Kingdom of Prussia

Kingdom of Prussia
Königreich Preußen
Anthem: Preußenlied
"Song of Prussia"
Royal anthem:
"Heil dir im Siegerkranz"
"Hail to thee in the Victor's Crown"
The Kingdom of Prussia within the German Empire between 1871 and 1918
The Kingdom of Prussia within the German Empire between 1871 and 1918
Common languagesOfficial:
Protestantism -Official-[1] (Lutheran and Calvinist; since 1817 Prussian United)
• 1701–1713 (first)
Frederick I
• 1888–1918 (last)
Wilhelm II
• 1848 (first)
Adolf Heinrich
• 1918 (last)
Max von Baden
Historical era
18 January 1701
14 October 1806
9 June 1815
5 December 1848
18 January 1871
28 November 1918
28 June 1919
1871[2]348,779 km2 (134,664 sq mi)
• 1756[3]
• 1816[2]
• 1871[2]
• 1910[4]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Holy Roman Empire
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Duchy of Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia.svg Brandenburg-Prussia
Royal Prussia
Free City of Danzig
Swedish Pomerania
Electorate of Hesse
Free City of Frankfurt
Duchy of Nassau
Kingdom of Hanover
Duchy of Holstein
Duchy of Schleswig
Duchies of Silesia
Free State of Prussia
Free City of Danzig
Second Polish Republic
Weimar Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic
Arms of Brandenburg.svg
Arms of East Prussia.svg

History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
965 – 983
Old Prussians
pre – 13th century
Lutician federation
983 – 12th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157 – 1618 (1806) (HRE)
(Bohemia 1373 – 1415)
Teutonic Order
1224 – 1525
(Polish fief 1466 – 1525)
Duchy of Prussia
1525 – 1618 (1701)
(Polish fief 1525 – 1657)
Royal (Polish) Prussia (Poland)
1454/1466 – 1772
1618 – 1701
Kingdom in Prussia
1701 – 1772
Kingdom of Prussia
1772 – 1918
Free State of Prussia (Germany)
1918 – 1947
Klaipėda Region
1920 – 1939 / 1945 – present
Recovered Territories
1918/1945 – present
1947 – 1952 / 1990 – present
Kaliningrad Oblast
1945 – present

The Kingdom of Prussia (German: Königreich Preußen, pronounced [ˌkøːnɪkʁaɪ̯ç ˈpʁɔɪ̯sn̩] (listen)) was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918.[5] It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918.[5] Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Its capital was Berlin.[6]

The kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern. Brandenburg-Prussia, predecessor of the kingdom, became a military power under Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, known as "The Great Elector".[7][8][9][10] As a kingdom, Prussia continued its rise to power, especially during the reign of Frederick II, more commonly known as Frederick the Great, who was the third son of Frederick William I.[11] Frederick the Great was instrumental in starting the Seven Years' War (1756–63), holding his own against Austria, Russia, France and Sweden and establishing Prussia's role in the German states, as well as establishing the country as a European great power.[12] After the might of Prussia was revealed, it was considered as a major power among the German states. Throughout the next hundred years Prussia went on to win many battles, and many wars.[13] Because of its power, Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states (excluding the German cantons in Switzerland) under its rule, and whether Austria would be included in such a unified German domain was an ongoing question.

After the Napoleonic Wars led to the creation of the German Confederation, the issue of unifying the German states caused a number of revolutions throughout the German states, with all states wanting to have their own constitution.[5] Attempts to create a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful member states, Prussia and Austria. The North German Confederation, which lasted from 1867 to 1871, created a closer union between the Prussian-aligned states while Austria and most of Southern Germany remained independent.[5] The North German Confederation was seen as more of an alliance of military strength in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War but many of its laws were later used in the German Empire. The German Empire lasted from 1871 to 1918 with the successful unification of all the German states aside from Austria under Prussian hegemony;[5] this was due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. The war united all the German states against a common enemy, and with the victory came an overwhelming wave of nationalism which changed the opinions of some of those who had been against unification. In 1871, Germany unified into a single country, minus Austria and Switzerland, with Prussia the dominant power.[5]

Prussia is considered the legal predecessor of the unified German Reich (1871–1945) and as such a direct ancestor of today's Federal Republic of Germany.[5] The formal abolition of Prussia, carried out on 25 February 1947 by the Allied Control Council, referred to a tradition of the kingdom as a bearer of militarism and reaction, and made way for the current setup of the German states. However, the Free State of Prussia (Freistaat Preußen), which followed the abolition of the Kingdom of Prussia in the aftermath of World War I, was a major democratic force in Weimar Germany until the nationalist coup of 1932 known as the Preußenschlag.[citation needed] The Kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK)), which has become one of the largest cultural organisations in the world.[14]

  1. ^ E. Alvis, Robert (2005). Religion and the Rise of Nationalism: A Profile of an East-Central European City. Syracuse University Press. p. 133. ISBN 9780815630814.
  2. ^ a b "Königreich Preußen (1701–1918)" (in German). Retrieved 2007-05-02.
  3. ^ Ernest John Knapton. "Revolutionary and Imperial France, 1750-1815." Scribner: 1971. Page 12.
  4. ^ "German Empire: administrative subdivision and municipalities, 1900 to 1910" (in German). Retrieved 2007-05-02.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Marriott, J. A. R., and Charles Grant Robertson. The Evolution of Prussia, the Making of an Empire. Rev. ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1946.
  6. ^ "Prussia | History, Maps, & Definition". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Danilovic, Vesna. "When the Stakes Are High—Deterrence and Conflict among Major Powers", University of Michigan Press (2002), p 27, p225–228
  9. ^ [1][dead link] Aping the Great Powers: Frederick the Great and the Defence of Prussia's International Position 1763–86, Pp. 286–307.
  10. ^ [2] The Rise of Prussia Archived June 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Horn, D. B. "The Youth of Frederick the Great 1712–30." In Frederick the Great and the Rise of Prussia, 9–10. 3rd ed. London: English Universities Press, 1964.
  12. ^ Horn, D. B. "The Seven Years' War." In Frederick the Great and the Rise of Prussia, pp. 81–101. 3rd ed. London: English Universities Press, 1964.
  13. ^ Atkinson, C. T. A History of Germany, 1715–1815. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1969.
  14. ^ Langels, Otto: "Constitutional Reality: 50 years of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation", in German, Deutschlandradio, 25 July 2007