Blücher, Gebhard Leberecht von

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Blücher, Gebhard Leberecht von

(gĕp`härt lā`bərĕkht fən blü`khər), 1742–1819, Prussian field marshal, an outstanding military opponent of Napoleon I. An officer in the army of King Frederick II from 1760, he incurred royal displeasure when, believing himself passed over for promotion, he abruptly resigned in the early 1770s. He returned to service only in 1787 after Frederick's death. He fought well in the disastrous campaign of 1806 against the French and surrendered with honor near Lübeck. In the dark days that followed he helped Karl vom und zum SteinStein, Karl, Freiherr vom und zum
, 1757–1831, Prussian statesman and reformer. Rising through the Prussian bureaucracy, he became minister of commerce (1804–7) but was dismissed by King Frederick William III for his attempts to increase the power of the heads of the
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, K. A. von HardenbergHardenberg, Karl August, Fürst von
, 1750–1822, Prussian administrator and diplomat, b. Hanover. After service for Hanover and Brunswick, he entered the Prussian service.
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, and General ScharnhorstScharnhorst, Gerhard Johann David von
, 1755–1813, Prussian general. A Hanoverian army officer, military writer, and director of the war college, he entered Prussian service in 1801.
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 recreate the Prussian opposition to Napoleon. He was a leader in the War of Liberation (1813–14). Although ill and subject to delusions, he won brilliant victories at Wahlstatt and Möckern and played a part in the defeat of the French at Leipzig. Crossing the Rhine, he led his army to Paris. In the Waterloo campaign of 1815, he was defeated at Ligny but arrived at the battle of Waterloo in time to make it a victory. In 1814 he was made prince of Wahlstatt.


See study by E. F. Henderson (1911).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Blücher, Gebhard Leberecht Von


Born Dec. 16, 1742, in Rostock; died Sept. 12, 1819, in Krieblowitz, Silesia. Prussian general field marshal. Prince of Wahlstatt.

Blücher joined the Swedish army in 1758 but fell captive to the Prussians during the Seven Years’ War, 1756–63, and transferred to their service in 1760. He was taken prisoner in 1807 by the French during the Russo-Prussian-French war of 1806–07. He later commanded Prussian troops in Pomerania. Blücher was an advocate of army reform. He was removed from his post in 1812 because of his openly expressed hatred of Napoleon. In 1813 he commanded the Russo-Prussian army in Silesia; in 1815 he was commander in chief of the Prussian-Saxon army which acted successfully at Waterloo. He was nicknamed “Marshal Advance” for his energy and resoluteness. Marx and Engels had a high opinion of his courage, indefatigability, and talents in the area of tactics (see “Bliicher,” in Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 14, pp. 178–95).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.