helped replace the federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary republic, which came to be known as the Weimar Republic. Friedrich Ebert also worked towards restoring peace in Germany.

 17 Frederick William III of Prussia

Frederick William III of Prussia
Famous As: King
Birthdate: August 3, 1770
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: June 7, 1840

 18 Tom Daschle

Tom Daschle
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 9, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA

 19 Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Birthdate: November 11, 1050
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Goslar
Died: August 7, 1106

 20 Martin Schulz

Martin Schulz
Famous As: Politician, Bookseller, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: December 20, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eschweiler

 21 Baldur von Schirach

Baldur von Schirach
Famous As: Nazi Leader, Reichsjugendführer (1931-40)
Birthdate: May 9, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 8, 1974

Baldur von Schirach was a Nazi German politician. He is best remembered for his work as the national youth leader of the Nazi Party. From 1931 to 1940, he also served as the head of an organization called Hitler Youth. After the Second World War, Schirach was found guilty of crimes against humanity and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

 22 Manfred Rommel

Manfred Rommel
Famous As: Writer, Politician, Jurist
Birthdate: December 24, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stuttgart
Died: November 7, 2013

 23 Walter Ulbricht

Walter Ulbricht
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 30, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: August 1, 1973

Walter Ulbricht was a German politician who played a major role in the establishment of the Communist Party of Germany. He also played a key role in the establishment and development of the German Democratic Republic. from 1950 to 1971, Walter Ulbricht was the most influential person in East Germany, serving as the Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party.

 24 Clement Freud

Clement Freud
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 24, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: April 15, 2009

Better known as the grandson of Sigmund Freud, Clement Freud was a broadcaster who made a name as a panelist on the BBC Radio 4 show Just a Minute. He was also a Liberal MP. His reputation was tainted later, after he was accused of molesting several underage girls.

 25 Gustav Stresemann

Gustav Stresemann
Famous As: Chancellor of Germany
Birthdate: May 10, 1878
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: October 3, 1929

Gustav Stresemann was the only one of his siblings to complete university education. He grew up to serve as the chancellor of the Weimar Republic briefly, before becoming the foreign minister. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the French foreign minister Aristide Briand for an agreement of reconciliation.

 26 Gregor Strasser

Gregor Strasser
Famous As: Politician, Pharmacist
Birthdate: May 31, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Geisenfeld
Died: July 1, 1934

 27 William I, German Emperor

William I, German Emperor
Famous As: King
Birthdate: March 22, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 9, 1888

William I, German Emperor reigned as the king of Prussia from 1861 until his death in 1888. He also reigned as the first German emperor from 1871 to 1888. He is credited with overseeing the unification of Germany and establishing the German Empire. William's reign also witnessed the brilliance of Otto von Bismarck, who served as the former's minister president.

 28 Joachim Gauck

Joachim Gauck
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rostock, Germany

Joachim Gauck is a German civil rights activist and politician. From 2012 to 2017, Gauck served as the president of Germany. Joachim Gauck is credited with co-founding a political movement called New Forum in 1989, which played a critical role in the undoing of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. A multi-talented personality, Joachim Gauck has authored many influential books.

 29 Carol I of Romania

Carol I of Romania
Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: April 20, 1839
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sigmaringen, Germany
Died: October 10, 1914

 30 Ernst Thälmann

Ernst Thälmann
Famous As: Politician, Worker, Revolutionary, Trade unionist
Birthdate: April 16, 1886
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamburg
Died: August 18, 1944

 31 Frauke Petry

Frauke Petry
Famous As: Member of the German Bundestag
Birthdate: June 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany

 32 Wolfgang Schäuble

Wolfgang Schäuble
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Freiburg

 33 Augustus II the Strong

Augustus II the Strong
Famous As: Elector of Saxony
Birthdate: May 12, 1670
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: February 1, 1733

 34 Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels
Famous As: Nazi politician
Birthdate: October 29, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rheydt, Mönchengladbach, Germany
Died: May 1, 1945

As one of Adolf Hitler's most devoted and closest associates, Joseph Goebbels played an important role in making the Holocaust happen. He even urged Hitler to introduce measures, such as the shutting down of businesses which were not useful to the war effort, that eventually gave rise to total war. Subsequently, Hitler appointed him as Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War.

 35 Erich Honecker

Erich Honecker
Famous As: General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany
Birthdate: August 25, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Neunkirchen, Germany
Died: May 29, 1994
Erich Honecker led East Germany from 1971 until prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He had been the General Secretary of the SED and had chaired the National Defense Council. He was pardoned from a human rights abuses trial due to his struggle with liver cancer.

 36 Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler
Famous As: Dictator of Germany (1933-1945)
Birthdate: April 20, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Braunau am Inn, Austria
Died: April 30, 1945

One of the most powerful leaders of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler was a German dicator whose policies started the WWII that resulted in the death of millions of people. He had a visceral hatred for Jews and during his regime nearly six million Jews were killed in Holocaust.

 37 Gerhard Schröder

Gerhard Schröder
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Blomberg, Free State of Lippe, Nazi Germany

Gerhard Schröder is a German retired lawyer, politician, lobbyist, and consultant. From 1998 to 2005, Schröder served as the chancellor of Germany. He is currently serving as chairman of the popular energy company Rosneft. An influential figure, Gerhard Schröder has represented Germany on a couple of occasions, including the funeral services for Fidel Castro and Boris Yeltsin. 

 38 Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 8, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wuppertal, Germany

 39 Ludwig Erhard

Ludwig Erhard
Famous As: Chancellor of West Germany from 1963 until 1966
Birthdate: February 4, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fürth, Germany
Died: May 5, 1977

Ludwig Erhard was a German politician best remembered for his efforts to recover the economy in West Germany after the Second World War while serving as the Minister of Economic Affairs. From 1963 to 1966, he served as West Germany's chancellor. Although he was an influential politician, Erhard lacked support from former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, leading to Ludwig Erhard's resignation.

 40 Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Count of Anjou

Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
Famous As: Count of Anjou
Birthdate: August 24, 1113
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Le Mans, France
Died: September 7, 1151

 41 Charles, Prince Napoleon

Charles, Prince Napoleon
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 19, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

 42 Martin Bormann

Martin Bormann
Famous As: Private Secretary of Adolf Hitler
Birthdate: June 17, 1900
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wegeleben, Germany
Died: May 2, 1945

Martin Bormann was a Nazi Party official. Bormann headed the Nazi Party Chancellery, and gained immense power after he was accepted into Adolf Hitler's inner circle. In 1935, he became Hitler's personal secretary and served as the minister of the Nazi Party after Hitler's suicide in 1945.

 43 Anton Drexler

Anton Drexler
Famous As: Political Leader
Birthdate: June 13, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: February 24, 1942

Anton Drexler was a German political leader who founded the anti-Semitic and pan-German German Workers' Party (DAP), which served as a precursor to the Nazi Party (NSDAP). Drexler is best remembered for mentoring Adolf Hitler when the latter was still learning the tricks of the trade.

 44 Kurt Georg Kiesinger

Kurt Georg Kiesinger
Famous As: Chancellor of Germany 1 December 1966 to 21 October 1969
Birthdate: April 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ebingen, Albstadt, Germany
Died: March 9, 1988

Kurt Georg Kiesinger was a German politician. Nicknamed Silver Tongue, Kiesinger is best remembered for his outstanding skills as a mediator and orator. While serving as Baden-Württemberg's Minister President, Kiesinger founded the universities of Ulm and Konstanz. He is also credited with writing several books and poetry.

 45 Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick

Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Penzing, Vienna, Austria
Died: January 30, 1953

 46 Gisela Stuart

Gisela Stuart
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 26, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Velden, Bavaria, West Germany

 47 Karl Liebknecht

Karl Liebknecht
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: January 13, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: January 15, 1919

German socialist radical Karl Liebknecht is best remembered for co-founding the Spartacus League, an underground group that was declared illegal but later led to the formation of the Communist Party of Germany. He was shot to death on the orders of German commander Waldemar Pabst in the 1919 Spartacus Revolt.

 48 Georgy Lvov

Georgy Lvov
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 2, 1861
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: March 7, 1925

Russian statesman Georgy Lvov created history by becoming the first prime minister of the Russian provisional government formed during the 1917 February Revolution. A qualified lawyer, he worked in civil service for a few years, before joining the Kadet Party, or the Constitutional Democratic Party.

 49 Annalena Baerbock

Annalena Baerbock
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 15, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany

 50 Paul Schäfer

Paul Schäfer
Famous As: Medic
Birthdate: December 4, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Troisdorf, Germany
Died: April 24, 2010

Paul Schäfer Schneide was a Nazi era German colonel, who at the end of WWII founded an orphanage in West Germany. Charged with child molestation, he fled to Chile, where he established an isolated colony. But charged with child abuse, he had to flee once more before being arrested and convicted on twenty-five counts. He died while serving his term.