Famous GermansA ranked list of significant Germans as voted by Germans in the ZDF "Unsere Besten" poll(2003)
By Olya Gavrulyuik
1. Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) West Germany’s first chancellor after the Second World War. He played a key role in the re-integration of Germany in European and international affairs.
2. Martin Luther (1483-1546) – Sought to reform the Roman Catholic Church which he felt had been corrupted and lost its original focus. Considered the father of Protestantism.
3. Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) – German philosopher, exiled to Britain for his radical views. Karl Marx wrote Das Capital and The Communist Manifesto, which was hugely influential in shaping left wing thought.
4. Sophie and Hans Scholl (1921/ 1918 -1943) – The Scholls opposed the Nazi ideology of Hitler’s Germany and distributed anti-Nazi propaganda to students in Munich. Both were executed for high treason.
5. Willy Brandt (1913-1992) German politician and statesman. Opposed to Hitler, he fled to Norway in 1933. After war, he became Mayor of Berlin. As Chancellor of Germany he made famous gesture of reconcilliation to victims of Nazi Germany in Warsaw.
6. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) German composer and musician. Considered one of greatest composers of all time. Bach composed some of the most loved choral and orchestral works.
7. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) Poet, playwright, author and statesman. Goethe was a prolific writer, notable works including: Faust, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship and Elective Affinities.
8. Johannes Gutenberg (1400-1468) Inventor of movable type printing in Europe . Gutenberg started a ‘printing revolution; which enabled the spread of printed works across Europe. Also produced the ‘Gutenberg Bible’.
9. Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) Politician responsible for creation of German Empire in 1871, and its first chancellor. Bismark is credited with uniting the states of Germany and pursuing a relative moderate foreign policy of keeping the peace.
10. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German born theoretical physicist who came up with the general theory of relativity, which played a key role in the nuclear age. Einstein also a noted humanitarian who promoted peace.
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