In his birthplace, Gall was able to visit the school on a very irregular, 1944, he fled with his family over Bochum and Stuttgart to Munich. The father was killed in the war. In Lower Bavaria in the Bavarian Forest, he finished the fourth grade, and then moved for nine years at the Schloss Salem boarding school.
In 1956 he began to study at the Ludwig- Maximilians- University of Munich history, Romance languages and German. Originally wanted to Gall, as it was in his family tradition of attending law school, but attended a lecture Franz Schnabel, who awakened his love of historical science in the first semester. From the third semester, he regularly attended the seminar, he was able to graduate in 1960 with a thesis on the French liberal Benjamin Constant. Schnabel mediated Gall then a fellowship at the Institute for European History in Mainz. There he completed his dissertation. After a DFG scholarship 1962-1965 he went in May at the University of Cologne, where he habilitated in 1967 with Theodor Schieder in Medieval and Modern History, the work was entitled " liberalism as a governing party ."
Gall in 1968 professor at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen and took four years later a professor at the Free University of Berlin. 1972/73 he was on leave for a visiting professorship at Oxford. In 1975 he was appointed to the Frankfurt's Johann Wolfgang Goethe University. His retirement was made in 2005.
Gall since 1975 editor of the journal History and a member of numerous scientific societies history. Since 1989 he is a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences from 1997 to 2012, he stood in front of the Historical Commission of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. He is chairman of the Frankfurt Historical Commission. From 1992 to 1996 he held the chair of the Association of Historians of Germany.
The focus of his research, he counts the history of European liberalism, nation and nation-state in Europe, the social history of the bourgeoisie, the European history of the 19th and 20th century, the history of the entrepreneur Friedrich Krupp as well as the knowledge culture and social change.
In public, Gall has mainly acquired a reputation as a brilliant expert in the fields of research Bismarck and the German social and economic history. His 1980 published book " Bismarck. The white revolutionary " (ISBN 3-548-27517-6 ) is considered the first modern biography of Bismarck - blank and sold 180,000 times. The 1987 started, the bourgeois living conditions examined research program "City and bourgeoisie in the 19th century " resulted, inter alia, in the work " bourgeoisie in Germany " (1989). 1998 Gall curated the anniversary exhibition to the revolution of 1848/ 49: Departure for freedom. Another important publication was " Krupp. The rise of an industrial empire " (2000); Gall also one of the editors of the Handbook series " Oldenbourg floor plan of history" and "Encyclopedia of German history." Gall currently working on a biography of the publisher Axel Springer.
- Price of Wolf- Erich Kellner Memorial Foundation (1968 )
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the DFG ( 1988)
- Herbert Quandt Media Prize (1990 )
- Balzan Prize for History: Societies of the 19th and 20th century (1993 )
- Great Federal Cross of Merit with Star
- Hessian Merit with Star
- FFM 1200. Traditions and perspectives of a city. Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1994, ISBN 3-7995-1203-9.
- Historical Magazine, published in 2007 with band 284 Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich, ISSN 0018-2613.