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Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947. CClark (2008)

April 15, 2014

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“The strength of provincial attachments and the corresponding feebleness of Prussia as a locus of collective identity has remained one of the most striking features of the state’s afterlife since 1947. It is remarkable, for example, how inconspicuous Prussia has been in the official rhetoric of the organizations formed in West Germany after the Second World War to represent the interests of the 10 million expellees who were forced to leave the East-Elbian provinces at the end of the Second World War. The refugees defined themselves, by and large, not as Prussians, but as East Prussians, Upper or Lower Silesians, Pomeranians; there were also organizations representing the Masurians from the Polish-speaking southern districts of East Prussia, the Salzburgers of Prussian Lithuania (descendants of the communities of Protestant refugees from Salzburg who were resettled to the Prussian east in the early 1730s) and various other sub-regional groups. But there has been little evidence of a shared ‘Prussian’ identity and surprisingly little collaboration and exchange between the different groups. In this sense the expellee movement has tended to reflect the composite, highly regionalized character of the old Prussian state.”

[op. cit., pp. 685-686]

Manuel J. Matos‘s insight:

How did Prussia, a non existent country, became the black sheep of Europe? An abstract entity that took the blame for errors made by others? Something to read about, as it is an important piece of knowledge in current European affairs.

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