Famous German Political Leaders

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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.
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 1 
Angela Merkel
(First Female Chancellor of Germany (2005 - 2021))
Angela Merkel
47
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.

 2 
Otto von Bismarck
(Chancellor of the German Empire (1871 - 1890))
Otto von Bismarck
27
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.
 3 
Helmut Kohl
(Former Chancellor of Germany)
Helmut Kohl
7
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.
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 4 
Paul von Hindenburg
(President of Germany (1925-1934))
Paul von Hindenburg
7
Birthdate: October 2, 1847
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poznań, 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.
 5 
Ursula von der Leyen
(President of the European Commission )
Ursula von der Leyen
7
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.
 6 
Konrad Adenauer
(Former Chancellor of Germany)
Konrad Adenauer
4
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.

 7 
Willy Brandt
(Chancellor of Germany (1969 - 1974))
Willy Brandt
4
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.

 8 
Frank-Walter Steinmeier
(President of Germany (Since 2017))
Frank-Walter Steinmeier
4
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.

 9 
Helmut Schmidt
(Politician)
Helmut Schmidt
5
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.

 10 
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (962 - 973))
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
4
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.

 11 
Kurt von Schleicher
(German General and the Last Chancellor of Germany—Before Adolf Hitler—During the Weimar Republic)
Kurt von Schleicher
4
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.

 12 
Hans Frank
(German Politician and Lawyer Who Served as Governor-General of Poland During World War II)
Hans Frank
4
Birthdate: May 23, 1900
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Karlsruhe, Germany
Died: October 16, 1946

Hitler’s legal advisor Hans Frank was made the governor-general of Poland after World War II broke out. Known as the Butcher of Poland for his atrocities against the Jews, he was hanged at the end of the Nuremberg Trials. He penned his autobiography while awaiting his execution.

 13 
Hermann Goring
(German Nazi Party Leader and Convicted War Criminal)
Hermann Goring
6
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.

 14 
Friedrich Ebert
(1st President of Germany (1919 - 1925))
Friedrich Ebert
3
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.

 15 
Rudolf Hess
(Deputy Führer)
Rudolf Hess
10
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.
 16 
Julius Streicher
(German Nazi Politician, Founder and Publisher of the Virulently Antisemitic Newspaper ‘Der Stürmer’)
Julius Streicher
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1885
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dinkelscherben, Germany
Died: October 16, 1946
Julius Streicher went from being an elementary school teacher to establishing the anti-semitic Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer. He led an adulterous life and even spread rumors about his rival party members, which eventually led him to lose all party posts. He was eventually hanged after the Nuremberg trials.
 17 
Manfred Rommel
(Writer, Politician, Jurist)
Manfred Rommel
3
Birthdate: December 24, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stuttgart
Died: November 7, 2013
 18 
Lina Heydrich
(Former Writer, Reinhard Heydrich's wife)
Lina Heydrich
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fehmarn, Germany
Died: August 14, 1985
 19 
Joachim von Ribbentrop
(Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nazi Germany (1938 - 1945))
Joachim von Ribbentrop
4
Birthdate: April 30, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wesel, Germany
Died: October 16, 1946

German politician Joachim von Ribbentrop was Nazi Germany’s minister of foreign affairs from 1938 to 1945. He let Hitler use his summer house, Schloss Fuschl, for secret Nazi meetings. Ribbentrop was eventually convicted of war crimes and became the first Nuremberg defendant to be hanged to death.

Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1050
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Goslar
Died: August 7, 1106
 21 
Baldur von Schirach
(German Nazi Politician and Leader of the Nazi Youth Movement)
Baldur von Schirach
4
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 
Martin Schulz
(Politician, Bookseller, Non-fiction writer)
Martin Schulz
3
Birthdate: December 20, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eschweiler
William I, German Emperor
4
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.

 24 
Gustav Stresemann
(Chancellor of Germany)
Gustav Stresemann
3
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.

 25 
Gregor Strasser
(Politician, Pharmacist)
Gregor Strasser
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Geisenfeld
Died: July 1, 1934
 26 
Frederick William IV of Prussia
(Former King of Prussia (1840 - 1861))
Frederick William IV of Prussia
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1795
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: January 2, 1861

Frederick William IV of Prussia was the King of Prussia from 1840 until his death in 1861.  He was the eldest son of Frederick William III of Prussia and his wife, Queen Louise. He was a staunch Romanticist and was a patron of several great German artists. He ascended to the throne upon the death of his father in 1840.

 27 
Wolfgang Schäuble
(Politician)
Wolfgang Schäuble
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Freiburg
 28 
Martin Bormann
(Private Secretary of Adolf Hitler)
Martin Bormann
7
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.

 29 
Ernst Thälmann
(Politician, Worker, Revolutionary, Trade unionist)
Ernst Thälmann
3
Birthdate: April 16, 1886
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamburg
Died: August 18, 1944
 30 
Joachim Gauck
(11th President of Germany (2012 - 2017))
Joachim Gauck
3
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.

 31 
Augustus II the Strong
(Elector of Saxony)
Augustus II the Strong
3
Birthdate: May 12, 1670
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: February 1, 1733
 32 
Adolf Hitler
(Nazi Dictator and Chancellor of Germany (1933-1945))
Adolf Hitler
64
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.

 33 
Joseph Goebbels
(German Nazi Politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda (1933 – 1945))
Joseph Goebbels
18
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.

 34 
Erich von Falkenhayn
(Former Minister of War of Prussia (1913 - 1915))
Erich von Falkenhayn
3
Birthdate: September 11, 1861
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Białochowo, Poland
Died: April 8, 1922

Erich von Falkenhayn was a war leader who played a major role during World War I where he served as the Chief of the German General Staff from 1914 to 1916. He also served as the Prussian Minister of War from 1913 to 1915. Although his reputation was attacked by certain groups, many regard Falkenhayn as a great German general.

 35 
Erich Honecker
(Former General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (1971 - 1989))
Erich Honecker
5
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 
Gyles Brandreth
4
Birthdate: March 8, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wuppertal, Germany
 37 
Franz von Papen
(Former Vice-Chancellor of Germany)
Franz von Papen
4
Birthdate: October 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Werl, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany
Died: May 2, 1969

Franz von Papen was a German politician, Prussian nobleman, diplomat, and General Staff officer. From 1933 to 1934, he served under Adolf Hitler as the Vice-Chancellor of Germany. After World War II, Franz von Papen was indicted alongside other war criminals in the Nuremberg trials. However, he was later acquitted of all charges.

 38 
Gerhard Schröder
(Politician)
Gerhard Schröder
5
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. 

 39 
Charles, Prince Napoleon
3
Birthdate: October 19, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
3
Birthdate: August 24, 1113
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Le Mans, France
Died: September 7, 1151
 41 
Frederick William III of Prussia
(King of Prussia (1797 - 1840))
Frederick William III of Prussia
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1770
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: June 7, 1840

The son of Frederick William II, Prussian king Frederick William III mostly kept himself aloof from important decisions. He also hampered Prussia’s image by maintaining neutrality in the Wars of the Second and Third Coalitions. He mostly remained under the shadow of his wife, Queen Louise.

 42 
Karl Liebknecht
(German Socialist and One of the Founders of the 'Communist Party of Germany')
Karl Liebknecht
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1871
Sun Sign: Leo
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.

 43 
Ludwig Erhard
(Chancellor of West Germany from 1963 until 1966)
Ludwig Erhard
3
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.

 44 
Kurt Georg Kiesinger
(Chancellor of Germany 1 December 1966 to 21 October 1969)
Kurt Georg Kiesinger
5
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.

Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
3
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Penzing, Vienna, Austria
Died: January 30, 1953
 46 
Annalena Baerbock
(Politician)
Annalena Baerbock
4
Birthdate: December 15, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
 47 
Gisela Stuart
(Politician)
Gisela Stuart
3
Birthdate: November 26, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Velden, Bavaria, West Germany
 48 
Anton Drexler
(Political Leader)
Anton Drexler
4
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.

 49 
Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
(Senior government official who served as the minister of Finance of Germany from 1932 to 1945)
Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
3
Birthdate: August 22, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rathmannsdorf, Germany
Died: March 4, 1977
Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk was a German politician who served as Germany's Finance Minister from 1932 to 1945. Krosigk and his ministry were largely responsible for the persecution of European and German Jews. One of the most important members of the Nazi Party, Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk was also among the few members of the Hitler cabinet.
 50 
Prince Maximilian of Baden
(Last Chancellor of the German Empire and Minister-President of Prussia (1918))
Prince Maximilian of Baden
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1867
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baden-Baden, Germany
Died: November 6, 1929

Prince Maximilian of Baden was a German politician and general. Maximilian, who belonged to the German aristocracy, was the last chancellor of the German Empire. He also played an important role in the events leading up to the creation of the Weimar Republic.