Gentz, Friedrich von
Friedrich von Gentz. Engraving by C. F. Merckel, 1824.
Gentz, Friedrich von, b. Wroclaw, Poland (then Breslau), May 2, 1764, d. Weinhaus near Vienna, June 9, 1832, important political author. From 1785 to 1802 in Prussian civil service, from 1802 in Austrian civil service. Contract writer and journalistic advisor, first in the campaign against Napoleon, then from 1815 worked closely with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and later Chancellor Metternich, dealt with assignments of a diplomatic and journalistic nature. Secretary at the Congress of Vienna ("Sekretär Europas" = secretary of Europe). Founder of the "Wiener Jahrbücher der Literatur" (1818), was the political inspiration behind and a regular contributor to the semi-official paper "Österreichischer Beobachter" (1810-1848) originally edited by F.Schlegel. His attempt to establish a "Departement der öffentlichen Meinung" (department of public opinion) in 1813 failed, and shortly thereafter he became Metternich's "Propagandaminister"; one of the founding fathers of the Karlsbader Beschlüsse in 1819, containing among other things a federal press law providing for strict preliminary censorship. G.'s works are important sources for political history.
Works: Fragmente aus der neuesten Geschichte des politischen Gleichgewichtes in Europa, 1806. - Editions: Schriften, 5 vols., 1838-1840; Tagebücher, 4 vols., 1873/1874 and 1920; Briefe, 4 vols., 1909-1913; government writings and letters, ed. by A. Eckart, 2 vols., 1911; Gesammelte Schriften, ed. by G. Kronenbitter, 7 vols., 1997-1998.
Literature: G. Mann, F. v. G., 1947; G. Kronenbitter, Wort und Macht. F. G. als politischer Schriftsteller, 1994.