11 Historical Leaders Who Had The Shortest Time In Office
When presidents or prime ministers are elected, there's an expectation the individuals will spend a certain number of days, weeks, and months in service to the government and the people. It extends even further when monarchs accede to the throne, often thought to their role for years or decades.
While leadership positions can come with terms of office attached to them or be (theoretically) for life, that's not always how events have played out. Coups, untimely deaths, scandal - these can all result in a quick and sudden end to one's term. From the violent ousting of a president or a smooth transition between prime ministers, a short time in office may result in an individual being completely overlooked.
Don't blink or you may miss them - vote up the shortest times in office from history.
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Married to the eldest daughter of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, Marie Therese, Louis Antoine briefly ruled France in 1830. Louis Antoine spent his early life outside of France, returning to fight for the royalists against Napoleon during the 1810s. As the oldest son of Charles X of France, Louis Antoine, the Duke of Angouleme, became Louis XIX when his father abdicated, reportedly stepping down 20 minutes after his father had done the same.
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Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich was made the head of the Russian government by his brother, Tsar Nicholas II. When Nicholas II abdicated on March 15, 1917, he removed his son from succession and appointed Michael as his successor.
Initially, Michael neither accepted nor declined the position. After meeting with representatives from the new Provisional Government the day after Nicholas II abdicated, Michael issued a statement. He urged, "all citizens of the Russian Empire to submit" to the government, more or less agreeing to serve as a figurehead until an elected body, "shall manifest the will of the people by deciding upon the new form of government."
There were roughly 16 to 20 hours between Nicholas II's abdication and the signing of Michael's manifesto.
- Photo: Brian Harrington Spier / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.03128 VOTES
Amid the tumult of political change in Sierra Leone during the 1960s and 1970s, Siaka Stevens became Prime Minister on March 21, 1967 - for a few minutes. A military coup led by one of his rivals overthrew him the same day.
Stevens returned to Sierra Leone to serve as Prime Minister in 1968 and became the new republic's first elected president in 1971. Stevens held the presidency until 1985.
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As Part Of A Failed Coup In Venezuela, Pedro Carmona Was Installed And Removed From Office In A Matter Of Hours
When an attempt to remove Hugo Chavez from power took place in 2002, the conspirators decided businessman Pedro Carmona would replace the Venezuelan dictator as the head of state. Carmona was in office for less than one day, during which time he did abolish the 1999 constitution and dissolve several government institutions.
Chavez retook power in Venezuela within days of the coup. Carmona later said he wasn't a part of any plan to oust Chavez, but rather was"was called to fill a power vacuum that had occurred and to form a transitional government." because, as he was told, Chavez had resigned.
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Pedro Lascuráin Governed Mexico For Less Than An Hour
Considered the shortest presidency in history, Pedro Lascurain's time in office in Mexico was part a government overthrow that took place during the 1910s. Lascurain, who had previously served mayor of Mexico City in 1910, was the Minister of Foreign Affairs under newly elected President Francisco Madero in 1912 and 1913. After Madero was removed by a military coup in February 1913, Lascurain became president.
This was simply to legitimize of the coup, led by General Victoriano Huerta, and serve as a transition to Huerta taking the office for himself. Historians estimate Lascurain was president for roughly 45 minutes.
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When Adolf Hitler committed suicide in April 30, 1945, Joseph Goebbels took over as German Chancellor. As the former minister of propaganda and only surviving high-level officer within the Nazi Party, Goebbels' chancellorship was short, however. The day after he replaced Hitler, Goebbels and his wife, Magda, poisoned their six children, reportedly giving them morphine and cyanide, and then killed themselves.