Wassili Konstantinowitsch Blücher

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Wassili Blücher (1922)

Vasily Blyukher (* November 19 jul. / 1. December  1889 greg. In perch sealed Inca, Rajon Rybinsk, government Yaroslavl ; † 9. November 1938 ; Russian Василий Константинович Блюхер, scientific transliteration. Vasilij Konstantinović Bljucher ; born Vasily Konstantinovich Gurov ) was General of the Red Army and Marshal of the Soviet Union .


Vasily Konstantinowitsch was born as the son of the Gurow peasant family in Perschtschinka, Yaroslavl Governorate . His great-grandfather was a serf , had taken part in the Crimean War and won many awards in the process. After his return he was nicknamed Blücher by the landowner . This moniker was passed down over the years until Vasily Konstantinovich adopted it as a real family name. From 1904 onwards, Blücher was a student at the local parish school until his father took him to St. Petersburg because of financial difficulties so that he could earn a living there. Blücher worked as an assistant in a shop and later as an unskilled worker in the French-Russian engineering plant. He was fired there for participating in a workers' demonstration. He traveled to Moscow in search of work . There he became a locksmith in the Mytishchi wagon factory in 1909 . In 1910 he was arrested for calling a strike and sentenced to prison.

First World War and October Revolution

At the beginning of the First World War , Blücher was released from prison and drafted into the Russian army as a soldier . Blücher served in the 8th Russian Army under Brusilov . Because of his bravery, Blücher was awarded the cross of St. George twice and was promoted to sergeant . A little later, however, he was seriously wounded near Ternopil . Because of his injury, he was released from military service. He traveled to Nizhny Novgorod and worked there at the Sormov shipyard. Later he moved to Kazan and worked in the local mechanics factory. In Kazan he joined the Bolsheviks in 1916 . In May 1917 Blücher made the acquaintance of Kuibyshev . From Kuibyshev he was sent to the 102nd Replacement Regiment of the Russian Army to agitate for the Bolsheviks. A little later, Blücher was elected to the regimental committee and a deputy of the soldiers in the Kazan City Soviet. During the October Revolution , Blücher was a member of the local war and revolution committee of Samara .

Career in the Red Army

In the course of November 1917, Blücher was appointed Commissioner of the Red Guards in Chelyabinsk and elected chairman of the Chelyabinsk Revolutionary Committee. At the beginning of 1918, when the Russian civil war broke out, he succeeded in conquering Orenburg , which had been occupied by anti-Bolshevik Cossack units under Dutow in November 1917. The occupation of the Siberian city was the first in a series of military successes during the civil war that would make him one of the most prominent commanders of the Red Army, newly formed by Trotsky in March 1918 . With the founding of the Red Army, the previous Red Guards were automatically integrated into the new land army of the Bolsheviks.

Operations in Siberia

The position of the Bolsheviks in Siberia was nowhere near as stable as it was in the European part of Russia. As a result, the Siberian Red Army troops found themselves in a critical position when the Social Revolutionary uprising broke out in May 1918 . This was supported by soldiers from the former Czechoslovak Legions of the Russian Army, who brought the Trans-Siberian railway line under their control. After the retaking of Yekaterinburg on June 25, 1918, the counterrevolutionary troops surrounded Orenburg . Blücher placed himself at the head of the red troops in the city and led them back in forced marches across the Urals to territories that were still under the control of the Bolsheviks. For this military achievement, Blücher was awarded the Order of the Red Banner in November 1918 as the first bearer . The division headed by Blücher was incorporated into the 4th Ural Division on September 20, 1918 as the 30th rifle regiment, and Blücher was officially appointed commander of the regiment .

In January 1919 Blücher was appointed assistant to the commander of the 3rd Soviet Army . In April he took on the task of fortifying the Vyatka Rajon against attacks by the White Guards as the field commander . In the summer of 1919 the units for the defense of the Bjatsker Rajons and the northern expedition division were combined to form the 51st Rifle Division under the command of Blücher. With this unit, Blücher advanced from Tyumen to Lake Baikal along the Trans-Siberian railway line to the east.

Fight on the southern front

Depiction of the Red Army's offensive that led to the conquest of Crimea and the end of the Russian Civil War in the European part of Russia. With the successful defense of the Kachowsk Rajon (top left) against Wrangel's spring offensive, Blücher played a key role in the success of the Red Army.

In March 1920 the 51st Rifle Division was moved to the southern front. Blücher was given the task of fortifying the Kachowka Rajon against an expected offensive by the White Army under General Wrangel . Despite Wrangel's breakthrough to the east, this offensive could be repulsed, not least because the troops under Blücher's command withstood the onslaught and a Red Army bridgehead was held at Perekop . Subsequently, the Red Army from the deployment area near Kachowka was able to inflict a heavy defeat on Wrangel's troops in August 1920. In November 1920, the Red Army finally succeeded in conquering Crimea and ending the Russian Civil War on European soil.

Far Eastern Republic

In 1921 Blücher was again transferred to the Russian Far East , where he conquered the last areas still controlled by white troops and was involved in the arrest of Roman von Ungern-Sternberg . On July 21, Blücher was appointed Minister of Defense of the Far Eastern Republic . In this position he pursued the goal of the complete liberation of the Far East from Japanese occupation. Negotiations with the Japanese Empire and the United States , in which it was decided to withdraw all intervention troops, brought the desired success in 1922. On October 25, 1922, Blucher’s troops entered Vladivostok . On November 15, 1922, the Far Eastern Republic was integrated into the newly created Soviet Union. Only the north of Sakhalin Island remained in Japanese hands until 1925.

Intermediate station Petrograd

After the dissolution of the Far Eastern Republic, Blücher was appointed commander-commissioner of the first infantry corps of the Red Army. The rank corresponded to that of a general , who at that time did not exist in the hierarchy of the Red Army.

From 1922 to 1924 Blücher was in command of the Petrograd Defense District .

Military adviser to the Kuomintang

From 1924 to 1927, at the request of the Kuomintang government , he was sent to China as a military advisor , where he worked on a secret Red Army mission under the name of Galen at the Whampoa Military Academy in Canton. The young Soviet power saw itself ideologically connected to the revolutionary Kuomintang movement Sun Yat-sens and pursued a corresponding alliance policy until the end of the 1920s. The dispatch of the victorious general was therefore seen as a special gesture by the Soviet leadership towards the Kuomintang.

Blücher was de facto responsible for leading the Kuomintang's First Eastern Expedition , which took place in January 1925. He found that many of the Chinese generals he was supposed to work with lacked a sense of responsibility. In addition, his plans were only implemented against strong opposition from the Chinese officers. Despite these difficulties, the venture was a success. The second expedition to the east and the expedition to the north were also successfully carried out with the help of Blucher and his advisors. The latter campaign secured the Kuomintang a central position of power in China. After the Chinese communists were ousted by Chiang Kai-Shek, the Soviet advisors withdrew from China in July 1927.

Commander of the Special Far East Army

Wassili Konstantinowitsch Blücher, Semjon Israilewitsch Sapadnij (NKVD) and Terenti Dmitrijewitsch Deribas (NKVD) around 1932

After returning from China, Blücher first took over the supreme command of the Red Army in Ukraine until August 1929 and then took over the leadership of the special Far East Army , which was to be rebuilt and whose headquarters were located in Khabarovsk . With this army he successfully fought the troops of the Chinese National Revolutionary Army under the leadership of Zhang Xueliang during the Sino-Soviet border war of 1929 , which lasted until December 22nd . For this military success he was awarded the Order of the Red Star .

In 1933 Blücher threatened to resign from the post of commander of the Far Eastern military district if the forced agricultural collectivization initiated by Stalin were to be implemented in the Far Eastern regions of the Soviet Union. In this case, he could no longer guarantee the security of the military district. Because of this intervention, agricultural collectivization was not carried out in the Soviet Far East.

The first five Marshals of the Soviet Union: Mikhail N. Tukhachevsky , Semyon M. Budjonny , Kliment J. Voroshilov , Vasily K. Blücher and Alexander I. Jegorow

In 1935, Blücher was one of the first five high officers in the Red Army to be appointed Marshals of the Soviet Union . The high priority that the Special Far East Army had due to its task initially protected Blücher from the Stalinist purges that began in 1936 . The reorganization of the Special Far East Army in February 1937 into an army group called the "Far Eastern Red Banner Front" initially strengthened his position.

In June 1937 he was a member of the military tribunal of the Secret Moscow Military Trial , which Marshal Tukhachevsky and seven other generals of the Red Army sentenced to death . While Blücher was present at the tribunal in Moscow, the NKVD began cleaning up the "Far Eastern Red Banner Front" in the Far East . Solzhenitsyn wrote:

“Marshal Wassilij Blücher is a symbol [of the time of the Great Terror]: He was enthroned in the presidium and judged Tukhachevsky […]. As soon as Tukhachevsky was shot, Blucher's head rolled too. "

Arrest and death

Railway car used by Blücher as a command center, Khabarovsk Military Museum

In the summer of 1938, Blücher succeeded in repelling a Japanese attack on the territory of the Soviet Union in the Battle of Lake Chassan from July 29 to August 11, 1938. The fact that the Japanese had succeeded in penetrating Soviet territory on July 31 was blücher on the part of the Soviet People's Commissariat for Defense as a grave failure. He was ordered back to Moscow and released from his command. On October 22, 1938, Blücher was arrested and initially taken to the headquarters of the NKVD . He was shortly thereafter accused of spying for Japan and treason. The NKVD's Deputy People's Commissar, Beria , was responsible for investigating his case . Blücher was confronted with forced confessions from his deputy Ivan Fedko , the corps commander Khacharyan and his brother Pavel Gurow, but refused to admit the allegations made against him.

On November 3, Blücher was transferred to Lefortowo Prison on Beria's instructions and was severely tortured there . According to an article by the historian Safonov, Beria and his deputy Ivanov were the only people responsible for interrogating Blucher. Under the pressure of constant use of force, Blücher began to write a confession , but it remained unfinished as he died on the evening of November 9, 1938 due to internal injuries. The body was not handed over to the relatives, but rather cremated in the then only Moscow crematorium in the Donskoy cemetery and the ashes there thrown into a mass grave .

After the end of the Stalin era, the Soviet Supreme Military Court rehabilitated Blücher in 1956 as a hero of the Russian Civil War and declared the charges against him null and void.



  • Herbert Ammon: Wassili Blücher - the hero in the Maelstrom of the revolution . in: Iablis 2010; https://www.iablis.de/iablis_t/2010/ammonrez10.html
  • В. Душенькин (W. Duschenkin): От солдата до маршала - Жизнь и боевой путь маршала. Советского Союза В.К.Блюхера (From soldier to marshal. The life and military career of Marshal of the Soviet Union WK Blücher); USSR Military Publishing House, Moscow 1960
  • Raymond L. Garthoff (Ed.): Sino-Soviet Military Relations ; Frederick A. Praeger, New York, 1966
  • Роман Борисович Гуль (Roman Borissowitsch Gul): Блюхер (Blücher); Молодая гвардия, Moscow 1990; on-line
  • Walter Germanowitsch Kriwitzki : I was Stalin's agent , Nevertheless-Verlag, Grafenau-Döffingen 1990, ISBN 3-922209-33-5
  • В. Сафонов: Последние дни маршала Блюхера. In: Советский воин. Vol. 6, No. 2, 1991, ZDB -ID 1104709-4 , pp. 78-84.
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn : Der Archipel GULAG , Volume 2, Rowohlt Hamburg 1994. ISBN 3-499-14197-3
  • Александр Иванович Черепанов (Alexander Iwanowitsch Tscherepanow): Записки военного советника в Китае (memoirs of a Soviet military adviser in China); Science Publishing House, Moscow 1964; on-line
  • С.Ф.Телегин: Под команд Блюхера (SFTelegin: Under the command of Bluchers ), Ogoniok magazine, March 18, 1962, p. 15
  • Jeanne Vronskaya, Vladimir Chuguev: A Biographical Dictionary of the Soviet Union ; Verlag KG Saur 1989; ISBN 0-86291-470-1
  • Nikolai T. Welikanow: Blücher ; ( Russian Н. Т. Великанов: Блюхер ) Molodaja Gwardija Moscow 2010, ISBN 978-5-235-03256-9 ( online )

Web links

Commons : Wassili Konstantinowitsch Blücher  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Velikanow: Blücher
  2. a b c d e f g h Vronskaya, Chuguev: A Biographical Dictionary of the Soviet Union , p. 43
  3. Duschenkin: From soldiers to marshal , p. 76
  4. ^ Garthoff: Sino-Soviet Military Relations , p. 16
  5. ^ Garthoff: Sino-Soviet Military Relations , p. 49
  6. ^ Garthoff: Sino-Soviet Military Relations , p. 51
  7. ^ Garthoff: Sino-Soviet Military Relations , p. 52
  8. ^ Garthoff: Sino-Soviet Military Relations , p. 22
  9. Kriwitzki: I was Stalin's agent , p. 242
  10. ^ Garthoff: Sino-Soviet Military Relations , p. 28
  11. ^ Garthoff: Sino-Soviet Military Relations , p. 29
  12. Solzhenitsyn: The GULAG Archipelago , Vol. 2, p. 579
  13. a b c V. Safonov: Marshal Blüchers last days