- Blücher, Gebhard von
- (1742–1819)The most famous Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars , Gebhard von Blücher was a prominent member of the “war party,” which sought conflict with France in 1806. He served as a cavalry commander in the disastrous campaign of that year, and carried on resistance until forced to surrender at Ratkau in November. The previous month most of the Prussian Army had been decisively defeated at the twin battles of Jena and Auerstädt (October 14) and then relentlessly pursued by Napoleon’s forces.Virulently opposed to cooperation with the French after the occupation of his country, Blücher condemned Prussian participation in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. He played a prominent part in the “War of German Liberation” of 1813 and in France the next year, during which he commanded a Prussian army that he had helped modernize in the difficult years after 1806.Although never distinguished as a tactician, Blücher was determined and energetic, and by fulfilling his promise to come to Wellington’s aid at Waterloo, he was instrumental in ensuring Allied victory and Napoleon’s final downfall.FURTHER READING:Craig, Gordon A. The Politics of the Prussian Army: 1640-1945. London: Oxford University Press, 1964;Dupuy, Colonel T. N. A Genius for War: The German Army and General Staff, 1807-1945. Fairfax: Hero Books, 1984;Gneisenau, August Wilhelm. The Life and Campaigns of Field-Marshal Prince Blücher. London: Constable, 1996;Henderson, Ernest F. Blücher and the Uprising of Prussia against Napoleon. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1911;Hofschröer, Peter. 1815: The German Victory: From Waterloo to the Fall of Napoleon. London: Greenhill Books, 1999;Paret, Peter. Yorck and the Era of Prussian Reform: 1807-1815. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966;Parkinson, Roger. The Hussar General: The Life of Blücher, Man of Waterloo. London: Peter Davies Ltd., 1975;Rosinski, Herbert. The German Army. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966.GREGORY FREMONT-BARNES
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.