Theme-Park Prussia

David Blackbourn

  • Prussia: The Perversion of an Idea by Giles MacDonogh
    Sinclair-Stevenson, 456 pp, £20.00, July 1994, ISBN 1 85619 267 9

In 1947, the Allied Control Commission pronounced the death of Prussia, symbol of militarism and knee-jerk obedience, and alleged progenitor of Nazism. It has stayed dead. The GDR was never, as some liked to believe, the continuation of Prussia by other means. Junker estates were broken up, and Prussia was distributed among the Poles and Russians as well as the Germans. Recent events are unlikely to change any of that. Restitution of property almost certainly does not apply to the former estates, and the Oder-Neisse line is fixed. Leningrad may have become St Petersburg again, but Wroclaw will not revert to Breslau. Meanwhile, the Hohenzollerns have much less chance of staging a comeback than several Ruritanian dynasties with an equally grubby record. Lord Vansittart and A.J.P. Taylor can rest easily in their graves.

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