List of presidents of Germany

A number of presidential offices have existed in Germany since the collapse of the German Empire in 1918.

The Weimar Constitution of August 1919 created the office of President of Germany (German: Reichspräsident). Upon the death of Paul von Hindenburg in August 1934 the office was left vacant, with Adolf Hitler becoming head of state as Führer und Reichskanzler. In April–May 1945, Karl Dönitz briefly became President upon the suicide of Hitler (in accordance with last will and testament of Hitler).

The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany of May 1949 created the office of President of the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundespräsident). From German reunification in 1990, the President has been the head of state for all of Germany.

The East German constitution of October 1949 created the office of President of the German Democratic Republic (German: Präsident der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, DDR). Upon the death of Wilhelm Pieck in 1960, the office of Präsident der DDR was abolished and replaced by a collective head of state, the Staatsrat ("State Council"). The Staatsrat was abolished by a constitutional amendment of the Volkskammer ("People's Chamber") on 5 April 1990. From then until the GDR joined the Federal Republic on 3 October 1990, the president of the Volkskammer also served as the GDR head of state.

Weimar Republic (1919–1933)Edit

† denotes people who died in office.

Reichspräsident Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Ebert, FriedrichFriedrich Ebert
(1871–1925)
11 February 191928 February 1925 †6 years, 17 days SPD1919
Luther, HansHans Luther
(1879–1962)
Acting
[a]
28 February 192512 March 192512 days Nonpartisan
Simons, WalterWalter Simons
(1861–1937)
Acting
[b]
12 March 192512 May 192561 days Nonpartisan
Hindenburg, PaulGeneralfeldmarschall
Paul von Hindenburg
(1847–1934)
12 May 19252 August 1934 †9 years, 82 days Nonpartisan1925
1932

Nazi Germany (1933–1945)Edit

† denotes people who died in office.

Reichspräsident Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Hindenburg, PaulGeneralfeldmarschall
Paul von Hindenburg
(1847–1934)
Reichspräsident
12 May 19252 August 1934 †9 years, 82 days Nonpartisan1925
1932
Hitler, AdolfAdolf Hitler
(1889–1945)
Führer und Reichskanzler
2 August 193430 April 1945 †10 years, 271 days NSDAP1934
(referendum)
Dönitz, KarlGroßadmiral
Karl Dönitz
(1891–1980)
Reichspräsident
30 April 194523 May 194523 days NSDAP

German Democratic Republic (1949–1990)Edit

† denotes people who died in office.

President of the Republic (Präsident der Republik)Edit

Präsident der Republik Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Dieckmann, JohannesJohannes Dieckmann
(1893–1969)
Acting
[c]
7 October 194911 October 19494 days LDPD
Pieck, WilhelmWilhelm Pieck
(1876–1960)
11 October 19497 September 1960 †10 years, 332 days SED1949
1953
1957
Dieckmann, JohannesJohannes Dieckmann
(1893–1969)
Acting
[c]
7 September 196012 September 19605 days LDPD

Chairman of the State Council (Vorsitzender des Staatsrats)Edit

Vorsitzender Took office Left office Time in office Party
Ulbricht, WalterWalter Ulbricht
(1893–1973)
12 September 19601 August 1973 †12 years, 323 days SED
Ebert, FriedrichFriedrich Ebert Jr.
(1894–1979)
Acting
[d]
1 August 19733 October 197363 days SED
Stoph, WilliWilli Stoph
(1914–1999)
3 October 197329 October 19763 years, 26 days SED
Honecker, ErichErich Honecker
(1912–1994)
29 October 197618 October 1989
(resigned)
12 years, 354 days SED
Krenz, EgonEgon Krenz
(born 1937)
18 October 19896 December 1989
(resigned)
49 days SED
Gerlach, ManfredManfred Gerlach
(1928–2011)
6 December 19895 April 1990
(office abolished)
120 days LDPD
Bergmann-Pohl, SabineSabine Bergmann-Pohl
(born 1946)
Acting
[e]
5 April 19902 October 1990
(office abolished)
180 days CDU

Federal Republic of Germany (from 1949)Edit

† denotes people who died in office.

Bundespräsident Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Arnold, KarlKarl Arnold
(1901–1958)
Acting
[f]
7 September 194912 September 19495 days CDU
Heuss, TheodorTheodor Heuss
(1884–1963)
13 September 194912 September 19599 years, 364 days FDP1949
1954
Lübke, HeinrichHeinrich Lübke
(1894–1972)
13 September 195930 June 1969
(resigned)
9 years, 290 days CDU1959
1964
Heinemann, GustavGustav Heinemann
(1899–1976)
1 July 196930 June 19744 years, 364 days SPD1969
Scheel, WalterWalter Scheel
(1919–2016)
1 July 197430 June 19794 years, 364 days FDP1974
Carstens, KarlKarl Carstens
(1914–1992)
1 July 197930 June 19844 years, 365 days CDU1979
Weizsäcker, RichardRichard von Weizsäcker
(1920–2015)
1 July 198430 June 19949 years, 364 days CDU1984
1989
Herzog, RomanRoman Herzog
(1934–2017)
1 July 199430 June 19994 years, 364 days CDU1994
Rau, JohannesJohannes Rau
(1931–2006)
1 July 199930 June 20044 years, 365 days SPD1999
Köhler, HorstHorst Köhler
(born 1943)
1 July 200431 May 2010
(resigned)
5 years, 334 days CDU2004
2009
Böhrnsen, JensJens Böhrnsen
(born 1949)
Acting
[f]
31 May 201030 June 201030 days SPD
Wulff, ChristianChristian Wulff
(born 1959)
30 June 201017 February 2012
(resigned)
1 year, 232 days CDU2010
Seehofer, HorstHorst Seehofer
(born 1949)
Acting
[f]
17 February 201218 March 201230 days CSU
Gauck, JoachimJoachim Gauck
(born 1940)
18 March 201218 March 20175 years, 0 days Independent2012
Steinmeier, Frank-WalterFrank-Walter Steinmeier
(born 1956)
18 March 2017Incumbent3 years, 3 days SPD2017

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Acting President, as Chancellor of Germany.
  2. ^ Acting President, as President of the Reichsgericht.
  3. ^ a b Acting President, as President of the Volkskammer.
  4. ^ Acting Chairman of the State Council, as Deputy Chairman of the State Council.
  5. ^ Acting head of state, as President of the Volkskammer.
  6. ^ a b c Acting President, as President of the Bundesrat.

See alsoEdit