Several famous Germans have made notable contributions to German and world culture or played an important role in history. They improved lives across the world, shaped Europe, and also changed the future with their inventions.
Johannes Gutenberg (1398–1468)
Originally a goldsmith and inventor, he is also the father of book printing by inventing movable type printing in Europe. His major work, the Gutenberg Bible, is acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality.
Martin Luther (1483–1546)
A monk, priest, professor, theologian, and church reformer, Martin Luther’s questioning of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church inspired the Protestant Reformation. This deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions, as well as the course of Western civilization.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
A composer and organist whose works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments brought the Baroque period to its ultimate maturity. Without necessarily giving it new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style and also made a deep impact on the development of church music.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749–1832)
A poet and novelist, his most enduring work – the two-part dramatic poem Faust – is one of the peaks of world literature. Goethe’s other literary works include Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, as well as the semi-autobiographical novel Elective Affinities.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
An influential composer of the Classical era, Although his output of over 600 compositions includes works widely acknowledged as pinnacles of classical music. Mozart is among the most endearingly popular European composers. Many of his works are also part of the standard concert repertoire. He is one of the greatest composers ever.
Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898)
A European statesman of the 19th century and as Prime Minister of Prussia from 1862 to 1890, he engineered the unification of Germany. From 1867, he was Chancellor of the North German Confederation. When the German Empire was declared in 1871, he served as its first Chancellor. Bismarck was subject to personal cult in Germany for a long time after his death.