The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary German Politicians of all time. This list of famous German Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of German Politicians.
With an HPI of 89.69, Otto von Bismarck is the most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 140 different languages on wikipedia.
Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (German: Otto Fürst von Bismarck, Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen, Herzog zu Lauenburg, pronounced [ˈɔtoː fɔn ˈbɪsmaʁk] (listen); 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a conservative German statesman and diplomat. From his origins in the upper class of Junker landowners, Bismarck rose rapidly in the politics of Prussia and, from 1862 to 1890, he was the Minister President of Prussia and its foreign minister. Previously, before his rise to the executive, Bismarck was the Prussian ambassador to Russia and France and served in both houses of the Prussian Parliament. He masterminded the unification of Germany in 1871 and served as the first Chancellor of the German Empire until 1890, in which capacity he dominated European affairs. He had served as the chancellor of the North German Confederation, the precursor to the German Empire, from 1867 to 1871, alongside his responsibilities in the Kingdom of Prussia. He cooperated with King Wilhelm I of Prussia to unify the various German states, a partnership that would last for the rest of Wilhelm's life. The King granted Bismarck the titles of Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen in 1865 and Prince of Bismarck in 1871. Bismarck provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark, Austria, and France. Following the victory against Austria, he abolished the supranational German Confederation and instead formed the North German Confederation as the first German national state, aligning the smaller North German states behind Prussia, while excluding Austria. Receiving the support of the independent South German states in the Confederation's defeat of France, he formed the German Empire – which also excluded Austria – and united Germany. With Prussian dominance accomplished by 1871, Bismarck skilfully used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany's position in a peaceful Europe. To historian Eric Hobsbawm, Bismarck "remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for almost twenty years after 1871, [and] devoted himself exclusively, and successfully, to maintaining peace between the powers". However, his annexation of Alsace–Lorraine gave new fuel to French revanchism and Germanophobia. Bismarck's diplomacy of Realpolitik and powerful rule at home gained him the nickname the Iron Chancellor. German unification and its rapid economic growth was the foundation to his foreign policy. He disliked colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when it was demanded by both elite and mass opinion. Juggling a very complex interlocking series of conferences, negotiations and alliances, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain Germany's position. A master of complex politics at home, Bismarck created the first welfare state in the modern world, with the goal of gaining working class support that might otherwise go to his Socialist opponents. In the 1870s, he allied himself with the low-tariff, anti-Catholic Liberals and fought the Catholic Church in what was called the Kulturkampf ("culture struggle"). He lost, as the Catholics responded by forming the powerful German Centre Party and using universal male suffrage to gain a bloc of seats. Bismarck then reversed himself, ended the Kulturkampf, broke with the Liberals, imposed protective tariffs, and formed a political alliance with the Centre Party to fight the Socialists. A devout Lutheran, he was loyal to his ruler, Kaiser Wilhelm I, who argued with Bismarck but in the end supported him against the advice of his wife, Empress Augusta, and his son and heir, Crown Prince Frederick William. While the Imperial Reichstag was elected by universal male suffrage, it did not have much control of government policy. Bismarck distrusted democracy and ruled through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with power in the hands of a traditional Junker elite that consisted of the landed nobility in eastern Prussia. In his role as chancellor, he largely controlled domestic and foreign affairs. In 1888, which was the year of Three Emperors, the throne went from Wilhelm I to his son Frederick III to Frederick's headstrong son Wilhelm II, who dismissed Bismarck from office, and wherein the Iron Chancellor retired to write his memoirs. Bismarck was strong-willed, outspoken and overbearing, but he could also be polite, charming and witty. Occasionally he displayed a violent temper, which he sometimes feigned to get the results he wanted, and he kept his power by melodramatically threatening resignation time and again, which cowed Wilhelm I. He possessed not only a long-term national and international vision but also the short-term ability to juggle complex developments. Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists, who built many monuments honouring him. Many historians praise him as a visionary who was instrumental in uniting Germany and, once that had been accomplished, kept the peace in Europe through adroit diplomacy. Historian Robert K. Massie has noted Bismarck's popular image was as "gruff" and "militaristic", while in reality "Bismarck's tool was aggressive, ruthless diplomacy."
With an HPI of 87.40, Henry Kissinger is the 2nd most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.
Henry Alfred Kissinger (; German: [ˈkɪsɪŋɐ]; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger; May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. A Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938, he became National Security Advisor in 1969 and U.S. Secretary of State in 1973. For his actions negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances, with two members of the committee resigning in protest.A practitioner of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People's Republic of China, engaged in what became known as shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War. Kissinger has also been associated with such controversial policies as U.S. involvement in the 1973 Chilean military coup, a "green light" to Argentina's military junta for their Dirty War, and U.S. support for Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War despite a genocide being perpetrated by Pakistan. After leaving government, he formed Kissinger Associates, an international geopolitical consulting firm. Kissinger has written over a dozen books on diplomatic history and international relations. Kissinger remains a controversial and polarizing figure in U.S. politics, both condemned as an alleged war criminal by many journalists, political activists, and human rights lawyers, and venerated as a highly effective U.S. Secretary of State by many prominent international relations scholars. With the death of centenarian George Shultz in February 2021, Kissinger is the oldest living former U.S. Cabinet member and the last surviving member of Nixon's Cabinet.
With an HPI of 86.04, Heinrich Himmler is the 3rd most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (German: [ˈhaɪnʁɪç ˈluːɪtˌpɔlt ˈhɪmlɐ] (listen); 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of the Holocaust. As a member of a reserve battalion during World War I, Himmler did not see active service. He studied agronomy in university, and joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and the SS in 1925. In 1929, he was appointed Reichsführer-SS by Adolf Hitler. Over the next 16 years, he developed the SS from a mere 290-man battalion into a million-strong paramilitary group, and set up and controlled the Nazi concentration camps. He was known for good organisational skills and for selecting highly competent subordinates, such as Reinhard Heydrich in 1931. From 1943 onwards, he was both Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo (Secret State Police). He controlled the Waffen-SS, the military branch of the SS. Himmler held an interest in varieties of occultism and Völkisch topics, and he employed elements of these beliefs to develop the racial policy of Nazi Germany and incorporated esoteric symbolism and rituals into the SS. Himmler formed the Einsatzgruppen and built extermination camps. As overseer of the Nazi genocidal programs, Himmler directed the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Romani people, and other victims. The total number of civilians killed by the regime is estimated at eleven to fourteen million people. Most of them were Polish and Soviet citizens. Late in World War II, Hitler briefly appointed him a military commander and later Commander of the Replacement (Home) Army and General Plenipotentiary for the administration of the entire Third Reich (Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung). Specifically, he was given command of the Army Group Upper Rhine and the Army Group Vistula. After Himmler failed to achieve his assigned objectives, Hitler replaced him in these posts. Realising the war was lost, Himmler attempted to open peace talks with the western Allies without Hitler's knowledge, shortly before the end of the war. Hearing of this, Hitler dismissed him from all his posts in April 1945 and ordered his arrest. Himmler attempted to go into hiding, but was detained and then arrested by British forces once his identity became known. While in British custody, he committed suicide on 23 May 1945.
With an HPI of 85.48, Wilhelm II, German Emperor is the 4th most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 97 different languages.
Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert; 27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941), anglicised as William II, was the last German Emperor (German: Kaiser) and King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until his abdication on 9 November 1918. Despite strengthening the German Empire's position as a great power by building a powerful navy, his tactless public statements and erratic foreign policy greatly antagonized the international community and are considered by many to be one of the underlying causes for World War I. When the German war effort collapsed after a series of crushing defeats on the Western Front in 1918, he was forced to abdicate, thereby marking the end of the German Empire and the House of Hohenzollern's 300-year reign in Prussia and 500-year reign in Brandenburg. Wilhelm II was the son of Prince Frederick William of Prussia and Victoria, Princess Royal. His father was the son of Wilhelm I, German Emperor, and his mother was the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Wilhelm's grandfather, Wilhelm I, died in March 1888. His father became Emperor Frederick III, but died just 99 days later; in what is called the Year of the Three Emperors, Wilhelm II ascended the throne of the Second Reich in June 1888. In March 1890, Wilhelm II dismissed the German Empire's powerful longtime Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, and assumed direct control over his nation's policies, embarking on a bellicose "New Course" to cement its status as a leading world power. Over the course of his reign, the German colonial empire acquired new territories in China and the Pacific (such as Kiautschou Bay, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Caroline Islands) and became Europe's largest manufacturer. However, Wilhelm often undermined such progress by making tactless statements and threats towards other countries without first consulting his ministers. Germany became Britain's main enemy when the Kaiser launched a massive expansion of the Imperial German Navy. On the eve of World War I, Wilhelm’s foreign policy had long isolated Germany from other European powers. While Germany still had a close ally in Austria-Hungary, this was coupled with more hostile relations with Russia, France and Britain. Wilhelm’s sporadic foreign policy decisions led to the unification of Germany’s foreign opponents under the banner of the Entente Cordiale. Britain and France for the first time aligned their interests, while France’s alliance with Russia served to encircle Germany. Wilhelm's reign culminated in Germany's guarantee of military support to Austria-Hungary during the crisis of July 1914, one of the immediate causes for World War I. By this time Wilhelm had lost virtually all decision-making power. Indeed, all civilian officials were losing power to the Army's General Staff. By August 1916, a de facto military dictatorship set national policy for the rest of the conflict. Despite emerging victorious over Russia and obtaining significant territorial gains in Eastern Europe, Germany was forced to relinquish all its conquests after a decisive defeat on the Western Front in the fall of 1918. Losing the support of his country's military and many of his subjects, Wilhelm was forced to abdicate during the German Revolution of 1918–1919. The revolution converted Germany from a monarchy into an unstable democratic state known as the Weimar Republic. Wilhelm fled to exile in the Netherlands where he remained during its occupation by Nazi Germany in 1940. He died there in 1941.
With an HPI of 84.82, Angela Merkel is the 5th most famous German Politician. Her biography has been translated into 148 different languages.
Angela Dorothea Merkel (German: [ˈaŋɡela doʁoˈteːa ˈmɛɐ̯kl̩] (listen); née Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a retired German politician and scientist who served as the chancellor of Germany from 2005 to 2021. A member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), she previously served as leader of the Opposition from 2002 to 2005 and as Leader of the Christian Democratic Union from 2000 to 2018. Merkel was the first female chancellor of Germany. During her tenure as Chancellor, Merkel was frequently referred to as the de facto leader of the European Union (EU) and the most powerful woman in the world.Merkel was born in Hamburg in then-West Germany, moving to East Germany as an infant when her father, a Lutheran clergyman, received a pastorate in Perleberg. She obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986 and worked as a research scientist until 1989. Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, briefly serving as deputy spokeswoman for the first democratically elected Government of East Germany led by Lothar de Maizière. Following German reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. As the protégée of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Merkel was appointed as Minister for Women and Youth in 1991, later becoming Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1994. After the CDU lost the 1998 federal election, Merkel was elected CDU General Secretary, before becoming the party's first female leader and the first female Leader of the Opposition two years later, in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble. Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed to succeed Gerhard Schröder as Chancellor of Germany, leading a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Merkel was the first woman to be elected as Chancellor, and the first Chancellor since reunification to have been raised in the former East Germany. At the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote, and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the Free Democratic Party (FDP). At the 2013 federal election, Merkel's CDU won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag. At the 2017 federal election, Merkel led the CDU to become the largest party for the fourth time; Merkel formed a third grand coalition with the SPD and was sworn in for a joint-record fourth term as Chancellor on 14 March 2018.In foreign policy, Merkel has emphasised international cooperation, both in the context of the EU and NATO, and strengthening transatlantic economic relations. In 2008, Merkel served as President of the European Council and played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. Merkel played a crucial role in managing the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the European debt crisis. She negotiated the 2008 European Union stimulus plan focusing on infrastructure spending and public investment to counteract the Great Recession. In domestic policy, Merkel's Energiewende program has focused on future energy development, seeking to phase out nuclear power in Germany, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase renewable energy sources. Reforms to the Bundeswehr which abolished conscription, health care reform, and her government's response to the 2010s European migrant crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany were major issues during her chancellorship. She served as the senior G7 leader from 2011 to 2012 and again from 2014 to 2021. In 2014 she became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the EU. In October 2018, Merkel announced that she would stand down as Leader of the CDU at the party convention, and would not seek a fifth term as Chancellor in the 2021 federal election.
With an HPI of 84.75, Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor is the 6th most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 77 different languages.
Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (German: Otto der Große, Italian: Ottone il Grande), was East Frankish king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda. Otto inherited the Duchy of Saxony and the kingship of the Germans upon his father's death in 936. He continued his father's work of unifying all German tribes into a single kingdom and greatly expanded the king's powers at the expense of the aristocracy. Through strategic marriages and personal appointments, Otto installed members of his family in the kingdom's most important duchies. This reduced the various dukes, who had previously been co-equals with the king, to royal subjects under his authority. Otto transformed the church in Germany to strengthen royal authority and subjected its clergy to his personal control. After putting down a brief civil war among the rebellious duchies, Otto defeated the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, thus ending the Hungarian invasions of Western Europe. The victory against the pagan Magyars earned Otto a reputation as a savior of Christendom and secured his hold over the kingdom. By 961, Otto had conquered the Kingdom of Italy. The patronage of Otto and his immediate successors facilitated a so-called "Ottonian Renaissance" of arts and architecture. Following the example of Charlemagne's coronation as "Emperor of the Romans" in 800, Otto was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962 by Pope John XII in Rome. Otto's later years were marked by conflicts with the papacy and struggles to stabilize his rule over Italy. Reigning from Rome, Otto sought to improve relations with the Byzantine Empire, which opposed his claim to emperorship and his realm's further expansion to the south. To resolve this conflict, the Byzantine princess Theophanu married his son Otto II in April 972. Otto finally returned to Germany in August 972 and died at Memleben in May 973. Otto II succeeded him as Holy Roman Emperor. Otto has been consistently depicted in historiography through different eras as a successful ruler. Modern historians, while not denying his strong character and his many fruitful initiatives, explore the emperor's capability as a consensus builder – a process that goes in parallel with greater recognition of the nature of consensus politics in Medieval Europe (especially Western and Central parts) as well as different roles played by other actors in his time. As one of the most notable Holy Roman Emperors, Otto's footprint in artistic depictions is also considerable.
With an HPI of 84.33, Hermann Göring is the 7th most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 76 different languages.
Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering; German: [ˈɡøːʁɪŋ] (listen); 12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German politician, military leader and convicted war criminal. He was one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party, which ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. A veteran World War I fighter pilot ace, Göring was a recipient of the Pour le Mérite ("The Blue Max"). He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1 (Jasta 1), the fighter wing once led by Manfred von Richthofen. An early member of the Nazi Party, Göring was among those wounded in Adolf Hitler's failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. While receiving treatment for his injuries, he developed an addiction to morphine which persisted until the last year of his life. After Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Göring was named as minister without portfolio in the new government. One of his first acts as a cabinet minister was to oversee the creation of the Gestapo, which he ceded to Heinrich Himmler in 1934. Following the establishment of the Nazi state, Göring amassed power and political capital to become the second most powerful man in Germany. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force), a position he held until the final days of the regime. Upon being named Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan in 1936, Göring was entrusted with the task of mobilizing all sectors of the economy for war, an assignment which brought numerous government agencies under his control. In September 1939, Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy in all his offices. After the Fall of France in 1940, he was bestowed the specially created rank of Reichsmarschall, which gave him seniority over all officers in Germany's armed forces. By 1941, Göring was at the peak of his power and influence. As the Second World War progressed, Göring's standing with Hitler and with the German public declined after the Luftwaffe proved incapable of preventing the Allied bombing of Germany's cities and resupplying surrounded Axis forces in Stalingrad. Around that time, Göring increasingly withdrew from military and political affairs to devote his attention to collecting property and artwork, much of which was stolen from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Informed on 22 April 1945 that Hitler intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler requesting his permission to assume leadership of the Reich. Considering his request an act of treason, Hitler removed Göring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest. After the war, Göring was convicted of conspiracy, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials in 1946. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide hours before the sentence was to be carried out.
With an HPI of 83.80, Joseph Goebbels is the 8th most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 92 different languages.
Paul Joseph Goebbels (pronounced [ˈpaʊ̯l ˈjoːzɛf ˈɡœbl̩s] (listen); 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazi politician who was the Gauleiter (district leader) of Berlin, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler's closest and most devoted acolytes, known for his skills in public speaking and his deeply virulent antisemitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. He advocated progressively harsher discrimination, including the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust. Goebbels, who aspired to be an author, obtained a Doctor of Philology degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1921. He joined the Nazi Party in 1924, and worked with Gregor Strasser in its northern branch. He was appointed Gauleiter of Berlin in 1926, where he began to take an interest in the use of propaganda to promote the party and its programme. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Goebbels's Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted control over the news media, arts, and information in Nazi Germany. He was particularly adept at using the relatively new media of radio and film for propaganda purposes. Topics for party propaganda included antisemitism, attacks on the Christian churches, and (after the start of the Second World War) attempting to shape morale. In 1943, Goebbels began to pressure Hitler to introduce measures that would produce "total war", including closing businesses not essential to the war effort, conscripting women into the labour force, and enlisting men in previously exempt occupations into the Wehrmacht. Hitler finally appointed him as Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War on 23 July 1944, whereby Goebbels undertook largely unsuccessful measures to increase the number of people available for armaments manufacture and the Wehrmacht. As the war drew to a close and Nazi Germany faced defeat, Magda Goebbels and the Goebbels children joined him in Berlin. They moved into the underground Vorbunker, part of Hitler's underground bunker complex, on 22 April 1945. Hitler committed suicide on 30 April. In accordance with Hitler's will, Goebbels succeeded him as Chancellor of Germany; he served one day in this post. The following day, Goebbels and his wife committed suicide, after poisoning their six children with cyanide.
With an HPI of 83.49, Reinhard Heydrich is the 9th most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (; German: [ˈʁaɪnhaʁt ˈtʁɪstan ˈʔɔʏɡn̩ ˈhaɪdʁɪç] (listen); 7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking German SS and police official during the Nazi era and a principal architect of the Holocaust. He was chief of the Reich Security Main Office (including the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD). He was also Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy/Acting Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. He served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC, later known as Interpol) and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference which formalised plans for the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question"—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe. Many historians regard Heydrich as the darkest figure within the Nazi regime; Adolf Hitler described him as "the man with the iron heart". He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service, SD), an intelligence organisation charged with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests, deportations, and murders. He helped organise Kristallnacht, a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938. The attacks were carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians and presaged the Holocaust. Upon his arrival in Prague, Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the Nazi occupation by suppressing Czech culture and deporting and executing members of the Czech resistance. He was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen, the special task forces that travelled in the wake of the German armies and murdered more than two million people by mass shooting and gassing, including 1.3 million Jews. Heydrich was mortally wounded in Prague on 27 May 1942 as a result of Operation Anthropoid. He was ambushed by a team of Czech and Slovak soldiers who had been sent by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill the Reich-Protector; the team was trained by the British Special Operations Executive. Heydrich died from his injuries a week later. Nazi intelligence falsely linked the Czech and Slovak soldiers and resistance partisans to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. Both villages were razed; the men and boys age 14 and above were shot, and most of the women and children were deported and murdered in Nazi concentration camps.
With an HPI of 83.40, Klemens von Metternich is the 10th most famous German Politician. His biography has been translated into 71 different languages.
Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince of Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein (15 May 1773 – 11 June 1859), known as Klemens von Metternich or Prince Metternich, was a conservative Austrian statesman and diplomat who was at the center of the European balance of power known as the Concert of Europe for three decades as the Austrian Empire's foreign minister from 1809 and Chancellor from 1821 until the liberal Revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation. Born into the House of Metternich in 1773 as the son of a diplomat, Metternich received a good education at the universities of Strasbourg and Mainz. Metternich rose through key diplomatic posts, including ambassadorial roles in the Kingdom of Saxony, the Kingdom of Prussia, and especially Napoleonic France. One of his first assignments as Foreign Minister was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian archduchess Marie Louise. Soon after, he engineered Austria's entry into the War of the Sixth Coalition on the Allied side, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau that sent Napoleon into exile and led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna that divided post-Napoleonic Europe amongst the major powers. For his service to the Austrian Empire, he was given the title of Prince in October 1813. Under his guidance, the "Metternich system" of international congresses continued for another decade as Austria aligned itself with Russia and to a lesser extent Prussia. This marked the high point of Austria's diplomatic importance and thereafter Metternich slowly slipped into the periphery of international diplomacy. At home, Metternich held the post of Chancellor of State from 1821 until 1848 under both Francis I and his son Ferdinand I. After a brief exile in London, Brighton, and Brussels that lasted until 1851, he returned to the Viennese court, only this time to offer advice to Ferdinand's successor, Franz Josef. Having outlived his generation of politicians, Metternich died at the age of 86 in 1859. A traditional conservative, Metternich was keen to maintain the balance of power, particularly by resisting Russian territorial ambitions in Central Europe and the Ottoman Empire. He disliked liberalism and strove to prevent the breakup of the Austrian Empire, for example, by crushing nationalist revolts in Austrian northern Italy. At home, he pursued a similar policy, using censorship and a wide-ranging spy network to suppress unrest. Metternich has been both praised and heavily criticized for the policies he pursued. His supporters pointed out that he presided over the "Austrian system" when international diplomacy helped prevent major wars in Europe. His qualities as a diplomat were commended, some noting that his achievements were considerable in light of the weakness of his negotiating position. Meanwhile, his detractors argued that he could have done much to secure Austria's future, and he was deemed a stumbling block to reforms in Austria.
Pantheon has 1,084 people classified as politicians born between 15 and 1986. Of these 1,084, 160 (14.76%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Henry Kissinger, Angela Merkel, and Gerhard Schröder. The most famous deceased politicians include Otto von Bismarck, Heinrich Himmler, and Wilhelm II, German Emperor. As of October 2020, 111 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Franz Six, Franz Pfeffer von Salomon, and Princess Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.