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PRUSSIA (German : _ Preußen_ (help ·info )) was a historical state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
and the Margraviate of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
, and centred on the region of Prussia
Prussia
. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern
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
Königsberg
and from 1701 in Berlin
Berlin
, shaped the history of Germany
Germany
. In 1871, German states united to create the German Empire
German Empire
under Prussian leadership. In November 1918, the monarchies were abolished and the nobility lost its political power during the German Revolution of 1918–19
German Revolution of 1918–19
. The Kingdom of Prussia
Prussia
was thus abolished in favour of a republic—the Free State of Prussia
Prussia
, a state of Germany
Germany
from 1918 until 1933. From 1933, Prussia lost its independence as a result of the Prussian coup , when the Nazi regime was successfully establishing its _ Gleichschaltung _ laws in pursuit of a unitary state . With the end of the Nazi regime, the division of Germany
Germany
into allied-occupation zones and the separation of its territories east of the Oder–Neisse line , which were incorporated into Poland
Poland
and the Soviet Union, the State of Prussia ceased to exist de facto in 1945. Prussia
Prussia
existed _de jure _ until its formal liquidation by the Allied Control Council
Allied Control Council
Enactment No. 46 of 25 February 1947.

The name _Prussia_ derives from the Old Prussians
Old Prussians
. In the 13th century, the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
—an organized Catholic
Catholic
medieval military order of German crusaders —conquered the lands inhabited by them. In 1308, the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
conquered the region of Pomerelia with Gdańsk
Gdańsk
(Danzig). Their monastic state was mostly Germanised through immigration from central and western Germany
Germany
and in the south, it was Polonised by settlers from Masovia
Masovia
. The Second Peace of Thorn (1466) split Prussia
Prussia
into the western Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia
, a province of Poland, and the eastern part, from 1525 called the Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
, a fief of the Crown of Poland
Poland
up to 1657. The union of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
and the Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
in 1618 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Prussia
Prussia
in 1701.

Prussia
Prussia
entered the ranks of the great powers shortly after becoming a kingdom, and exercised most influence in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 18th century it had a major say in many international affairs under the reign of Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great
. During the 19th century, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
united the German principalities into a "Lesser Germany
Germany
" which excluded the Austrian Empire .

At the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
(1814–15), which redrew the map of Europe following Napoleon
Napoleon
's defeat, Prussia
Prussia
acquired a large section of north western Germany, including the coal-rich Ruhr
Ruhr
. The country then grew rapidly in influence economically and politically, and became the core of the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
in 1867, and then of the German Empire in 1871. The Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
was now so large and so dominant in the new Germany
Germany
that Junkers and other Prussian élites identified more and more as Germans
Germans
and less as Prussians.

The Kingdom ended in 1918. In the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
, the state of Prussia
Prussia
lost nearly all of its legal and political importance following the 1932 coup led by Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
. East Prussia
East Prussia
lost all of its German population after 1945, as Poland
Poland
and the Soviet Union absorbed its territory and expelled most of its inhabitants.

The term _Prussian_ has often been used, especially outside of Germany, to emphasise the professionalism, aggressiveness, militarism and conservatism of the Junker
Junker
class of landed aristocrats in the East who dominated first Prussia
Prussia
and then the German Empire.

CONTENTS

* 1 Symbols * 2 Territory

* 3 Demographics

* 3.1 Population * 3.2 Religion * 3.3 Non-German population

* 4 Administrative and constitutional frameworks

* 5 History

* 5.1 Teutonic Order * 5.2 Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
* 5.3 Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia

* 5.4 Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia

* 5.4.1 Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
* 5.4.2 Wars of liberation

* 5.4.3 Wars of unification

* 5.4.3.1 Schleswig
Schleswig
Wars * 5.4.3.2 Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
* 5.4.3.3 Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War

* 5.4.4 German Empire
German Empire

* 5.5 Railways * 5.6 The Free State of Prussia
Free State of Prussia
in the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
* 5.7 End of Prussia
Prussia

* 6 Notes * 7 Bibliography * 8 Further reading * 9 External links

SYMBOLS

Main article: Coat of arms of Prussia
Coat of arms of Prussia

The main coat of arms of Prussia
Prussia
, as well as the flag of Prussia
Prussia
, depicted a black eagle on a white background.

The black and white national colours were already used by the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
and by the Hohenzollern dynasty . The Teutonic Order wore a white coat embroidered with a black cross with gold insert and black imperial eagle. The combination of the black and white colours with the white and red Hanseatic colours of the free cities Bremen
Bremen
, Hamburg
Hamburg
and Lübeck
Lübeck
, as well as of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
, resulted in the black-white-red commercial flag of the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
, which became the flag of the German Empire
German Empire
in 1871.

_ Suum cuique
Suum cuique
_ ("to each, his own"), the motto of the Order of the Black Eagle created by King Frederick I in 1701, was often associated with the whole of Prussia. The Iron Cross
Iron Cross
, a military decoration created by King Frederick William III in 1813, was also commonly associated with the country. The region, originally populated by Baltic Old Prussians
Old Prussians
who were Christianised, became a favoured location for immigration by (later mainly Protestant) Germans
Germans
(_see Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung
_), as well as Poles
Poles
and Lithuanians
Lithuanians
along the border regions.

TERRITORY

Before its abolition, the territory of the Kingdom of Prussia included the provinces of West Prussia
West Prussia
; East Prussia
East Prussia
; Brandenburg
Brandenburg
; Saxony
Saxony
(including much of the present-day state of Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt
and parts of the state of Thuringia
Thuringia
in Germany); Pomerania ; Rhineland
Rhineland
; Westphalia
Westphalia
; Silesia
Silesia
(without Austrian Silesia
Silesia
); Lusatia
Lusatia
; Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
; Hanover
Hanover
; Hesse-Nassau
Hesse-Nassau
; and a small detached area in the south called Hohenzollern , the ancestral home of the Prussian ruling family. The land that the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
occupied was flat and covered with rich soil. The land was perfectly suited to the large-scale raising of wheat. The rise of early Prussia
Prussia
was based on the raising and selling of wheat. Teutonic Prussia
Prussia
became known as the "bread basket of Western Europe" (in German, _Kornkammer_, or granary). The port cities of Stettin ( Szczecin
Szczecin
) in Pomerania, Danzig ( Gdańsk
Gdańsk
) in Prussia, Riga
Riga
in Livonia, Königsberg
Königsberg
( Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad
) and Memel ( Klaipėda
Klaipėda
) rose on the back of this wheat production. Wheat production and trade brought Prussia
Prussia
into close relationship with the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
during the period of time from 1356 (official founding of the Hanseatic League) until the decline of the League in about 1500.

The expansion of Prussia
Prussia
based on its connection with the Hanseatic League cut both Poland
Poland
and Lithuania
Lithuania
off from the coast of the Baltic Sea and trade abroad. This meant that Poland
Poland
and Lithuania
Lithuania
would be traditional enemies of Prussia—which was still called the Teutonic Knights.

DEMOGRAPHICS

POPULATION

In 1871, Prussia's population numbered 24.69 million, accounting for 60% of the German Empire
German Empire
's population. In 1910, the population had increased to 40.17 million (62% of the Empire's population). In 1914, Prussia
Prussia
had an area of 354,490 km². In May 1939 Prussia
Prussia
had an area of 297,007 km² and a population of 41,915,040 inhabitants. The Principality
Principality
of Neuenburg , now the Canton of Neuchâtel
Canton of Neuchâtel
in Switzerland, was a part of the Prussian kingdom from 1707 to 1848.

RELIGION

Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom
circa 1900.

Prussia
Prussia
was dominated by two major Protestant
Protestant
confessions: Lutheranism
Lutheranism
and Calvinism
Calvinism
. The majority of the Prussian population was Lutheran, although there were dispersed Reformed
Reformed
minorities in central and western parts of the state especially Brandenburg
Brandenburg
, Rhineland
Rhineland
, Westphalia
Westphalia
and Hesse-Nassau
Hesse-Nassau
. In 1613, John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
and Grand Duke of Prussia, declared himself for the Reformed
Reformed
creed and transferred the Berlin
Berlin
Cathedral from the Lutheran
Lutheran
to the Reformed
Reformed
church. Lutherans and Reformed
Reformed
congregations all over the kingdom were merged after 1817 by the Prussian Union of churches , which came under tight royal control. In Protestant regions, writes Nipperdey:

Much of religious life was often conventional and superficial by any normal, human standard. The state and the bureaucracy kept their distance, preferring to spoon-feed the churches and treat them like children. They saw the churches as channels for education, as a means of instilling morality and obedience, or for propagating useful things, just like bee-keeping or potato-farming.

Prussia
Prussia
received significant Huguenot
Huguenot
population after dragonnades and issuing of the Edict of Fontainebleau by Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
. In Berlin, they built and worshipped at their own church called the French Cathedral on Gendarmenmarkt . Time passed by, and Huguenots assimilated into the wider Protestant
Protestant
community in Prussia. East Prussia's southern region of Masuria
Masuria
was mostly made up of Germanised Lutheran
Lutheran
Masurians .

After 1814, Prussia
Prussia
contained millions of Roman Catholics in the west and in the east. There were substantial populations in the Rhineland
Rhineland
, parts of Westphalia
Westphalia
, eastern parts of Silesia
Silesia
, West Prussia
West Prussia
, Ermland and the Province of Posen
Province of Posen
. Communities in Poland
Poland
were often ethnically Polish , although this is not the case of eastern Silesia as the majority of Catholics there were German.

Prussia
Prussia
contained a relatively large Jewish
Jewish
community, which was mostly concentrated in large urban areas.

In 1925, 64.9% of the Prussian population was Protestant
Protestant
, 31.3% was Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
, 1.1% was Jewish
Jewish
, 2.7% was placed in other religious categories.

NON-GERMAN POPULATION

In 1649, Kursenieki
Kursenieki
settlement along the Baltic coastline of East Prussia
East Prussia
spanned from Memel (Klaipėda) to Danzig (Gdańsk) .

In 1871, approximately 2.4 million Poles
Poles
lived in Prussia, constituting the largest minority. Other minorities were Jews, Danes, Frisians
Frisians
, Dutchmen , Kashubians
Kashubians
(72,500 in 1905), Masurians (248,000 in 1905), Lithuanians
Lithuanians
(101,500 in 1905), Walloons , Czechs
Czechs
, Kursenieki
Kursenieki
, and Sorbs
Sorbs
.

The area of Greater Poland
Poland
, where the Polish nation had originated, became the Province of Posen
Province of Posen
after the Partitions of Poland
Poland
. Poles
Poles
in this Polish-majority province (62% Polish, 38% German) resisted German rule. Also, the southeast portion of Silesia
Silesia
( Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
) had a Polish majority. But Catholics and Jews did not have equal status with Protestants.

As a result of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
in 1919, the Second Polish Republic was granted not only these two areas, but also areas with a German majority in the Province of West Prussia. After World War II
World War II
, East Prussia, Silesia, most of Pomerania and the eastern part of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
were either annexed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
or given to Poland, and the German-speaking populations expelled.

ADMINISTRATIVE AND CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS

Main articles: Free State of Prussia
Free State of Prussia
, Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
, and Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia

In the mid-16th century the margraves of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
had become highly dependent on the Estates (representing counts, lords, knights and towns – but not prelates, due to the Protestant
Protestant
Reformation in 1538). The margraviate's liabilities and tax income as well as the margrave's finances were in the hands of the _Kreditwerk_, an institution not controlled by the elector, and of the _Großer Ausschuß_ ("Great Committee") of the Estates. This was due to concessions made by Elector Joachim II in 1541 in return for financial aid by the estates; however, the _Kreditwerk_ went bankrupt between 1618 and 1625. The margraves further had to yield to the veto of the Estates in all issues concerning the "better or worse of the country", in all legal commitments, and in all issues concerning pawn or sale of the elector's real property. Hohenzollern residence in Berlin
Berlin
... during the Renaissance
Renaissance
period ... according to the design of 1702

To reduce the influence of the Estates, Joachim Frederick in 1604 created a council called _Geheimer Rat für die Kurmark_ ("Privy Council for the Electorate"), which instead of the Estates was to function as the supreme advisory council for the elector. While the council was permanently established in 1613, it failed to gain any influence until 1651 due to the Thirty Years\' War (1618–1648)

Until after the Thirty Years\' War , the various territories of Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
remained politically independent from each other, connected only by the common feudal superior. Frederick William (ruled 1640–1688), who envisioned the transformation of the personal union into a real union , started to centralise the Brandenburg-Prussian government with an attempt to establish the _Geheimer Rat_ as a central authority for all territories in 1651, but this project proved infeasible. Instead, the elector continued to appoint a governor (_Kurfürstlicher Rat_) for each territory, who in most cases was a member of the _Geheimer Rat_. The most powerful institution in the territories remained the governments of the estates (_Landständische Regierung_, named _Oberratsstube_ in Prussia
Prussia
and _Geheime Landesregierung_ in Mark and Cleves), which were the highest government agencies regarding jurisdiction, finances and administration. The elector attempted to balance the Estates' governments by creating _Amtskammer_ chambers to administer and coordinate the elector's domains, tax income and privileges. Such chambers were introduced in Brandenburg
Brandenburg
in 1652, in Cleves and Mark in 1653, in Pomerania in 1654, in Prussia
Prussia
in 1661 and in Magdeburg in 1680. Also in 1680, the _Kreditwerk_ came under the aegis of the elector.

Frederick William I's excise tax (_Akzise_), which from 1667 replaced the property tax raised in Brandenburg
Brandenburg
for Brandenburg-Prussia's standing army with the Estates' consent, was raised by the elector without consultation with the Estates. The conclusion of the Second Northern War of 1655–1660 had strengthened the elector politically, enabling him to reform the constitution of Cleves and Mark in 1660 and 1661 to introduce officials loyal to him and independent of the local estates. In the Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
he confirmed the traditional privileges of the Estates in 1663, but the latter accepted the caveat that these privileges were not to be used to interfere with the exertion of the elector's sovereignty. As in Brandenburg, Frederick William ignored the privilege of the Prussian Estates to confirm or veto taxes raised by the elector: while in 1656, an _Akzise_ was raised with the Estates' consent, the elector by force collected taxes not approved by the Prussian Estates for the first time in 1674. From 1704 the Prussian estates _de facto_ relinquished their right to approve the elector's taxes while formally still entitled to do so. In 1682 the elector introduced an _Akzise_ to Pomerania and in 1688 to Magdeburg, while in Cleves and Mark an _Akzise_ was introduced only between 1716 and 1720. Due to Frederick William I's reforms, the state income increased threefold during his reign, and the tax burden per subject reached a level twice as high as in France.

Under the rule of Frederick III (I) (in office: 1688–1713), the Brandenburg
Brandenburg
Prussian territories were _de facto_ reduced to provinces of the monarchy . Frederick William's testament would have divided Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
among his sons, but his firstborn son Frederick III (I), with the emperor 's backing, succeeded in becoming the sole ruler based on the Treaty of Gera of 1599, which forbade a division of Hohenzollern territories. In 1689, a new central chamber for all Brandenburg-Prussian territories was established, called _Geheime Hofkammer_ (from 1713: _Generalfinanzdirektorium_). This chamber functioned as a superior agency of the territories' _Amtskammer_ chambers. The General War Commissariat (_Generalkriegskommissariat_) emerged as a second central agency, superior to the local _Kriegskommissariat_ agencies initially concerned with the administration of the army, but before 1712 transformed into an agency also concerned with general tax and police tasks. Prussian King\'s Crown ( Hohenzollern Castle
Hohenzollern Castle
Collection)

The Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
functioned as an absolute monarchy until the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states
Revolutions of 1848 in the German states
, after which Prussia
Prussia
became a constitutional monarchy and Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg
Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg
was elected as Prussia's first prime minister (_Ministerpräsident_). Prussia\'s first constitution dated from 1848. The 1850 Prussian Constitution established a two-chamber parliament. The lower house, or _ Landtag
Landtag
_ represented all taxpayers, who were divided into three classes according to the amount of taxes paid. This allowed just over 25% of the voters to choose 85% of the legislature, all but assuring dominance by the more well-to-do elements of the population. The upper house (First Chamber or _Erste Kammer_), later renamed the Prussian House of Lords (_Herrenhaus_), was appointed by the king. He retained full executive authority and ministers were responsible only to him. As a result, the grip of the landowning classes, the Junkers , remained unbroken, especially in the eastern provinces. The Prussian Secret Police , formed in response to the Revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
in the German states , aided the conservative government.

Unlike its authoritarian pre-1918 predecessor, Prussia
Prussia
from 1918 to 1932 was a promising democracy within Germany. The abolition of the political power of the aristocracy transformed Prussia
Prussia
into a region strongly dominated by the left wing of the political spectrum, with "Red Berlin" and the industrial centre of the Ruhr
Ruhr
Area exerting major influence. During this period a coalition of centre-left parties ruled, predominantly under the leadership (1920–1932) of East Prussian Social Democrat Otto Braun
Otto Braun
. While in office Braun implemented several reforms (together with his Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing
Carl Severing
) which became models for the later Federal Republic of Germany
Germany
. For instance, a Prussian prime minister could only be forced out of office if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor. This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence , became part of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Most historians regard the Prussian government during the 1920s as far more successful than that of Germany
Germany
as a whole.

Similar to other German states both now and at the time , executive power remained vested in a Minister-President
Minister-President
of Prussia
Prussia
and in laws established by a Landtag
Landtag
elected by the people.

HISTORY

TEUTONIC ORDER

HISTORY OF BRANDENBURG AND PRUSSIA

NORTHERN MARCH pre–12th century OLD PRUSSIANS pre–13th century

MARGRAVIATE OF BRANDENBURG 1157–1618 (1806) TEUTONIC ORDER 1224–1525

DUCHY OF PRUSSIA 1525–1618 ROYAL (POLISH) PRUSSIA 1466–1772

BRANDENBURG-PRUSSIA 1618–1701

KINGDOM IN PRUSSIA 1701–1772

KINGDOM OF PRUSSIA 1772–1918

FREE STATE OF PRUSSIA 1918–1947 KLAIPėDA REGION (Lithuania) 1920–1939 / 1945–present

BRANDENBURG (Germany) 1947–1952 / 1990–present RECOVERED TERRITORIES (Poland) 1918/1945–present KALININGRAD OBLAST (Russia) 1945–present

Main article: Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
Situation after the conquest in the late 13th century. Areas in purple under control of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
After the Second Peace of Thorn . Teutonic Order state: orange

In 1211, Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II of Hungary
granted Burzenland in Transylvania as a fiefdom to the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
. In 1225, he expelled them again, and they had to transfer to the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
. Konrad I , the Polish duke of Masovia
Masovia
, unsuccessfully attempted to conquer pagan Prussia
Prussia
in crusades in 1219 and 1222. In 1226, Duke Konrad invited the Teutonic Knights, a German military order of crusading knights, headquartered in the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
at Acre , to conquer the Baltic Prussian tribes on his borders.

During 60 years of struggles against the Old Prussians
Old Prussians
, the order created an independent state which came to control Prūsa. After the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
Livonian Brothers of the Sword
joined the Teutonic Order in 1237, they also controlled Livonia
Livonia
(now Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia
Estonia
). Around 1252, they finished the conquest of the northernmost Prussian tribe of the Skalvians
Skalvians
as well as the western Baltic Curonians , and erected the Memel Castle , which developed into the major port city of Memel (Klaipėda) . The final border between Prussia
Prussia
and the adjoining Grand Duchy
Duchy
of Lithuania
Lithuania
was determined in the Treaty of Melno in 1422.

The Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
was officially formed in northern Europe in 1356 as a group of trading cities which came to have a monopoly on all trade leaving the interior of Europe and Scandinavia and on all sailing trade in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
for foreign countries. The businessmen of the interior Sweden, Denmark
Denmark
and Poland
Poland
came to feel oppressed by the Hanseatic League.

In the course of the Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung
process settlers were invited, bringing changes in the ethnic composition as well as in language, culture and law. As a majority of these settlers were Germans, Low German became the dominant language.

The Knights were subordinate to the pope and the emperor . Their initially close relationship with the Polish Crown deteriorated after they conquered Polish-controlled Pomerelia
Pomerelia
and Danzig (Gdańsk) in 1308. Eventually Poland
Poland
and Lithuania, allied through the Union of Krewo (1385), defeated the Knights in the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410.

The Thirteen Years\' War (1454–1466) began when the Prussian Confederation , a coalition of Hanseatic cities of western Prussia, rebelled against the Order and requested help from the Polish king. The Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
were forced to acknowledge the sovereignty of and to pay tribute to King Casimir IV Jagiellon
Casimir IV Jagiellon
of Poland
Poland
in the Second Peace of Thorn , losing western Prussia
Prussia
( Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia
) to Poland
Poland
in the process. Pursuant to the Second Peace of Thorn, two Prussian states were established

DUCHY OF PRUSSIA

Main article: Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
_ Prussian Homage _, Jan Matejko . After admitting the dependence of Prussia
Prussia
to the Polish crown, Albert of Prussia receives Ducal Prussia
Ducal Prussia
as a fief from King Sigismund I the Old of Poland
Poland
in 1525.

In 1525, Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach , a member of a cadet branch of the House of Hohenzollern
House of Hohenzollern
, became a Lutheran Protestant
Protestant
and secularised the Order's remaining Prussian territories into the Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
. This was the area east of the mouth of the Vistula
Vistula
River, later sometimes called " Prussia
Prussia
proper". For the first time, these lands came into the hands of a branch of the Hohenzollern family. (The Hohenzollern dynasty had ruled the Margraviate of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
to the west, a German state centred on Berlin
Berlin
, since the 15th century.) Furthermore, with his renunciation of the Order, Albert could now marry and produce legitimate heirs.

BRANDENBURG-PRUSSIA

Main article: Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia

Brandenburg
Brandenburg
and Prussia
Prussia
were unified two generations later. Anna, granddaughter of Albert I and daughter of Duke Albert Frederick (reigned 1568–1618), married her cousin Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
. Upon the death of Albert Frederick in 1618, who died without male heirs, John Sigismund was granted the right of succession to the Duchy
Duchy
of Prussia, which was still a Polish fief. From this time the Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
was in personal union with the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The resulting state, known as Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
, consisted of geographically disconnected territories in Prussia, Brandenburg, and the Rhineland
Rhineland
lands of Cleves and Mark . The "Great Elector " and his wife

During the Thirty Years\' War , the disconnected Hohenzollern lands were repeatedly marched across by various armies, especially the occupying Swedes . The ineffective and militarily weak Margrave George William (1619–1640) fled from Berlin
Berlin
to Königsberg
Königsberg
, the historic capital of the Duchy of Prussia
Duchy of Prussia
, in 1637. His successor, Frederick William I (1640–1688), reformed the army to defend the lands.

Frederick William I went to Warsaw
Warsaw
in 1641 to render homage to King Władysław IV Vasa
Władysław IV Vasa
of Poland
Poland
for the Duchy
Duchy
of Prussia, which was still held in fief from the Polish crown. In the first phase of the Second Northern War
Second Northern War
(1654–1660), he took the duchy as a fief from the Swedish king who later granted him full sovereignty in the Treaty of Labiau . In 1657, this grant was renewed by the Polish king in the treaties of Wehlau and Bromberg . With Prussia, the Brandenburg Hohenzollern dynasty now held a territory free of any feudal obligations, which constituted the basis for their later elevation to kings.

Frederick William I became known as the "Great Elector" for his achievements in organizing the electorate, which he accomplished by establishing an absolute monarchy (see absolutism ) in Brandenburg-Prussia. Above all, he emphasised the importance of a powerful military to protect the state's disconnected territories, while the Edict of Potsdam
Edict of Potsdam
opened Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
for immigration of Protestant
Protestant
refugees, and he established a bureaucracy to carry out state business efficiently.

KINGDOM OF PRUSSIA

Frederick I , King in Prussia
King in Prussia
The Prussian Crown Jewels , Charlottenburg Palace
Charlottenburg Palace
, Berlin
Berlin
Main article: Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia

On 18 January 1701, Frederick William's son, Elector Frederick III, upgraded Prussia
Prussia
from a duchy to a kingdom and crowned himself King Frederick I . To avoid offending Poland
Poland
, where a part of the old Prussia
Prussia
lay, Leopold I , emperor of the Holy Roman Empire where most of the lands of Prussia
Prussia
lay, allowed Frederick only to title himself " King in Prussia
King in Prussia
", not " King of Prussia
King of Prussia
". Growth of Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
, 1600–1795

The state of Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
became commonly known as "Prussia", although most of its territory, in Brandenburg, Pomerania, and western Germany, lay outside of Prussia
Prussia
proper. The Prussian state grew in splendour during the reign of Frederick I, who sponsored the arts at the expense of the treasury.

Frederick I was succeeded by his son, Frederick William I (1713–1740) the austere "Soldier King", who did not care for the arts but was thrifty and practical. He is considered the creator of the vaunted Prussian bureaucracy and the professionalised standing army, which he developed into one of the most powerful in Europe, although his troops only briefly saw action during the Great Northern War . In view of the size of the army in relation to the total population, Mirabeau said later: _Prussia, is not a state with an army, but an army with a state._ Also, Frederick William settled more than 20,000 Protestant
Protestant
refugees from Salzburg
Salzburg
in thinly populated eastern Prussia, which was eventually extended to the west bank of the River Memel , and other regions. In the treaty of Stockholm (1720), he acquired half of Swedish Pomerania
Swedish Pomerania
. King Frederick William I , "the Soldier-King"

The king died in 1740 and was succeeded by his son, Frederick II , whose accomplishments led to his reputation as "Frederick the Great". As crown prince, Frederick had focused, primarily, on philosophy and the arts. He was an accomplished flute player. In 1740, Prussian troops crossed over the undefended border of Silesia
Silesia
and occupied Schweidnitz. Silesia
Silesia
was the richest province of Habsburg Austria. It signalled the beginning of three Silesian Wars (1740–1763). The First Silesian War (1740–1742) and the Second Silesian War (1744–1745) have, historically, been grouped together with the general European war called the War of Austrian Succession (1740–1748). Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI had died on 20 October 1740. He was succeeded to the throne by his daughter, Maria Theresa
Maria Theresa
.

By defeating the Austrian Army at the Battle of Mollwitz
Battle of Mollwitz
on 10 April 1741, Frederick succeeded in conquering Lower Silesia
Silesia
(the northwestern half of Silesia). In the next year, 1742, he conquered Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
(the southeastern half). Furthermore, in the third Silesian War (usually grouped with the Seven Years\' War ) Frederick won a victory over Austria
Austria
at the Battle of Lobositz
Battle of Lobositz
on 1 October 1756. In spite of some impressive victories afterward, his situation became far less comfortable the following years, as he failed in his attempts to knock Austria
Austria
out of the war and was gradually reduced to a desperate defensive war. However, he never gave up and on 3 November 1760 the Prussian king won another battle, the hard-fought Battle of Torgau . Despite being several times on the verge of defeat Frederick, allied with Great Britain , Hanover
Hanover
and Hesse-Kassel , was finally able to hold the whole of Silesia
Silesia
against a coalition of Saxony
Saxony
, Austria
Austria
, France and Russia. Voltaire
Voltaire
, a close friend of the king, once described Frederick the Great's Prussia
Prussia
by saying "...it was Sparta
Sparta
in the morning, Athens
Athens
in the afternoon." From these wars onwards the Austria–Prussia rivalry dominated German politics until 1866.

Silesia, full of rich soils and prosperous manufacturing towns, became a vital region to Prussia, greatly increasing the nation's area, population, and wealth. Success on the battleground against Austria
Austria
and other powers proved Prussia's status as one of the great powers of Europe. The Silesian Wars began more than a century of rivalry and conflict between Prussia
Prussia
and Austria
Austria
as the two most powerful states operating within the Holy Roman Empire (although, ironically, both had extensive territory outside the empire). In 1744 the County of East Frisia
East Frisia
fell to Prussia
Prussia
following the extinction of its ruling Cirksena dynasty. King Frederick II , "the Great"

In the last 23 years of his reign until 1786, Frederick II, who understood himself as the "first servant of the state", promoted the development of Prussian areas such as the Oderbruch . At the same time he built up Prussia's military power and participated in the First Partition of Poland
Poland
with Austria
Austria
and Russia
Russia
(1772), an act that geographically connected the Brandenburg
Brandenburg
territories with those of Prussia
Prussia
proper. During this period, he also opened Prussia's borders to immigrants fleeing from religious persecution in other parts of Europe, such as the Huguenots
Huguenots
. Prussia
Prussia
became a safe haven in much the same way that the United States welcomed immigrants seeking freedom in the 19th century.

Frederick the Great, the first "King _of_ Prussia", practised enlightened absolutism . He introduced a general civil code, abolished torture and established the principle that the Crown would not interfere in matters of justice. He also promoted an advanced secondary education, the forerunner of today's German gymnasium (grammar school) system, which prepares the brightest pupils for university studies. The Prussian education system was emulated in various countries, including the United States.

Napoleonic Wars

Main articles: Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
, Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
, and War of the Sixth Coalition
Sixth Coalition
§ War in Germany
Germany

During the reign of King Frederick William II (1786–1797), Prussia annexed additional Polish territory through further Partitions of Poland
Poland
. His successor, Frederick William III (1797–1840), announced the union of the Prussian Lutheran
Lutheran
and Reformed
Reformed
churches into one church .

Prussia
Prussia
took a leading part in the French Revolutionary Wars
French Revolutionary Wars
, but remained quiet for more than a decade due to the Peace of Basel
Peace of Basel
of 1795, only to go once more to war with France in 1806 as negotiations with that country over the allocation of the spheres of influence in Germany
Germany
failed. Prussia
Prussia
suffered a devastating defeat against Napoleon Bonaparte 's troops in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
, leading Frederick William III and his family to flee temporarily to Memel . Under the Treaties of Tilsit
Treaties of Tilsit
in 1807, the state lost about one third of its area, including the areas gained from the second and third Partitions of Poland
Poland
, which now fell to the Duchy
Duchy
of Warsaw
Warsaw
. Beyond that, the king was obliged to pay a large indemnity, to cap his army at 42,000 men, and to allow French troops to be garrisoned throughout Prussia, effectively making the Kingdom a French satellite.

In response to this defeat, reformers such as Stein and Hardenberg set about modernising the Prussian state. Among their reforms were the liberation of peasants from serfdom , the Emancipation of Jews and making full citizens of them. The school system was rearranged, and in 1818 free trade was introduced. The process of army reform ended in 1813 with the introduction of compulsory military service. By 1813, Prussia
Prussia
could mobilize almost 300,000 more than half of which were conscripts of the _Landwehr_ of variable quality. The rest consisted of regular soldiers that were deemed excellent by most observers, and very determined to repair the humiliation of 1806.

After the defeat of Napoleon
Napoleon
in Russia
Russia
, Prussia
Prussia
quit its alliance with France and took part in the Sixth Coalition
Sixth Coalition
during the "Wars of Liberation" (_Befreiungskriege_) against the French occupation. Prussian troops under Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher contributed crucially (with the British) in the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
of June 1815 to the final victory over Napoleon. Prussia's reward in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
was the recovery of her lost territories, as well as the whole of the Rhineland
Rhineland
, Westphalia
Westphalia
, 40% of Saxony
Saxony
and some other territories. These western lands were to be of vital importance because they included the Ruhr
Ruhr
Area , the centre of Germany's fledgling industrialisation, especially in the arms industry. These territorial gains also meant the doubling of Prussia's population. In exchange, Prussia
Prussia
withdrew from areas of central Poland to allow the creation of Congress Poland
Poland
under Russian sovereignty. In 1815 Prussia
Prussia
became part of the German Confederation
German Confederation
.

Wars Of Liberation

Main article: German revolutions of 1848–49
German revolutions of 1848–49
King Frederick William IV

The first half of the 19th century saw a prolonged struggle in Germany
Germany
between liberals, who wanted a united, federal Germany
Germany
under a democratic constitution, and conservatives , who wanted to maintain Germany
Germany
as a patchwork of independent, monarchical states with Prussia and Austria
Austria
competing for influence. One small movement that signaled a desire for German unification in this period was the Burschenschaft student movement, by students who encouraged the use of the black-red-gold flag, discussions of a unified German nation, and a progressive, liberal political system. Because of Prussia's size and economic importance, smaller states began to join its free trade area in the 1820s. Prussia
Prussia
benefited greatly from the creation in 1834 of the German Customs Union ( Zollverein
Zollverein
), which included most German states but excluded Austria.

In 1848 the liberals saw an opportunity when revolutions broke out across Europe . Alarmed, King Frederick William IV agreed to convene a National Assembly and grant a constitution. When the Frankfurt Parliament offered Frederick William the crown of a united Germany, he refused on the grounds that he would not accept a crown from a revolutionary assembly without the sanction of Germany's other monarchs.

The Frankfurt Parliament
Frankfurt Parliament
was forced to dissolve in 1849, and Frederick William issued Prussia\'s first constitution by his own authority in 1850. This conservative document provided for a two-house parliament. The lower house, or _ Landtag
Landtag
_ was elected by all taxpayers, who were divided into three classes whose votes were weighted according to the amount of taxes paid. Women and those who paid no taxes had no vote. This allowed just over one-third of the voters to choose 85% of the legislature, all but assuring dominance by the more well-to-do men of the population. The upper house, which was later renamed the _Herrenhaus _ ("House of Lords"), was appointed by the king. He retained full executive authority and ministers were responsible only to him. As a result, the grip of the landowning classes, the Junkers , remained unbroken, especially in the eastern provinces.

Wars Of Unification

Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck

In 1862 King Wilhelm I appointed Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
as Prime Minister of Prussia
Prussia
. Bismarck was determined to defeat both the liberals and conservatives and increase Prussian supremacy and influence among the German states. There has been much debate as to whether Bismarck actually planned to create a united Germany
Germany
when he set out on this journey, or whether he simply took advantage of the circumstances that fell into place. Certainly his memoirs paint a rosy picture of an idealist, but these were written with the benefit of hindsight and certain crucial events could not have been predicted. What is clear is that Bismarck curried support from large sections of the people by promising to lead the fight for greater German unification. He eventually guided Prussia
Prussia
through three wars which together brought William the position of German Emperor
German Emperor
.

Schleswig
Schleswig
Wars

The Kingdom of Denmark
Denmark
was at the time in personal union with the Duchies of Schleswig
Schleswig
and Holstein
Holstein
, both of which had close ties with each other, although only Holstein
Holstein
was part of the German Confederation . When the Danish government tried to integrate Schleswig, but not Holstein, into the Danish state, Prussia
Prussia
led the German Confederation
German Confederation
against Denmark
Denmark
in the First War of Schleswig (1848–1851). Because Russia
Russia
supported Austria, Prussia
Prussia
also conceded predominance in the German Confederation
German Confederation
to Austria
Austria
in the Punctation of Olmütz in 1850.

In 1863, Denmark
Denmark
introduced a shared constitution for Denmark
Denmark
and Schleswig. This led to conflict with the German Confederation, which authorised the occupation of Holstein
Holstein
by the Confederation, from which Danish forces withdrew. In 1864, Prussian and Austrian forces crossed the border between Holstein
Holstein
and Schleswig
Schleswig
initiating the Second War of Schleswig
Schleswig
. The Austro-Prussian forces defeated the Danes, who surrendered both territories. In the resulting Gastein Convention of 1865 Prussia
Prussia
took over the administration of Schleswig
Schleswig
while Austria assumed that of Holstein.

Austro-Prussian War

Main article: Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
Expansion of Prussia 1807–1871

Bismarck realised that the dual administration of Schleswig
Schleswig
and Holstein
Holstein
was only a temporary solution, and tensions rose between Prussia
Prussia
and Austria. The struggle for supremacy in Germany
Germany
then led to the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
(1866), triggered by the dispute over Schleswig
Schleswig
and Holstein.

On the Austrian side stood the south German states (including Bavaria and Württemberg
Württemberg
), some central German states (including Saxony
Saxony
), and Hanover
Hanover
in the north. On the side of Prussia
Prussia
were Italy, most north German states, and some smaller central German states. Eventually, the better-armed Prussian troops won the crucial victory at the Battle of Königgrätz under Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
. The century-long struggle between Berlin
Berlin
and Vienna for dominance of Germany
Germany
was now over. As a side show in this war, Prussia
Prussia
defeated Hanover
Hanover
in the Battle of Langensalza (1866). While Hanover
Hanover
hoped in vain for help from Britain (as they had previously been in personal union), Britain stayed out of a confrontation with a continental superpower and Prussia
Prussia
satisfied its desire for merging the once separate territories and gaining strong economic and strategic power, particularly from the full access to the resources of the Ruhr.

Bismarck desired Austria
Austria
as an ally in the future, and so he declined to annex any Austrian territory. But in the Peace of Prague in 1866, Prussia
Prussia
annexed four of Austria's allies in northern and central Germany—Hanover, Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), Nassau and Frankfurt
Frankfurt
. Prussia
Prussia
also won full control of Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
. As a result of these territorial gains, Prussia
Prussia
now stretched uninterrupted across the northern two-thirds of Germany
Germany
and contained two-thirds of Germany's population. The German Confederation
German Confederation
was dissolved, and Prussia
Prussia
impelled the 21 states north of the Main River into forming the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
.

Prussia
Prussia
was the dominant state in the new confederation, as the kingdom comprised almost four-fifths of the new state's territory and population. Prussia's near-total control over the confederation was secured in the constitution drafted for it by Bismarck in 1867. Executive power was held by a president, assisted by a chancellor responsible only to him. The presidency was a hereditary office of the Hohenzollern rulers of Prussia. There was also a two-house parliament. The lower house, or _Reichstag _ (Diet), was elected by universal male suffrage . The upper house, or _Bundesrat_ (Federal Council) was appointed by the state governments. The Bundesrat was, in practice, the stronger chamber. Prussia
Prussia
had 17 of 43 votes, and could easily control proceedings through alliances with the other states.

As a result of the peace negotiations, the states south of the Main remained theoretically independent, but received the (compulsory) protection of Prussia. Additionally, mutual defence treaties were concluded. However, the existence of these treaties was kept secret until Bismarck made them public in 1867, when France tried to acquire Luxembourg
Luxembourg
.

Franco-Prussian War

Main article: Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
Emperor Wilhelm I

The controversy with the Second French Empire
Second French Empire
over the candidacy of a Hohenzollern to the Spanish throne was escalated both by France and Bismarck. With his Ems Dispatch
Ems Dispatch
, Bismarck took advantage of an incident in which the French ambassador had approached William. The government of Napoleon
Napoleon
III , expecting another civil war among the German states, declared war against Prussia, continuing Franco-German enmity . Honouring their treaties, however, the German states joined forces and quickly defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
in 1870. Following victory under Bismarck's and Prussia's leadership, Baden
Baden
, Württemberg
Württemberg
and Bavaria
Bavaria
– which had remained outside the North German Confederation
German Confederation
– accepted incorporation into a united German Empire .

The empire was a "Lesser German" solution (in German, "kleindeutsche Lösung ") to the question of uniting all German-speaking peoples into one state, because it excluded Austria, which remained connected to Hungary
Hungary
and whose territories included non-German populations. On 18 January 1871 (the 170th anniversary of the coronation of King Frederick I ), William was proclaimed " German Emperor
German Emperor
" (not "Emperor of Germany") in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles outside Paris, while the French capital was still under siege .

German Empire

Main article: German Empire
German Empire
Prussia
Prussia
in the German Empire 1871–1918

The two decades after the unification of Germany
Germany
were the peak of Prussia's fortunes, but the seeds for potential strife were built into the Prusso-German political system.

The constitution of the German Empire
German Empire
was a slightly amended version of the North German Confederation's constitution. Officially, the German Empire
German Empire
was a federal state. In practice, Prussia's relationship with the rest of the empire was somewhat confusing. The Hohenzollern kingdom included three-fifths of the German territory and two-thirds of its population. The Imperial German Army was, in practice, an enlarged Prussian army, although the other kingdoms ( Bavaria
Bavaria
, Saxony and Württemberg
Württemberg
) retained their own armies. The imperial crown was a hereditary office of the House of Hohenzollern
House of Hohenzollern
, the royal house of Prussia. The prime minister of Prussia
Prussia
was, except for two brief periods (January–November 1873 and 1892–94), also imperial chancellor. But the empire itself had no right to collect taxes directly from its subjects; the only incomes fully under federal control were the customs duties, common excise duties, and the revenue from postal and telegraph services. While all men above age 25 were eligible to vote in imperial elections, Prussia
Prussia
retained its restrictive three-class voting system. This effectively required the king/emperor and prime minister/chancellor to seek majorities from legislatures elected by two different franchises. In both the kingdom and the empire, the original constituencies were never redrawn to reflect changes in population, meaning that rural areas were grossly overrepresented by the turn of the 20th century. Emperor Frederick III

As a result, Prussia
Prussia
and the German Empire
German Empire
were something of a paradox. Bismarck knew that his new German Reich
German Reich
was now a colossus out of all proportion to the rest of the continent. With this in mind, he declared Germany
Germany
a satisfied power, using his talents to preserve peace, for example at the Congress of Berlin
Berlin
. Bismarck had barely any success in some of his domestic policies, such as the anti-Catholic _ Kulturkampf
Kulturkampf
_, but he also had mixed success on ones like Germanisation
Germanisation
or expulsion of Poles
Poles
of foreign nationality (Russian or Austro-Hungarian).

Frederick III was emperor for just 99 days in 1888 upon the death of his father, dying from cancer. Emperor Wilhelm II

At age 29, William became Emperor William II after a difficult youth and conflicts with his British mother Victoria, Princess Royal
Victoria, Princess Royal
. He turned out to be a man of limited experience, narrow and reactionary views, poor judgment, and occasional bad temper, which alienated former friends and allies.

RAILWAYS

Main article: Prussian state railways
Prussian state railways

Prussia
Prussia
nationalised its railways in the 1880s in an effort both to lower rates on freight service and to equalise those rates among shippers. Instead of lowering rates as far as possible, the government ran the railways as a profitmaking endeavour, and the railway profits became a major source of revenue for the state. The nationalisation of the railways slowed the economic development of Prussia
Prussia
because the state favoured the relatively backward agricultural areas in its railway building. Moreover, the railway surpluses substituted for the development of an adequate tax system.

THE FREE STATE OF PRUSSIA IN THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC

Main article: Free State of Prussia
Free State of Prussia
Federal States of the Weimar Republic. Prussia
Prussia
is light blue. After World War I
World War I
the Provinces of Posen and West Prussia
West Prussia
came largely to the 2nd Polish Republic ; Posen- West Prussia
West Prussia
and the West Prussia
West Prussia
district were formed from the remaining parts.

Because of the German Revolution
German Revolution
of 1918, Wilhelm II abdicated as German Emperor
German Emperor
and King of Prussia. Prussia
Prussia
was proclaimed a "Free State" (i.e. a republic, German: _Freistaat_) within the new Weimar Republic and in 1920 received a democratic constitution.

Almost all of Germany's territorial losses, specified in the Treaty of Versailles , were areas that had been part of Prussia: Eupen
Eupen
and Malmedy
Malmedy
to Belgium
Belgium
; North Schleswig
Schleswig
to Denmark; the Memel Territory to Lithuania; the Hultschin area to Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
. Many of the areas which Prussia
Prussia
had annexed in the partitions of Poland
Poland
, such as the Provinces of Posen and West Prussia
West Prussia
, as well as eastern Upper Silesia , went to the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
. Danzig became the Free City of Danzig under the administration of the League of Nations
League of Nations
. Also, the Saargebiet was created mainly from formerly Prussian territories. East Prussia
Prussia
became an exclave, only reachable by ship (the Sea Service East Prussia
East Prussia
) or by a railway through the Polish corridor
Polish corridor
.

The German government seriously considered breaking up Prussia
Prussia
into smaller states, but eventually traditionalist sentiment prevailed and Prussia
Prussia
became by far the largest state of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
, comprising 60% of its territory. With the abolition of the older Prussian franchise, it became a stronghold of the left. Its incorporation of "Red Berlin" and the industrialised Ruhr
Ruhr
Area – both with working class majorities – ensured left-wing dominance.

From 1919 to 1932, Prussia
Prussia
was governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats , Catholic
Catholic
Centre and German Democrats ; from 1921 to 1925, coalition governments included the German People\'s Party . Unlike in other states of the German Reich, majority rule by democratic parties in Prussia
Prussia
was never endangered. Nevertheless, in East Prussia
East Prussia
and some industrial areas, the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
gained more and more influence and popular support, especially from the lower middle class starting in 1930. Except for Catholic
Catholic
Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
, the Nazi Party in 1932 became the largest party in most parts of the Free State of Prussia. However, the democratic parties in coalition remained a majority, while Communists and Nazis were in the opposition.

The East Prussian Otto Braun
Otto Braun
, who was Prussian minister-president almost continuously from 1920 to 1932, is considered one of the most capable Social Democrats in history. He implemented several trend-setting reforms together with his minister of the interior, Carl Severing , which were also models for the later Federal Republic of Germany
Germany
(FRG). For instance, a Prussian minister-president could be forced out of office only if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor. This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence , was carried over into the Basic Law of the FRG. Most historians regard the Prussian government during this time as far more successful than that of Germany
Germany
as a whole.

In contrast to its pre-war authoritarianism, Prussia
Prussia
was a pillar of democracy in the Weimar Republic. This system was destroyed by the _ Preußenschlag _ ("Prussian coup") of Reich Chancellor
Reich Chancellor
Franz von Papen . In this coup d\'état , the government of the Reich deposed the Prussian government on 20 July 1932, under the pretext that the latter had lost control of public order in Prussia
Prussia
(during the Bloody Sunday of Altona, Hamburg
Altona, Hamburg
, which was still part of Prussia
Prussia
at that time) and by using fabricated evidence that the Social Democrats and the Communists were planning a joint _putsch_. The Defence Minister General Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher
, who was the prime mover behind the coup manufactured evidence that the Prussian police under Braun's orders were favouring the Communist _ Rotfrontkämpferbund
Rotfrontkämpferbund
_ in street clashes with the SA as part of an alleged plan to foment a Marxist revolution, which he used to get an emergency decree from President Paul von Hindenburg imposing _Reich_ control on Prussia. Papen appointed himself Reich commissioner for Prussia
Prussia
and took control of the government. The _Preußenschlag_ made it easier, only half a year later, for Hitler to take power decisively in Germany, since he had the whole apparatus of the Prussian government, including the police, at his disposal.

END OF PRUSSIA

Former eastern territories of Germany
Germany
lost in World War I
World War I
and II are shown in grey and black, respectively. Present-day Germany
Germany
is marked red on this 1914 map. Map of current states of Germany that are completely or mostly situated inside the old borders of Imperial Germany
Germany
's Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg

After the appointment of Hitler as the new chancellor, the Nazis used the absence of Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
as an opportunity to appoint Hermann Göring federal commissioner for the Prussian ministry of the interior. The Reichstag election of 5 March 1933 strengthened the position of the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
, although they did not achieve an absolute majority.

The Reichstag building having been set on fire a few weeks earlier on 27 February, a new Reichstag was opened in the Garrison Church of Potsdam
Potsdam
on 21 March 1933 in the presence of President Paul von Hindenburg . In a propaganda-filled meeting between Hitler and the Nazi Party, the "marriage of old Prussia
Prussia
with young Germany" was celebrated, to win over the Prussian monarchists, conservatives and nationalists and induce them to vote for the Enabling Act of 1933
Enabling Act of 1933
.

In the centralised state created by the Nazis in the "Law on the Reconstruction of the Reich" ("Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reichs", 30 January 1934) and the "Law on Reich Governors " ("Reichsstatthaltergesetz", 30 January 1935) the states were dissolved, in fact if not in law. The federal state governments were now controlled by governors for the Reich who were appointed by the chancellor. Parallel to that, the organisation of the party into districts (_Gaue _) gained increasing importance, as the official in charge of a _Gau_ (the head of which was called a _ Gauleiter
Gauleiter
_) was again appointed by the chancellor who was at the same time chief of the Nazi Party.

In Prussia, this centralistic policy went even further. From 1934 almost all ministries were merged and only a few departments were able to maintain their independence. Hitler himself became formally the governor of Prussia. His functions were exercised, however, by Hermann Göring as Prussian prime minister.

As provided for in the " Greater Hamburg Act " ("Groß-Hamburg-Gesetz"), certain exchanges of territory took place. Prussia
Prussia
was extended on 1 April 1937, for instance, by the incorporation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Lübeck
.

The Prussian lands transferred to Poland
Poland
after the Treaty of Versailles were re-annexed during World War II
World War II
. However, most of this territory was not reintegrated back into Prussia
Prussia
but assigned to separate _Gaue_ of Danzig- West Prussia
West Prussia
and Wartheland
Wartheland
.

As part of their war aims the Western allies sought the abolition of Prussia
Prussia
. Stalin was initially content to retain the name, Russia having a different historical view of its neighbour and sometime former ally. In Law No. 46 of 25 February 1947 the Allied Control Council formally proclaimed the dissolution of Prussia.

In the Soviet occupation zone
Soviet occupation zone
, which became East Germany (officially, the German Democratic Republic) in 1949, the former Prussian territories were reorganised into the states of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt
, with the remaining parts of the Province of Pomerania going to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
. These states were _de facto_ abolished in 1952 in favour of _Bezirke _ (districts), but were recreated after German reunification
German reunification
in 1990.

The areas east of the Soviet occupation zone, mainly Eastern Prussia, Western Prussia, and Silesia
Silesia
were handed over to Poland
Poland
due to the 1945 Treaty of Potsdam
Potsdam
between three of the Allies, the U.S., the UK, and the USSR. This included Danzig, Königsberg, Breslau, and Stettin. The population fled , mostly to the Western zones, or was driven out. The number of casualties is estimated 2 to 4 million, including those who fled the Soviet army during the last months of the war before the 1945 Treaty.

In the Western Zones of occupation , which became West Germany (officially, the Federal Republic of Germany) in 1949, the former Prussian territories were divided up among North Rhine- Westphalia
Westphalia
, Lower Saxony, Hesse
Hesse
, Rhineland-Palatinate and Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
. Württemberg- Baden
Baden
and Württemberg-Hohenzollern
Württemberg-Hohenzollern
were later merged with Baden
Baden
to create the state of Baden- Württemberg
Württemberg
. The Saar region, which had been administered by the French as a protectorate separate from the rest of Western Germany, was admitted to the Federal Republic of Germany
Germany
as a separate state in 1956 following a plebiscite.

NOTES

* ^ tacitus.nu * ^ Christopher Clark, _Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947_ (2006) is the standard history. * ^ The various stages of transformation and dissolution of old Prussia
Prussia
1871–1947 describes Golo Mann : _Das Ende Preußens_ (in German), in: Hans-Joachim Netzer (Hrsg.): _Preußen. Portrait einer politischen Kultur_, Munich 1968, p. 135–165 (in German). See also another perspective by Andreas Lawaty : _Das Ende Preußens in polnischer Sicht: Zur Kontinuität negativer Wirkungen der preußischen Geschichte auf die deutsch-polnischen Beziehungen_, de Gruyter, Berlin
Berlin
1986, ISBN 3-11009-936-5 . (in German) * ^ Allied Control Council
Allied Control Council
Enactment No. 46 of 25 February 1947 (in French) * ^ Fueter, Eduard (1922). _World history, 1815–1920_. United States of America: Harcourt, Brace and Company. pp. 25–28, 36–44. ISBN 1-58477-077-5 . * ^ Danilovic, Vesna. _When the Stakes Are High—Deterrence and Conflict among Major Powers_, University of Michigan Press (2002), p 27, p225–228 * ^ _Aping the Great Powers: Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great
and the Defence of Prussia\'s International Position 1763–86_, pp. 286–307. * ^ The Rise of Prussia * ^ H. W. Koch, _A History of Prussia_ (1978) p. 35. * ^ Robert S. Hoyt Ilja Mieck; Wolfgang Neugebauer (1992). Otto Büsch, ed. _Handbuch der preussischen Geschichte_ (in German). 2. Berlin: de Gruyter. p. 42. ISBN 978-3-11-008322-4 . * ^ Christopher Clark, "Confessional policy and the limits of state action: Frederick William III and the Prussian Church Union 1817–40." _Historical Journal_ 39.#4 (1996) pp: 985–1004. in JSTOR * ^ Thomas Nipperdey, _ Germany
Germany
from Napoleon
Napoleon
to Bismarck: 1800–1866_ (Princeton University Press, 2014) p 356 * ^ Helmut Walser Smith, ed.. _Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany, 1800–1914_ (Bloomsbury Academic, 2001) * ^ Grundriss der Statistik. II. Gesellschaftsstatistik by Wilhelm Winkler, p. 36 * ^ Hajo Holborn, _History of Modern Germany: 1648–1840_ 2:274 * ^ _A_ _B_ Kotulla (2008), p. 262 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Kotulla (2008), p. 263 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Duchhardt (2006), p. 101 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Kotulla (2008), p. 265 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ Kotulla (2008), p. 267 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Kotulla (2008), p. 266 * ^ Duchhardt (2006), p. 108 * ^ Kotulla (2008), p. 269 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Kotulla (2008), p. 270 * ^ Edward Henry Lewinski Corwin Lewinski-Corwin, Edward Henry (1917). _A History of Prussia_. New York: The Polish Book Importing Company. p. 628. * ^ Robert S. Hoyt and Stanley Chodorow (1976) _Europe in the Middle Ages_. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-524712-3 p. 629. * ^ Daniel Stone, _A History of East Central Europe_, (2001), p. 30 * ^ H. W. Koch, _A History of Prussia_ p. 33. * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_ ch 4 * ^ H. W. Koch, _A History of Prussia_ pp. 100–102. * ^ Robert B. Asprey, _Frederick the Great: The Magnificent Enigma_ (1986) pp. 34–35. * ^ Koch, _A History of Prussia_, p. 105. * ^ Robert A. Kahn, A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526–1918 (1974) p. 96. * ^ Asprey, _Frederick the Great: the Magnificent Enigma_, pp. 195–208. * ^ Hermann Kinder & Werner Hilgermann, _The Anchor Atlas of World History: Volume 1_ (1974) pp. 282–283. * ^ James K. Pollock & Homer Thomas, _Germany: In Power and Eclipse_ (1952) pp. 297–302. * ^ Marshall Dill, Jr., _Germany: A Modern History_ (1970) p. 39. * ^ _A_ _B_ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_ ch 7 * ^ Hans-Christof Kraus. _Kultur, Bildung und Wissenschaft im 19. Jahrhundert_. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2008, p. 90 * ^ _A_ _B_ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_ ch 12 * ^ _A_ _B_ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_ ch 11 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_ ch 10 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_ ch 13–14 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_ ch 14 * ^ Rainer Fremdling, "Freight Rates and State Budget: The Role of the National Prussian Railways 1880–1913," _Journal of European Economic History_, Spring 1980, Vol. 9#1 pp 21–40 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_, pp 620–24 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_, pp 630–39 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_, p 652 * ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John _The Nemesis of Power_, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 253. * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_, pp 647–48 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_, pp. 655–70 * ^ Clark, _Iron Kingdom_, pp. 670–82

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Clark, Christopher . _Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947_ (2009), a standard scholarly history ISBN 978-0-7139-9466-7 * Duchhardt, Heinz (2006). "Friedrich Wilhelm, der Große Kurfürst (1640–1688)". In Kroll, Frank-Lothar. _Preußens Herrscher. Von den ersten Hohenzollern bis Wilhelm II_ (in German). Beck. pp. 95–112. ISBN 3-406-54129-1 . * Koch, H. W. _History of Prussia_ (1987) ISBN 0-582-48190-2 * Kotulla, Michael (1 January 2008). _Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte: vom Alten Reich bis Weimar (1495–1934)_. Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-48705-0 . Retrieved 11 December 2011.

FURTHER READING

* Avraham, Doron (Oct 2008). "The Social and Religious Meaning of Nationalism: The Case of Prussian Conservatism
Conservatism
1815–1871". _European History Quarterly_ (38#4): 525–550. * Barraclough, Geoffrey (1947). _The Origins of Modern Germany_ (2d ed.). , covers medieval period * Carroll, E. Malcolm. _ Germany
Germany
and the great powers, 1866-1914: A study in public opinion and foreign policy_ (1938) online; online at Questia also online review; 862pp; written for advanced students. * Friedrich, Karin (2000). _The Other Prussia. Royal Prussia, Poland and Liberty, 1569–1772_. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-58335-0 . online review * Friedrich, Karin. _Brandenburg-Prussia, 1466–1806: The Rise of a Composite State_ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); 157pp. Emphasis on historiography. * Haffner, Sebastian (1998). _The Rise and Fall of Prussia_. * Holborn, Hajo. _A History of Modern Germany
Germany
(3 vol 1959–64); col 1: The Reformation; vol 2: 1648–1840_. 3.1840–1945. * Horn, David Bayne. _Great Britain and Europe in the eighteenth century_ (1967) covers 1603–1702; pp 144–77 for Prussia; pp 178–200 for other Germany; 111-43 for Austria * Jeep, John M. (2001). _Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia_. * Koch, H. W. (1987). _History of Prussia_. – a short scholarly history. * Maehl, William Harvey (1979). _ Germany
Germany
in Western Civilization_. * Nipperdey, Thomas. _ Germany
Germany
from Napoleon
Napoleon
to Bismarck: 1800–1866_ (1996). excerpt * Reinhardt, Kurt F. (1961). _Germany: 2000 Years_. 2 vols. , stress on cultural topics * Shennan, M. (1997). _The Rise of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
Prussia_. * Taylor, A. J. P. (2001). _The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History since 1815_. * Treasure, Geoffrey. _The Making of Modern Europe, 1648–1780_ (3rd ed. 2003). pp 427-462. * Wheeler, Nicholas C. (Oct 2011). "The Noble Enterprise of State Building Reconsidering the Rise and Fall of the Modem State in Prussia and Poland". _Comparative Politics_ (44#1): 21–38.

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to PRUSSIA _.

* Preussen.de (website of the House of Hohenzollern
House of Hohenzollern
). * (in German) Preußen-Chronik.de * Administrators of Prussian provinces * Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation website

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