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Religious affiliations of chancellors of Germany

Current German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is Lutheran.

Most German chancellors have been followers of a Christian church. German society has been affected by a Catholic-Protestant divide since the Protestant Reformation, and the same effect is visible in this list of German chancellors. It is largely dominated by Catholics and Lutherans as these remain the main confessions in the country.

The current German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is a Lutheran Protestant within the Evangelical Church.


Most of Germany's chancellors have been either Lutherans or Catholics. A significant portion of Protestant chancellors belonged to the Prussian Union of churches, which united the Reformed and Lutheran confessions throughout the Kingdom of Prussia, and was in force since 1817. Some Catholic chancellors came from the Catholic Centre Party. The Christian Democratic Union, a party of both Roman Catholics and Protestants, produced both kinds of chancellors. One chancellor, namely Philipp Scheidemann, was Reformed (Calvinist).[1]

Although there were some religiously sceptic chancellors, most never officially renounced their faith and were given a Christian funeral. Hermann Müller, a Social Democrat heavily influenced by his father-an advocate of Ludwig Feuerbach's views, is the only one notable for not having been a member of any confession at all. Friedrich Ebert was baptised a Roman Catholic, but later officially left the denomination[2]. Gustav Bauer is on record as unaffiliated to any recognised religion at least from 1912 to 1924 (thus including his term of office)[3], but he was buried on a Protestant cemetery[4].

As some chancellors' views are uncertain or causing confusion among researchers, such as these of Adolf Hitler or Joseph Goebbels, the official religion they were brought up in is only mentioned with a further information on their worldviews, if available. For issues pertaining to Nazi stance on religion, see Religion in Nazi Germany, Religious aspects of Nazism, and Religious views of Adolf Hitler.

By termEdit

North German ConfederationEdit

Name Term Religious affiliation
1 Otto von Bismarck 1867–1871 Lutheran

German EmpireEdit

Name Term Religious affiliation
1 Otto von Bismarck 1871–1890 Lutheran
2 Leo von Caprivi 1890–1894 Lutheran
3 Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst 1894–1900 Catholic
4 Bernhard von Bülow 1900–1909 Lutheran
5 Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg 1909–1917 Lutheran
6 Georg Michaelis 1917 Lutheran
7 Georg von Hertling 1917–1918 Catholic
8 Max von Baden 1918 Lutheran

Weimar RepublicEdit

Name Term Religious affiliation
1 Friedrich Ebert 1918–1919 Irreligious (see details above)
2 Philipp Scheidemann 1919 Reformed
3 Gustav Bauer 1919–1920 Irreligious (see details above)
4 Hermann Müller 1920 Irreligious
5 Constantin Fehrenbach 1920-1921 Roman Catholic
6 Joseph Wirth 1921–1922 Roman Catholic
7 Wilhelm Cuno 1922–1923 Roman Catholic
8 Gustav Stresemann 1923 Lutheran
9 Wilhelm Marx 1923–1925 Roman Catholic
10 Hans Luther 1925–1926 Lutheran
11 Wilhelm Marx 1926–1928 Roman Catholic
12 Hermann Müller 1928-1930 Irreligious
13 Heinrich Brüning 1930-1932 Roman Catholic
14 Franz von Papen 1932 Roman Catholic
15 Kurt von Schleicher 1932–1933 Lutheran

Nazi GermanyEdit

Name Term Religious affiliation
1 Adolf Hitler 1933–1945 initially Roman Catholic, see details
2 Joseph Goebbels 1945 initially Roman Catholic
3 Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk 1945 Lutheran

West Germany and reunified GermanyEdit

Name Term Religious affiliation
N/A Vacant 1945-1949 N/A
1 Konrad Adenauer 1949–1963 Roman Catholic
2 Ludwig Erhard 1963–1966 Lutheran
3 Kurt Georg Kiesinger 1966–1969 Roman Catholic
4 Willy Brandt 1969–1974 Lutheran
N/A Walter Scheel 1974, acting Lutheran
5 Helmut Schmidt 1974–1982 Lutheran
6 Helmut Kohl 1982–1998 Roman Catholic
7 Gerhard Schröder 1998-2005 Lutheran
8 Angela Merkel 2005–present Lutheran

Affiliation totalsEdit

This table doesn't include Walter Scheel, a Lutheran who served as acting Chancellor in May 1974.

Lutheran 16
Roman Catholic 12
initially Roman Catholic 2
Reformed 1
Irreligious 3

See alsoEdit