Bernhard Ernst Von Bülow (1815-1879), Danish and German statesman, was the son of Adolf von Bülow, a Danish official, and was born at Cismar in Holstein on the 2nd of August 1815. He studied law at the universities of Berlin, Göttingen and Kiel, and began his political career in the service of Denmark, in the chancery of Schleswig-Holstein-Lauenburg at Copenhagen, and afterwards in the foreign office. In 1842 he became councillor of legation, and in 1847 Danish chargé d'affaires in the Hanse towns, where his intercourse with the merchant princes led to his marriage in 1848 with a wealthy heiress, Louise Victorine Rücker. When the insurrection broke out in the Elbe duchies (1848) he left the Danish service, and offered his services to the provisional government of Kiel, an offer that was not accepted. In 1849, accordingly, he re-entered the service of Denmark, was appointed a royal chamberlain and in 1850 sent to represent the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein at the restored federal diet of Frankfort. Here he came into intimate touch with Bismarck, who admired his statesmanlike handling of the growing complications of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. With the radical "Eider-Dane" party he was utterly out of sympathy; and when, in 1862, this party gained the upper hand, he was recalled from Frankfort. He now entered the service of the grand-duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and remained at the head of the grand-ducal government until 1867, when he became plenipotentiary for the two Mecklenburg duchies in the council of the German Confederation (Bundesrat), where he distinguished himself by his successful defence of the medieval constitution of the duchies against Liberal attacks.
In 1873 Bismarck, who was in thorough sympathy with his views, persuaded him to enter the service of Prussia as secretary of state for foreign affairs, and from this time till his death he was the chancellor's most faithful henchman. In 1875 he was appointed Prussian plenipotentiary in the Bundesrat; in 1877 he became Bismarck's lieutenant in the secretaryship for foreign affairs of the Empire; and in 1878 he was, with Bismarck and Hohenlohe, Prussian plenipotentiary at the congress of Berlin. He died at Frankfort on the 20th of October 1879, his end being hastened by his exertions in connexion with the political crisis of that year. Of his six sons the eldest, Bernhard Heinrich Karl (see below), became chancellor of the Empire.