Georg Michaelis

Georg Michaelis (September, 8 1857 – July 21, 1936) was the first German Reichskanzler of non-noble background.

He was born in Haynau and raised in Frankfurt an der Oder. He studied jurisprudence in Breslau, Leipzig and Würzburg from 1876 to 1884, earning a PhD. From 1885 to 1889 he lived and worked in Tokyo as a law professor.

After that, he became a member of the Prussian administration. In 1909, he was appointed undersecretary of state to the Prussian Treasury in Berlin. From 1915 onwards he was leader of the Reichsgetreidestelle, an office in which he was responsible for the administration of Prussian corn and wheat in the First World War.

After Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg was forced to resign, on July 14, 1917 Michaelis became Reichskanzler of Germany as well as Minister President of Prussia. He remainsed in this position until October 31, 1917, when he was forced to resign because he was increasingly seen as a puppet of Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff of the General Staff.

From April 1, 1918 to March, 31 1919 he was Oberpräsident of the Prussian province of Pommerania. After the end of World War I he cooperated with the local workers’ and soldiers’ council. Nevertheless, he was soon replaced by the Socialist dominated government of Prussia.

After his dismissal, Michaelis worked in the fields of economic lobbying, in student organisations, in the Lutheran church synod of Prussia and becamea member of the German National People’s Party (DNVP). In 1921, he published his memoirs, Für Staat und Volk. Eine Lebensgeschichte.