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 (retroactively approved by a referendum). 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 president was replaced by a collective head of state, the Staatsrat ("State Council"). After the Staatsrat was abolished on 5 April 1990, the president of the Volkskammer ("People's Chamber") served as head of state until East Germany joined the Federal Republic on 3 October 1990

Weimar Republic (1919–1933)

† denotes people who died in office.

Portrait Reichspräsident Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Friedrich Ebert
Ebert, FriedrichFriedrich Ebert
(1871–1925)
11 February 1919 28 February 1925 † 6 years, 17 days   SPD 1919
Hans Luther
Luther, HansHans Luther
(1879–1962)
Acting
[a]
28 February 1925 12 March 1925 12 days   Nonpartisan
Walter Simons
Simons, WalterWalter Simons
(1861–1937)
Acting
[b]
12 March 1925 12 May 1925 61 days   Nonpartisan
Paul von Hindenburg
Hindenburg, PaulGeneralfeldmarschall
Paul von Hindenburg
(1847–1934)
12 May 1925 2 August 1934 † 9 years, 82 days   Nonpartisan 1925
1932

Nazi Germany (1933–1945)

† denotes people who died in office.

Portrait Reichspräsident Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Paul von Hindenburg
Hindenburg, PaulGeneralfeldmarschall
Paul von Hindenburg
(1847–1934)
12 May 1925 2 August 1934 † 9 years, 82 days   Nonpartisan 1925
1932
Adolf Hitler
Hitler, AdolfAdolf Hitler
(1889–1945)
Führer und Reichskanzler
2 August 1934 30 April 1945 † 10 years, 271 days   NSDAP
Karl Dönitz
Dönitz, KarlGroßadmiral
Karl Dönitz
(1891–1980)
30 April 1945 23 May 1945 23 days   NSDAP

Federal Republic of Germany (from 1949)

† denotes people who died in office.

Portrait Bundespräsident Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Theodor Heuss
Heuss, TheodorTheodor Heuss
(1884–1963)
12 September 1949 12 September 1959 9 years, 364 days   FDP 1949
1954
Heinrich Lübke
Lübke, HeinrichHeinrich Lübke
(1894–1972)
13 September 1959 30 June 1969
(resigned)
9 years, 290 days   CDU 1959
1964
Gustav Heinemann
Heinemann, GustavGustav Heinemann
(1899–1976)
1 July 1969 30 June 1974 4 years, 364 days   SPD 1969
Walter Scheel
Scheel, WalterWalter Scheel
(1919–2016)
1 July 1974 30 June 1979 4 years, 364 days   FDP 1974
Karl Carstens
Carstens, KarlKarl Carstens
(1914–1992)
1 July 1979 30 June 1984 4 years, 365 days   CDU 1979
Richard von Weizsäcker
Weizsäcker, RichardRichard von Weizsäcker
(1920–2015)
1 July 1984 30 June 1994 9 years, 364 days   CDU 1984
1989
Roman Herzog
Herzog, RomanRoman Herzog
(1934–2017)
1 July 1994 30 June 1999 4 years, 364 days   CDU 1994
Johannes Rau
Rau, JohannesJohannes Rau
(1931–2006)
1 July 1999 30 June 2004 4 years, 365 days   SPD 1999
Horst Köhler
Köhler, HorstHorst Köhler
(born 1943)
1 July 2004 31 May 2010
(resigned)
5 years, 334 days   CDU 2004
2009
Jens Böhrnsen
Böhrnsen, JensJens Böhrnsen
(born 1949)
Acting
[c]
31 May 2010 30 June 2010 30 days   SPD
Christian Wulff
Wulff, ChristianChristian Wulff
(born 1959)
30 June 2010 17 February 2012
(resigned)
1 year, 232 days   CDU 2010
Horst Seehofer
Seehofer, HorstHorst Seehofer
(born 1949)
Acting
[c]
17 February 2012 18 March 2012 30 days   CSU
Joachim Gauck
Gauck, JoachimJoachim Gauck
(born 1940)
18 March 2012 18 March 2017 5 years, 0 days   Independent 2012
Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Steinmeier, Frank-WalterFrank-Walter Steinmeier
(born 1956)
18 March 2017 Incumbent 3 years, 188 days   SPD 2017

German Democratic Republic (East Germany) (1949–1990)

† denotes people who died in office.

Portrait Name Took office Left office Time in office Party
President of the Republic
Präsident der Republik
Wilhelm Pieck
Pieck, WilhelmWilhelm Pieck
(1876–1960)
11 October 1949 7 September 1960 † 10 years, 332 days   SED
Johannes Dieckmann
Dieckmann, JohannesJohannes Dieckmann
(1893–1969)
Acting
[d]
7 September 1960 12 September 1960 5 days   LDPD
Chairman of the State Council
Vorsitzender des Staatsrats
Walter Ulbricht
Ulbricht, WalterWalter Ulbricht
(1893–1973)
12 September 1960 1 August 1973 † 12 years, 323 days   SED
Friedrich Ebert Jr.
Ebert, FriedrichFriedrich Ebert Jr.
(1894–1979)
Acting
[e]
1 August 1973 3 October 1973 63 days   SED
Willi Stoph
Stoph, WilliWilli Stoph
(1914–1999)
3 October 1973 29 October 1976 3 years, 26 days   SED
Erich Honecker
Honecker, ErichErich Honecker
(1912–1994)
29 October 1976 18 October 1989
(resigned)
12 years, 354 days   SED
Egon Krenz
Krenz, EgonEgon Krenz
(born 1937)
18 October 1989 6 December 1989
(resigned)
49 days   SED
Manfred Gerlach
Gerlach, ManfredManfred Gerlach
(1928–2011)
6 December 1989 5 April 1990
(office abolished)
120 days   LDPD
President of the People's Chamber
Präsident der Volkskammer
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
Bergmann-Pohl, SabineSabine Bergmann-Pohl
(born 1946)
5 April 1990 2 October 1990
(office abolished)
180 days   CDU

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