Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin Carl, Count von

Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin Carl, Count von
   A German politician and diplomat, Count von Bülow was German Chancellor and Prussian Ministerpresident from 1900 to 1909. Born into one of the oldest German aristocratic families on May 3, 1849, he studied law and then had a rapid diplomatic career, including placements in Paris, St Petersburg, Bucharest and Rome. Bülow was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1897 and the Kaiser Wilhelm II ’s preferred candidate to replace Hohenlohe as Chancellor in 1900. Under his Chancellorship, he initially tried to further tensions among the other great powers and intended to turn Germany into a world power, although he eventually changed his strategy when his policy arguably resulted in anti-German alliances. He demanded Germany’s “place in the sun” and nurtured much of Germany’s bellicose foreign policy, such as in during the First Moroccan Crisis. Bülow personifies, like no other politician, Wilhelmine expansive foreign policy aspirations, yet eventually fell out of favor with the monarch after the Daily Telegraph Affair of 1908 and was forced to resign in July 1909, although he continued to harbor hope of reinstatement. During the World War I, Bülow was critical of his successor’s policy, blaming Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg for the escalation of the July Crisis. At the end of 1914 he was called upon to use his influence in Rome as Germany’s ambassador, but he had no success in convincing Italy to join its Triple Alliance partners in the hostilities. Bülow hoped he might be recalled to the office of Chancellor following Bethmann-Hollweg’s and then Michaelis’ dismissals in 1917. After the war, he wrote his memoirs in which he blamed Bethmann-Hollweg for the escalation of the July Crisis. Bülow died following an earlier stroke in October 1929.
   See also: <>; <>.
    Bülow, Prince von. Memoirs. 2 vols. London, 1931–32;
    Lerman, Katharine A. The Chancellor as Courtier: Bernhard von Bülow and the Governance of Germany 1900-1909. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990;
    Winzen, Peter. Bernhard Fürst von Bülow. Göttingen: Muster-Schmidt Verlag, 2003.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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