Dietrich Heinrich von Bülow

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Dietrich Heinrich Freiherr von Bülow (1757–1807) was a Prussian soldier and military writer, and brother of General Count Friedrich Wilhelm Bülow.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.


Early career

Von Bülow entered the Prussian army in 1773. Routine work proved distasteful to him, and he read with avidity the works of Jean Charles, Chevalier Folard and other theoretical writers on war, and of Rousseau. After sixteen years service he left Prussia, and endeavoured without success to obtain a commission in the Austrian army. He then returned to Prussia, and for some time managed a theatrical company. The failure of this undertaking involved Bülow in heavy losses, and soon afterwards he went to America, where he seems to have been converted to, and to have preached, Swedenborgianism. [1]

Bülow family

Bülow is the name of a German and Danish noble family of Mecklenburg origin, members of which have borne the title of Baron (Freiherr), Count (Graf) or Prince (Fürst).

Jean Charles, Chevalier Folard French military writer

Jean Charles, Chevalier Folard, French soldier and military author, was born at Avignon.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

On his return to Europe he persuaded his brother to engage in a speculation for exporting glass to the United States, which proved a complete failure. After this for some years he made a precarious living in Berlin by literary work, but his debts accumulated, and it was under great disadvantages that he produced his Geist des Neueren Kriegssystems (Hamburg, 1799) and Der Feldzug 1801 (Berlin, 1801). His hopes of military employment were again disappointed, and his brother, the future field marshal, who had stood by him in all his troubles, finally left him. [1]

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Writing career

In 1797, Bülow published his two-volume Der Freistaat von Nordamerika in seinem neuesten Zustand. It offered an decidedly negative account of the United States. John Quincy Adams, then U.S. minister at Berlin, translated the work, describing it as a "libel upon America." Adams' transcription was subsequently published in Joseph Dennie's Philadelphia-based Port Folio in the early 1800s. [2]

After wandering in France and the smaller German states, Bulow reappeared at Berlin in 1804, where he wrote a revised edition of his Geist des Neueren Kriegssystems (Hamburg, 1805), Lehrstze des Neueren Kriegs (Berlin, 1805), Geschichte des Prinzen Heinrich von Preussen (Berlin, 1805), Neue Taktik der Neuern wie sie sein sollte (Leipzig, 1805), and Der Feldzug 1805 (Leipzig, 1806). He also edited, with G. H. von Behrenhorst (1733–1814) and others, Annalen des Krieges (Berlin, 1806). These brilliant but unorthodox works, distinguished by an open contempt of the Prussian system, cosmopolitanism hardly to be distinguished from high treason, and the mordant sarcasm of a disappointed man, brought upon Bülow the enmity of the official classes and of the government. He was arrested as insane, but medical examination proved him sane and he was then lodged as a prisoner in Kolberg, where he was harshly treated, though August von Gneisenau obtained some mitigation of his condition. Thence he passed into Russian hands and died in prison at Riga in 1807, probably as a result of ill-treatment. [1]

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is the largest metropolitan area in Europe proper and one of the largest cities in the world; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Riga City in Latvia

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 637,827 inhabitants (2018), it is also the largest city in the three Baltic states, home to one third of Latvia's population and one tenth of the three Baltic states' combined population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava river. Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies 1–10 m above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.


According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition:

In Bülow's writings there is a distinct contrast evident between the spirit of his strategical and that of his tactical ideas. As a strategist (he claimed to be the first of strategists) he reduces to mathematical rules the practice of the great generals of the 18th century, ignoring friction, and maneuvering his armies in vacuo. At the same time he professes that his system provides working rules for the armies of his own day, which in point of fact were armed nations, infinitely more affected by friction than the small dynastic and professional armies of the preceding age. Bülow may therefore be considered as anything but a reformer in the domain of strategy. With more justice he has been styled the father of modern tactics. He was the first to recognize that the conditions of swift and decisive war brought about by the French Revolution involved wholly new tactics, and much of his teaching had a profound influence on European warfare of the 19th century. [1]

His early training had shown him merely the pedantic minutiae of Frederick's methods, and, in the absence of any troops capable of illustrating the real linear tactics, he became an enthusiastic supporter of the methods, which (more of necessity than from judgment) the French revolutionary generals had adopted, of fighting in small columns covered by skirmishers. Battles, he maintained, were won by skirmishers. We must organize disorder, he said; indeed, every argument of writers of the modern extended order school is to be found mutatis mutandis in Bülow, whose system acquired great prominence in view of the mechanical improvements in armament. But his tactics, like his strategy, were vitiated by the absence of friction, and their dependence on the realization of an unattainable standard of bravery. [1]


Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron ). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin .


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Chisholm 1911.
  2. Kirsten Belgum, “Accidental Encounter: Why John Quincy Adams Translated German Culture for Americans,” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 13, no. 1 (Winter 2015):209–36; John Quincy Adams' Diary, May 3, 1799, in Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Mass., available at

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