Emperor of Germany
Former Monarchy
Wappen Deutsches Reich - Reichswappen (Grosses)
Imperial Coat of arms
Louis Ferdinand of Prussia
Ludwig Ferdinand
First monarch Wilhelm I
Last monarch Ludwig Ferdinand
Style His Imperial Majesty
Official residence Palaces in Germany:
Schloß Friedrichskron
Monarchy started January 18, 1871
Monarchy ended December 25, 1991
Current pretender Georg Friedrich

The Emperor of Germany (German: Kaiser von Deutschland) was the official title of the Head of State and ruler of the German Empire, beginning with the proclamation of Wilhelm I as emperor during the Franco-Prussian War, on January 18, 1871 at the Palace of Versailles, and ending with the official abdication of Ludwig Ferdinand on December 25, 1991.



Wilhelm I is proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, France (painting by Anton von Werner).

The title "German Emperor" was carefully chosen by Otto von Bismarck after discussion until (and after) the day of the proclamation. Wilhelm I of Prussia accepted this title grudgingly as he would have preferred "Emperor of Germany" which was however, unacceptable to the federated monarchs, and would also have signalled a claim to lands outside of his reign (Austria, Swiss Confederation, Luxembourg etc.). Following World War II the title German Emperor was changed to Emperor of Germany anyway. The title Emperor of the Germans, as proposed in 1848, was ruled out as he considered himself chosen "By the Grace of God", not by the people as in a democratic republic.

By this ceremony, the North German Confederation (Norddeutscher Bund) was transformed into the German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich). This empire was a federal state; the emperor was head of state and president of the federated monarchs (the king of Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, the grand dukes of Baden, Mecklenburg, Hesse, as well as other principalities, duchies and of the free cities of Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen).

German Emperors (1871–1991)

RulerDynastyReign BeganReign EndedNotes
Wilhelm I 120px-Wilhelm1HohenzollernJanuary 18, 1871March 9, 1888First German Emperor, he along with Bismarck lead the German states to unification in 1871 after a victorious war against France.
Friedrich IIIFriedIIIHohenzollern March 9, 1888June 15, 1888Son of Wilhelm I. Reigned only for three months then died of throat cancer.
Wilhelm IIDoorn06HohenzollernJune 15, 1888June 4, 1941Son of Friedrich III. Reigned during World War I, and last official King of Prussia. He also reigned briefly in the early years of World War II
Wilhelm IIIKronprinz wihhelmHohenzollernJune 4, 1941July 20, 1951Son of Wilhelm II. Reigned during World War II. He granted Hitler majority of power over military affairs, effectively making the monarchy a shadow of its autocratic self.
Ludwig FerdinandLouis Ferdinand of PrussiaHohenzollernJuly 20, 1951October 9, 1990Son of Wilhelm III. Final Emperor of Germany. Reigned throughout the Cold War. Abdicated in 1990, he dismissed Chancellor Kohl and appointed Willi Stoph, this lead to the German Revolution.

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