The Protestant Reformation in the early to mid s saw most Prussians convert to Protestantism whereas Poland remained, and still remains, solidly Roman Catholic. In Ducal Prussia became a hereditary duchy under Albrecht Hohenzollern, the last grand master of the Teutonic Knights. In , after an invasion by the Swedes, Poland surrendered sovereignty over Ducal Prussia which then became the Kingdom of Prussia headed by the Hohenzollern line.
A major event in German history was the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War in , making Germany a world power. The first part of the book examines the early years of Prussia— from its rise from a minor duchy to a major European power under Frederick the Great, to its struggles with France during the Napoleonic era. Most of the book however, is dedicated to the formation of the German Empire under Bismarck which made Prussia the predominant power in Europe.
It ends with a detailed description of the Franco-Prussian war and the calamity of the Paris Commune, which occurred only a year before the book was written. It is less than two hundred years since the petty Marquisate of Branden burg and the little Duchy of Prussia were united in a kingdom. Prussia, as thus constituted, was so insignificant a realm in territory and population as quite to excite the contempt of the proud monarchs of Europe. England, France, Austria, and Russia were by no means disposed to admit the newly. Prussia is now recognized not only as one of the great powers, but as, probably, the first military power in Europe.
The steps by which this greatness has been attained constitute one of the most interesting chapters in the history of modern times. Prussia is the representative, not of liberalism, but of absolutism. It has been under the banner of despotic sway that most of its victories have been achieved. Prussia now presents to the world the somewhat appalling spectacle of a nation of forty millions, in which every able-bodied man is a trained soldier.
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Ducal Prussia and the Kingdom of Prussia, to 1786
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Who was the first king of Rome? What does enervate mean? What is a parvenu? Is salubrity somehow related to being famous? Do capers have something to do with cops? What's the difference between a soliloquy and a monologue? What's a pandybat? Does the word inexorable have something to do with driving demons out of a person? Do people who prognosticate have some sort of special power? What is a hegemony, from James Joyce's Ulysses? What are fallow fields? I'm a city gal who heard the term at a 4-H fair and just read it in Anna Karenina. What's the difference between parody and satire?
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Are the Prussians history's greatest villains?
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CONFLICTING VIEWS OF EARLY MODERN PRUSSIA
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