Bernard von Bülow, Reichskanzler (Chancellor of Germany)

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Bernhard Heinrich Martin Karl von Bülow, Fürst

Birthplace: Klein Flottbek, Altona, Hamburg, Germany
Death: Died in Rome, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Place of Burial: Nienstedt, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Bernhard Ernst von Bülow and Louise Victorine Rücker
Husband of Maria Anna Zoe Rosalia Beccadelli di Bologna e Acton, Marchesa di Altavilla, Principessa di Camporeale, Fürstin von B
Brother of Field Marshal Karl von Bülow; Adolf von Bülow; Alfred* Victor von Bülow; Waldemar von Bülow; Christian* Louis Anton Ernst von Bülow and 3 others

Managed by: George J. Homs
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About Bernard von Bülow, Reichskanzler (Chancellor of Germany)

Prince Bernhard von Bülow, Chancellor of Germany

  • Bernhard Heinrich Karl Martin von Bülow (May 3, 1849 – October 28, 1929), named in 1905 Prince (Fürst) von Bülow, was a German statesman who served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for three years and then as Chancellor of the German Empire from 1900 to 1909.


  • Bülow was described as possessing every quality except greatness. He had a round face with smiling blue eyes and a carefully trimmed moustache. He spoke several languages, was a charming conversationalist and was comfortably at home in high society with a capacity to entertain and impress even his opponents. Although highly ambitious, he was also vain and once he obtained power and position in the German government had no overaching ambition what to do with it, allowing others to guide policy. His character made him a good choice to work well with Emperor Wilhelm II, who required agreement and flattery from his senior ministers even if sometimes they then ignored his instructions. Bülow was a fine judge of mood and an expert flatterer, but could equally be cutting and contemptuous of both friends and enemies to others. He wrote four volumes of autobiography to be published after his death, which markedly altered public perception of his character as they included his candid and malicious descriptions of others. He was a fine debater in the Reichstag, although generally lazy in carrying out his duties. He was described by Friedrich von Holstein, who for 30 years was first councilor in the foreign department and a major influence on policy throughout that time, as having "read more Macchiavelli than he could digest". His mother-in-law claimed, "Bernhard makes a secret out of everything."[1]

Family and early life

  • He was born at Klein-Flottbeck, Holstein, now part of Altona, a part of Hamburg. His father, Bernhard Ernst von Bülow, was a Danish and German statesman. His brother, Major-General Karl Ulrich von Bülow, was a cavalry commander during World War I who took part in the attack on Liège in August 1914.
  • Bülow later attributed his grasp of English and French to having learnt it from French and English governesses as a young child. His father spoke French, while his mother spoke English as was not uncommon amongst Hamburg society.[2] In 1856 his father was sent to the Federal Diet in Frankfurt to represent Holstein and Lauenburg, when Otto von Bismarck was also there to represent Prussia. He became a great friend of Bismarck's son Herbert when they played together. In Rumpenheim castle he also played with Princess Alexandra, later Queen of England. At age thirteen the family moved to Neustrelitz when his father became Chief Minister to the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg. There he attended the Frankfort gymnasium, before attending universities in Lausanne, Leipzig and Berlin.[3]
  • He volunteered for military service during the Franco-Prussian War and became a lance-corporal in the King's Hussar Regiment. In December 1870 the squadron was in action near Amiens, and he later described charging and killing French riflemen with his sabre. He was promoted to lieutenant and invited to remain in the army after the war, but declined.[4] He completed his law degree at the University of Greifswald in 1872. Afterwards, he entered first the Prussian Civil Service and then the diplomatic service.
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Bernard von Bülow, Reichskanzler (Chancellor of Germany)'s Timeline

May 3, 1849
Altona, Hamburg, Germany
October 28, 1929
Age 80
Rome, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Nienstedt, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany