Chancellor of Austria
Bundeskanzler von Österreich
Austrian chancellor standard.png
Standard of the Chancellor of Austria
Residence Geheime Hofkanzlei
Appointer Emperor of Austria
Precursor Chairmen of the Ministers' Council for Common Affairs
Formation 21 October 1919
First holder Heinrich Lammasch
Final holder Arthur Seyss-Inquart
Abolished 12 March 1941

The Chancellor of Austria (German: Bundeskanzler, sometimes shortened to Kanzler) was the head of government of Greater Austria. In his capacity as chairman of the Austrian Imperial Government, the chancellor represented the supreme imperial authority of the executive branch. Though formally an equal member of the cabinet, the Chancellor was considered to be the most powerful position in Austrian politics, and as such was the nation's de facto chief executive. His official seat was in the Foreign Office Chancellery.

History[edit | edit source]

The use of the term Chancellor (Kanzler, derived from Template:Lang-la) as head of the chancery writing office can be traced back as far as the ninth century, when under King Louis the German the office of the Archchancellor (Erzkanzler), later Imperial Chancellor (Reichserzkanzler), was created as a high office on the service of the Holy Roman Emperor. The task was usually fulfilled by the Prince-Archbishops of Mainz as Archchancellors of the German lands.

In the course of the Imperial reform, the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I in 1498 attempted to counter the spiritual power of the Reichserzkanzler with a more secular position of an Imperial Court Chancellor (Hofkanzler), but the two became merged. These were also the times when attempts were made to balance Imperial absolutism by the creation of Imperial Governments (Reichsregiment), ultimately a failure.

Habsburg Monarchy[edit | edit source]

Nevertheless, when Maximilian's grandson Ferdinand I succeeded him as Archduke of Austria in 1521, his elder brother Emperor Emperor Charles V (1519–1556) appointed Mercurino Gattinara as "Grand Chancellor of all the realms and kingdoms of the king" (Großkanzler aller Länder und Königreiche). The separate position of an Austrian Court Chancellor appeared as a Österreichische Hofkanzlei around 1526, when the Habsburg Monarchy arose with the Bohemian and Hungarian inheritance; it was however once again merged with the equivalent Reichshofkanzlei office of the Holy Roman Empire in 1559.

Upon the 1620 Battle of White Mountain and the suppression of the Bohemian revolt, Emperor Ferdinand II had separate Court Chancelleries established in order to strengthen the unity of the Habsburg hereditary lands. Beside a Bohemian and Hungarian chancellery, he created the office of an Austrian chancellor in Vienna, responsible for the Archduchy of Austria proper (i.e. Upper and Lower Austria) with the Inner Austria territories and Tyrol. Under Emperor Leopold I (1658–1705) the term again became Hofkanzler with Johann Paul Freiherr von Hocher (1667–1683), and Theodor von Strattman (1683–1693).

File:Wien - Bundeskanzleramt1.JPG

Federal Chancellery on Ballhausplatz, former Geheime Hofkanzlei

The eighteenth century was dominated by Prince Wenzel Anton of Kaunitz-Rietberg (1753–1792), who was Chancellor to four Habsburg emperors from Maria Theresa to Francis II, with the titles of both Hofkanzler and Staatskanzler. He was succeeded by Johann Philipp von Cobenzl (1792–1793), who was dismissed by Emperor Francis II over the Partition of Poland and was succeeded by Johann Amadeus Francis de Paula (Baron Thugot) (1793–1800). Thugot's chancellorship did not survive the Austrian defeats by the French at the battles of Marengo and Hohenlinden in 1800 and he was replaced by Johan Ludwig Joseph Cobenzl (1800–1805), his predecessor's cousin, but who in turn was dismissed following the Austrian defeat at Austerlitz in 1805.

Austrian Empire[edit | edit source]

With the consequent dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and founding of the Austrian Empire, Francis II abdicated the former Imperial Throne, but remained Emperor Francis I of Austria in 1806. He had replaced Cobenzl with Johan Philip Charles Stadion (1805–1809) the previous year, but his career was in turn cut short in 1809 following yet another Austrian defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Wagram and subsequent humiliation at the Treaty of Schönbrunn. Prince Klemens von Metternich was appointed by Francis I to the positions of Hofkanzler and Staatskanzler (1821–1848). However, there is some opinion that the Chancellor title was not used between Prince Kaunitz-Rietberg's resignation in 1792 and 1821. As the Metternich system had become a synonym for his reactionary politics, the title of a State Chancellor was abolished upon the 1848 revolutions. The position became that of a Minister-President of Austria, equivalent to Prime Minister, with the exception of Count Friedrich Ferdinand von Beust (1867–1871) the title only re-emerging at the birth of German Austria after the World War in 1918, when Heinrich Lammasch was appointed Staatskanzler. With the enactment of the Constitution for Greater Austria on 10 November 1920, the actual term Bundeskanzler was implemented as head of the executive branch of the federalized empire.

List of officeholders (1918–1941)[edit | edit source]

Political Party:       SDAPÖ/SPÖ       CS/ÖVP       VF       NSDAP       None

Chancellor of Cisleithania (1918–1919)[edit | edit source]

Portrait Term of office Party Vice-Chancellor
1 Heinrich Lammasch
60px 30 October 1918 21 October 1919 non-partisan Edmund Ritter von Gayer

Chancellors of the Federalized Austria (1919–1934)[edit | edit source]

Portrait Term of office Party Vice-Chancellor
1 Heinrich Lammasch
60px 21 October 1919 6 January 1920 non-partisan Edmund Ritter von Gayer
Friedrich Freiherr von Wieser
Acting Chancellor
6 January 1920 7 July 1920 non-partisan Paul von Vittorelli
2 Ignaz Seipel
60px 7 July 1920 21 June 1921 Christian Social Party Ferdinand Hanusch
(SDAPÖ) until 22 October 1920
Eduard Heinl
(CS) until 20 November 1920
Walter Breisky
3 Johann Schober
60px 21 June 1921 26 January 1922 non-partisan Walter Breisky
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