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. Prussia nationalised its railways in the s 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 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. Prussia was proclaimed a "Free State" i. Freistaat within the new Weimar Republic and in 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: Also, the Saargebiet was created mainly from formerly Prussian territories.
East Prussia became an exclave, only reachable by ship the Sea Service East Prussia or by a railway through the Polish corridor.
Prussian Cultural Heritage - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
With the abolition of the older Prussian franchise, it became a stronghold of the left. Its incorporation of "Red Berlin" and the industrialised Ruhr Area, both with working class majorities, ensured left-wing dominance. From to , Prussia was governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats , Catholic Centre and German Democrats ; from to , coalition governments included the German People's Party.
Unlike in other states of the German Reich, majority rule by democratic parties in Prussia was never endangered. Nevertheless, in East Prussia and some industrial areas, the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler gained more and more influence and popular support, especially from the lower middle class starting in However, the democratic parties in coalition remained a majority, while Communists and Nazis were in the opposition.
The East Prussian Otto Braun , who was Prussian minister-president almost continuously from to , 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 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 as a whole. In contrast to its pre-war authoritarianism, Prussia was a pillar of democracy in the Weimar Republic. 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 on 21 March in the presence of President Paul von Hindenburg. In a propaganda-filled meeting between Hitler and the Nazi Party, the "marriage of old Prussia with young Germany" was celebrated, to win over the Prussian monarchists, conservatives and nationalists and induce them into supporting and subsequently voting in favor of the Enabling Act of 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 was again appointed by the chancellor who was at the same time chief of the Nazi Party. This centralistic policy went even further in Prussia. From to , almost all ministries were merged and only a few departments were able to maintain their independence.
Hitler himself became formally the governor of Prussia. However, most of this territory was not reintegrated back into Prussia but assigned to separate Gaue of Danzig-West Prussia and Wartheland during much of the duration of the war. As part of their wartime goals, the Western allies sought the abolition of Prussia. Stalin was initially content to retain the name, Russia having a different historical view of its neighbour and sometime former ally.
In the Soviet occupation zone , which became East Germany officially, the German Democratic Republic in , the former Prussian territories were reorganised into the states of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt , with the remaining parts of the Province of Pomerania going to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
These states were de facto abolished in in favour of Bezirke districts , but were recreated after German reunification in The areas east of the Soviet occupation zone, mainly Eastern Prussia, Western Prussia, and Silesia, were ceded over to Poland in due to the Treaty of Potsdam between three of the Allies: 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 treaty from. 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 as a separate state in following a plebiscite. One year later, in , the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation was established and implemented by federal statutes in West Germany in response to a ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.
The fundamental goal of this institution is protecting the cultural legacy of Prussia. It continues to operate from its headquarters in Berlin to this very day. In the midth century the margraves of Brandenburg had become highly dependent on the Estates representing counts, lords, knights, and towns, but not prelates, due to the Protestant Reformation in Until after the Thirty Years' War , the various territories of Brandenburg-Prussia remained politically independent from each other,   connected only by the common feudal superior.
Frederick William I's excise tax Akzise , which from replaced the property tax raised in Brandenburg for Brandenburg-Prussia's standing army with the Estates' consent, was raised by the elector without consultation with the Estates. The Kingdom of Prussia functioned as an absolute monarchy until the Revolutions of in the German states , after which Prussia became a constitutional monarchy and Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg was elected [ by whom?
Prussia's first constitution dated from The Prussian Constitution established a two-chamber parliament. The lower house, or Landtag represented all taxpayers, who were divided into three classes according to the amount of taxes paid. The Prussian Secret Police , formed in response to the Revolutions of in the German states , aided the conservative government. Unlike its authoritarian pre predecessor, Prussia from to was a promising democracy within Germany.
The abolition of the political power of the aristocracy transformed Prussia into a region strongly dominated by the left wing of the political spectrum, with "Red Berlin" and the industrial centre of the Ruhr Area exerting major influence. During this period a coalition of centre-left parties ruled, predominantly under the leadership — of East Prussian Social Democrat Otto Braun. While in office Braun implemented several reforms together with his Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing that became models for the later Federal Republic of Germany.
For instance, a Prussian prime minister could only be forced out of office if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor [ citation needed ]. This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence , became part of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Most [ quantify ] historians regard the Prussian government during the s as far more successful than that of Germany as a whole. Similar to other German states both now and at the time , executive power remained vested in a Minister-President of Prussia and in laws established by a Landtag elected by the people.
In , Prussia's population numbered The Duchy of Prussia was the first state to officially adopt Lutheranism in In the wake of the Reformation , Prussia was dominated by two major Protestant confessions: The majority of the Prussian population was Lutheran, although there were dispersed Reformed minorities in central and western parts of the state especially Brandenburg , Rhineland , Westphalia and Hesse-Nassau. Lutherans and Reformed congregations all over the kingdom were merged in by the Prussian Union of churches , which came under tight royal control.
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.
Prussian monarchs, beginning with Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg opened the country to the fleeing French Calvinist refugees.
Prussian Cultural Heritage - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
In Berlin, they built and worshipped at their own church called the French Cathedral on Gendarmenmarkt. Time passed by, and the French Reformed assimilated into the wider Protestant community in Prussia. After , Prussia contained millions of Roman Catholics in the west and in the east. There were substantial populations in the Rhineland , parts of Westphalia , eastern parts of Silesia , West Prussia , Ermland and the Province of Posen. During the 19th-century Kulturkampf , Prussian Catholics were forbidden from fulfilling any official functions for the state and were largely distrusted.
Prussia contained a relatively large Jewish community, which was mostly concentrated in large urban areas. According to the census, it was the biggest one in Germany with , individuals. In , approximately 2. Also, the southeast portion of 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 in , the Second Polish Republic was granted not only these two areas, but also areas with a German majority in the Province of West Prussia.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Prussia disambiguation. Not to be confused with Russia.
For the extinct Baltic language, see Old Prussian language. For the extant inland Germanic language, see High Prussian dialect. For the extant coastal Germanic language, see Low Prussian dialect. Prussian eagle — Right: Prussia in blue at its peak as the leading state of the German Empire. Roman Catholic , Jewish. For more information, see individual Prussian state articles links in above History section.
Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. German revolutions of — Free State of Prussia. Territory lost after World War I.
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Territory lost after World War II. Hohenzollern residence in Berlin. The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, — is the standard history. Portrait einer politischen Kultur , Munich , p. See also another perspective by Andreas Lawaty: United States of America: Harcourt, Brace and Company. To protect them from Allied bombing , millions of items were evacuated to relative safety in monasteries, castles and abandoned mines around Germany starting in With the collapse of the Third Reich in , many of these collections wound up damaged, destroyed, or variously hidden in the Allied occupation zones.
All the former Prussian institutions ceased to officially exist when the State of Prussia was abolished in , placing these assets in further doubt. As Germany became divided into West and East , what remained of the buildings and scattered collections were also separated by the Iron Curtain.
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation began in by a West German constitutional mandate to find and preserve the collections still stored throughout the former western occupation zones. In , efforts began to move these materials to West Berlin. Upon German Reunification in , the Foundation's role expanded considerably to encompass many of the most important cultural properties of the former East Germany. The most important tasks today are in the consolidation of collections, reconstruction of physical space, conservation-restoration and Provenance research.
After Von der Heydt's death in the building became home to the first Chinese ambassador to Wilhelm II , who decorated its splendid rooms with valuable works of art. In the villa was bought by the Nazi government and used as an official residence by Hans Lammers , Cabinet Minister in the Reich Chancellery. The house was severely damaged in World War II , with only the basement and the outer walls remaining.
This primarily corresponded to scholarly interests. The collections acquired their encyclopedic and organic character in part due to the influence of Wilhelm von Humboldt — By contrast, the influence of the natural scientist Alexander von Humboldt — represents the gaze outwards. He is considered the spiritual father of collecting activity directed at the non-European realm. Interest in non-European cultures, ideas and traditions increased from the mid-nineteenth century onwards and decisively shaped the collecting activity.
The extensive excavations by the museums helped the archaeological collections to grow continuously. Scientific expeditions in all parts of the globe brought non-European art and culture to Berlin. The Prussian state had a number of architecturally outstanding buildings constructed for its collections. From to the Museumsinsel acquired its still fascinating form with its five buildings. At the time, it was the largest library building in the world.