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View Full Version : What ever happened to Prussia?


Kami_Bum
10-11-2000, 08:35 PM
I think they were affiliated w/ Germany in WW2, but after the war, what happened to this nation? Is it still around today?

threemae
10-11-2000, 08:41 PM
Iran happened.

ricksummon
10-11-2000, 08:47 PM
Um, I think Iran used to be Persia, not Prussia.

BobT
10-11-2000, 08:50 PM
Prussia can now be found on your map in Germany and Poland.

The only person who is trying to contact a Prussian is Mr. Burns.

astorian
10-11-2000, 09:06 PM
Prussia was the largest and most powerful German state during the 18th and 19th centuries. Under the leadership of Bismarck, Prussia defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), and then essentially absorbed the rest of the German states into the new empire of Germany. Prussia's king Wilhelm became Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.

JRDelirious
10-11-2000, 09:23 PM
PRUSSIA, not "Persia," threemae

"East Prussia", the NE-most bit of old Germany right next to Lithuania, was split between Poland & Russia after WWII. Those surviving inhabitants that had not yet fled as refugees were mostly displaced into Germany.

Other-than-East Prussia was really Brandenburg, Pomerania, Mecklenburg(?) and several other German states which had been ruled by the Prussian crown from the 1600's to WWI. After WWI the kingdom of Prussia (the dominant state of the Empire) was divided into various states of the German Republic.

Polycarp
10-11-2000, 10:13 PM
Except that there's always more....

The Margraves of Brandenburg, the Hohenzollern Dynasty, were anxious to become kings, not merely margraves. So they proceeded to conquer the Old Prussians, who were Balts related to the Latvians and Lithuanians. As a distinct nationality, the Old Prussians were entitled by the standards of the day to have a king, where Brandenburg, being a relatively small piece of the German states, was not. (This is boiling down a rather complex bit of history.) So the Hohenzollerns became Kings in Prussia (there being an attitude that since the Old Prussians had not had a king, they couldn't become Kings of Prussia -- but they adopted that title a couple of decades later, when the novelty had worn off.

Old Prussia was more or less the same as what was East Prussia between the World Wars. Brandenburg was approximately central East Germany before reunification, with various bits and pieces extending out from it.

Later Prussia absorbed great parts of modern Germany and Poland, becoming a state stretching from Lithuania to the Rhine, and, as noted, the largest of the German states. It was abolished in 1945.

Little Nemo
10-11-2000, 10:49 PM
Another factor that led to the dissolution of Prussia was the forced de-Germanization of the region after 1945. The Soviets basically told most of the ethnic Germans living in Eastern Prussia to start walking west. Eastern Prussia was then absorbed into Poland, Russia, and Lithuania.

AM/PM
10-11-2000, 10:53 PM
What happened to Prussian? Do people still speak it? Publish in it? Or is it one of the minor Dead languages that are only studied to translate rare books?

LazarusLong42
10-11-2000, 10:56 PM
I'm pretty sure there never was such a language as "Prussian," just as there is no "Swiss" language, though I'm sure both countries had/have idiomatic bits of their own that distinguish their dialect from plain ol' German.

LL

Floater
10-12-2000, 07:24 AM
Originally posted by LazarusLong42
I'm pretty sure there never was such a language as "Prussian," just as there is no "Swiss" language, though I'm sure both countries had/have idiomatic bits of their own that distinguish their dialect from plain ol' German.

LL

The Prussian language is/was a Baltic language related to Latvian and Lithuanian.

Ringo
10-12-2000, 08:02 AM
'Twas said of Prussia that, while many countries had an army, Prussia was an army that had a country.

divemaster
10-12-2000, 09:48 AM
My ancestry is Prussian. Gerret von Divemaster came to the US in 1647, and had 4 sons. All US Divemasters can be traced back to one of the sons. My lineage is through the 4th (youngest).

My family is very organized, efficient, and punctual!

SuaSponte
10-12-2000, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by divemaster
My ancestry is Prussian. Gerret von Divemaster came to the US in 1647, and had 4 sons. All US Divemasters can be traced back to one of the sons. My lineage is through the 4th (youngest).

My family is very organized, efficient, and punctual!

Yeah, divemaster? Well, I am directly descended, on my mother's side, from the hereditary court musicians of Schleswig-Holstein!!

While most of my family aren't deeply involved with music, we have the most lyrical accents!

Sua

Sledman
10-12-2000, 10:26 AM
Originally posted by beatle
'Twas said of Prussia that, while many countries had an army, Prussia was an army that had a country.

BAM! Hit the nail square on the head!

Part of the reason the Prussia was split following WWI was the fact that the rest of Europe feared the Prussian Military Mind and Machine. So when it came down to "self determination" of people the Prussians got the short end of the stick and were split between several countries.

TheThill
10-12-2000, 10:46 AM
Just to eliminate some confusion:

Old Prussian is the name given to a Baltic language (only directly related to today's Lithuanian and Latvian) spoken in the region around the SE-Baltic.

When the Hanseatic Germans invaded in the Middle Ages, they eventually displaced the old language with their Low German (Plattdeutsch), while adapting the tribal name of the Baltic Prussians (a fair trade?).

Centuries later, the modern state of Prussia (Preussen)arose, still keeping the old Baltic name (although probably very few were aware of its origins by then).

The German speaking areas of Europe were divided into scores of states and ministates, but Prussia and Austria (actually more of a multi-ethnic empire than strictly German, although Prussia also included other ethnicities) both gained in size and power until Prussia eventually won out in wars in the 1860's and managed to unite most of the German-speaking world under its hegemony in 1871. many of the other German states (Saxony, Wuerttemberg, Bavaria...) kept a limited soveriegnty, however, until the end of WWI, when all the kingdoms, duchys, and other noble entities were done away with in the democratic revolution.

During the Weimar Republic period (1919-1933) Prussia was just one of the constituent states, and when the Nazis came to power in 1933, they did away with nearly all of the internal autonomy. After WWII, Prussia was in fact abolished by the allies, who were quite happy to be rid of it.

Today, Prussia (Preussen) is still used colloquially to mean the northeastern part of German, including Berlin, and is used to contrast (and insult) their "punctual, cold" culture with that of the (sometimes) more relaxed southern and central Germans.

Guinastasia
10-12-2000, 03:43 PM
Schleswig-Holstein! Did you know that the last Kaiserin was from that region?

LOL
My family is from Alsace Lorraine and somewhere on the German/Austrian border.
Before it was part of France, where was Alsace Lorraine? I'm thinking Baden, since that's where it looked to be near...

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-12-2000, 07:14 PM
Prussia became Germany. There were only "german states" before Prussia. After the takeover, there was GERMANY! (cringe when you say it schweinhund!)

They've been a damn nuisance ever since.

Montfort
10-12-2000, 11:09 PM
I'm from King of Prussia, PA, a suburb of Philly, which was named after the Inn (http://www.kingofprussiachamber.com/index.html) in the center of town three hundred years ago. Apparently, the Prussian mercenaries in the area frequented the Inn.

This summer, the Inn was moved a mile or so away, as US-202 is being widened at the intersection of the PA Tpke, which sits literally right on top of where the Inn stood for three hundred years.

TheThill
10-13-2000, 07:12 AM
Originally posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
Prussia became Germany. There were only "german states" before Prussia. After the takeover, there was GERMANY!
Actually, it was a unification process, and the other kingdoms, duchies, etc. kept their identities and regional governments as did Prussia.

(cringe when you say it schweinhund!)

Don't get the "cringe" reference, and the word is Schweinehund which nobody seems to ever say in real life, not recently, anyway.

They've been a damn nuisance ever since.
Who's they? If you are referring to the Nazi era that is horrendous understatement. If you're not, it's a terrible overgeneralization, or at best an unfounded opinion.

Little Nemo
10-13-2000, 11:38 AM
Bosda, next time you might want to consider closed captioning for the humor impaired.

momcat
10-13-2000, 11:50 AM
Hey, Guinastasia, my family (on my father's side) is from Alsace Lorraine, too. My middle name is even Lorraine. Just don't try and tell us we're from France!!

MomCat, German to the core and still ashamed of that "little unpleasantness" earlier this past century.

Guinastasia
10-13-2000, 12:00 PM
Hey, I'm not from France, either.
It was only CONTROLLED by the French after the Napoleonic wars, I think. But it was still German.

Prussia was a nuisance because of Kaiser Willy and Bismarck-what a Machiavellian tyrant!

Johanna
10-13-2000, 12:16 PM
The existence of post-Soviet Kaliningrad is an odd geographical anomaly, and what must ultimately become of it is a puzzle for which no one is offering an answer.

This little chip of territory the size of Connecticut is now part of the Russian Federation. The three Baltic states separate it from Russia proper. It was joined to Russia only as a result of World War II. For seven centuries previously, it had been a German state known as Königsberg. After the defeat of the Nazis, the Soviets expelled its German population, brought in some Soviet citizens to replace them, and renamed it Kaliningrad (after Kali, the Hindu black goddess of death, who drinks blood and wears a garland of skulls).

Although present-day Kaliningrad is geographically isolated from Russia to the east, the pre-WWII Koenigsberg was also isolated from Germany to the west. How did this isolated bit of Germany get to be in that location, between Poland and Lithuania? The history of the place was shaped by the Crusades in the faraway Middle East.

After the crusading knights were expelled from Palestine by Saladin in the 12th century, and they had to return to Europe, the Germans among them longed for further violent adventures, more booty to plunder, more territory to seize. The Saracens had proved too much for them, but away to the northeast was Lithuania--the last pagan country in Europe. The former crusaders could carry the battle for the Cross into Lithuania. So they formed the Order of the Teutonic Knights and attacked. The Lithuanians were hardy fighters too, and the fortunes of battle went now this way, now that. In the 14th century, the Grand Duke of Lithuania was baptized, and his realm became Christian. This did not deter the Teutonic Knights from continuing to attack. Eventually, though the greater part of Lithuania remained independent, the German crusaders were firmly implanted in a region of southwestern Lithuania, from which they could not be dislodged. They built castles, and their capital city they called Königsberg.

The region taken by the Teutonic Knights was known as East Prussia, but in fact the name of Prussia was of ancient Baltic origin. The Old Prussian language, now extinct, was closely related to Lithuanian and Latvian. The perspective of Lithuanian historians is that "Old Prussian" was actually just a southwest dialect of Lithuanian, but it appeared more different than it really was because it was put into writing by Germans who spelled it according to their system of orthography, which distorted it a bit.

Köningsberg went through the centuries as the northwestern outpost of the German people, renowned mainly for being the home of Immanuel Kant (whom the Lithuanians claim as one of their own), and the famous topographical puzzle of how to cross each of its seven bridges only once. During the times when the Germans conquered northern Poland, Köningsberg was contiguous with German territory, but during the times of Polish independence, it was cut off from the rest of Germany. Obviously this was a major incitement for German ambitions upon northern Poland. The town of Gdansk (called Danzig by the Germans) was awarded to Poland after World War I and, as it separated Königsberg from Germany once again, was made into a "casus belli" leading to the invasion of Poland which started World War II.

So now as a result of that war Russia occupies the northern part of the forlorn place (the southern part went to Poland), even though it had never been Russian at any time before. The rural regions of Kaliningrad are still largely depopulated, with former German farms overgrown and haunted by tumbledown barns. Some descendants of dispossessed Königsbergers have begun to trickle back there in the post-Soviet era. It doesn't make much sense to keep it as part of Russia, since the Russians are outsiders there, intruders. The question of what is to be the ultimate fate of Kaliningrad is a topic that people are reluctant to open. The big Russian naval base there means that Russia has an interest in holding on to it, but otherwise the place is of no special significance to Russia. The Russian navy could be moved back to St. Petersburg or someplace, and Kaliningrad reunited with Lithuania again, after 700 years. Geographically, it is a continuation of Lithuanian terrain, and long ago it was Lithuanian (or at least Balt) to begin with. With the Germans out, and the reason for the Russian intrusion obsolete, let it be returned to Lithuania. Then this confused bit of land would finally have come home again, and be settled where it belongs.

yabob
10-13-2000, 12:21 PM
Jaust a reference point - Kaliningrad, when it was part of East Prussia, was known as Konigsberg, the name by which you will find most historical references to the city. Currently, if you look at a map, Kaliningrad is in an odd bit of Russia separated from the rest of it by the Baltic States.

Yossarian
10-13-2000, 12:21 PM
During the Austria-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars of the late 1860's and early 1870's, the Prussian objective (as has been well established in previous posts) was to "unify" the German-speaking peoples into a unified Germany. The Austria-Prussian war rounded up most of them and placed them under Prussia's (as opposed to Austria's) sphere of influence. After Prussia/Germany took care of that matter, they invaded France (resulting in the Franco-Prussian war, ca. 1870-1), mostly to flex a little Prussian military muscle. While they were at it, King Willie decided to get a little more unification in on the side (while he was in the neighborhood) and "repatriate" the Germanic French folk of Alsace-Lorraine, the little notch of France that "V"'s into Germany. (Note: he did this against Bismark's advice.) Swiping a piece of France did nothing to help relations between the new German nation and France, of course, and some of this leftover bidness helped spark The Great War, after which France reclaimed Alsace-Lorraine.

That's the Cliff's Notes version, anyway.

And (to help endear myself to the Alsacian constituency on this board), several times en route from San Antonion to points west on Highway 90, I've driven through Castroville, the largest Alsacian settlement in Texas, where French/German buildings sit comfortably beside Mexican restaurants!

yabob
10-13-2000, 12:23 PM
Oh, I see a lengthy explanation arrived in the meantime. Never mind.

don willard
10-13-2000, 01:27 PM
I don't think Kaliningrad was named for the Hindu goddess Kali, about whom Europeans probably didn't even know back in the old days. Also, Konigsberg was called Konigsberg in honor of a prince or king who went there for some reason I forget, so the inhabitants named their town King's Fortress, or in German, Konigsberg. I loved the image of the abandoned farms all over the place, and weeds. Aren't some of the heirs trying to get these places back? And what about Swedish Pomerania, Istria, Regular Pomerania, and Ruthenia? Or should this be another thread? (Ruthenia was the birthplace of Andrew Warhola's parents). I think Ruthenia was a whole country at one point with a king even.

Olentzero
10-13-2000, 05:19 PM
Fyodor Ivanovich Kalinin (http://csf.colorado.edu/mirrors/marxists.org/archive/lunachar/works/silhouet/kalinin.htm), for whom Kaliningrad was most likely named.

Groundskeeper Willie
10-13-2000, 06:41 PM
Pantellerite wrote:After Prussia/Germany took care of that matter, they invaded France (resulting in the Franco-Prussian war, ca. 1870-1), mostly to flex a little Prussian military muscle.

It is true that this is the reason for the Franco-Prussian war most believed in English-speaking countries, but let's look at a few facts:

One, France declared war on Prussia, not the other way around. The immediate pretext for the war was the succession to the throne of Spain. France wanted Prussia to declare that no Prussian prince would ever ascend to that position; Prussia said 'no'. France announced that this was intolerable, and declared war on 19 July 1870. (Of course the real reason for the war was that Prussia was a rising, rapidly industrializing Power, and a potential threat to France's traditional role as hegemon of western and central Europe.)

Two, France invaded German soil long before Prussia attacked France. The first battle of the war was at Wiessenburg on 4 August. The French invasion was checked at Froschwiller on 6 August, and the Prussian counter-invasion was launched on 20 August, with a decisive defeat of the main French army at Sedan on 1 September.

How these events got twisted into the 'Prussian agressors' attacking peace-loving France, I leave as an excercise for the reader.

Bill

don willard
10-13-2000, 06:52 PM
Napoleon III, I read in a book, wanted to do things because he was an emperor. For instance he put the brother of the Austrian Emperor on the Throne of Mexico for no reason other than his own gloire. He just thought an emperor should do things, like most of these rulers. There are many other examples.

Captain Amazing
10-13-2000, 07:38 PM
Originally posted by Olentzero


Fyodor Ivanovich Kalinin (http://csf.colorado.edu/mirrors/marxists.org/archive/lunachar/works/silhouet/kalinin.htm), for whom Kaliningrad was most likely named.



Hmm...I had always thought it was named after Mikhail Kalinin, who was President of the Supreme Soviet during World War II (1938 to his death in 1946).

Yossarian
10-13-2000, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by Groundskeeper Willie

How these events got twisted into the 'Prussian agressors' attacking peace-loving France, I leave as an excercise for the reader.



Probably because in the end, they lost the two follow-ups to the Franco-Prussian war. Nonetheless, I stand corrected (and pleased to have learned a new thing or two). I suppose claiming a "Euro-centric" upbringing ain't gonna help me outta this one.

But note that everything else I said was true!

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
10-14-2000, 08:31 PM
For those of you fluent in German, Gunther Grass' novels contain many examples of Prussian German. It seems to have been another Low German dialect (i.e. Plattdeutsch).

I'm sorry to say I don't remember any of these examples.

Ringo
10-15-2000, 12:14 AM
Oh heck, as long as we're at it...

Were not the Franco-Prussian hostilities of the 1870s the worldwide launching party for the guns of Krupp?

TheThill
10-16-2000, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by javaman
For those of you fluent in German, Gunther Grass' novels contain many examples of Prussian German. It seems to have been another Low German dialect (i.e. Plattdeutsch).

I'm sorry to say I don't remember any of these examples.

The base Prussian German was indeed Low German (Plattdeutsch), but since this was an area with a lot of mixed migration from the rest of Germany, it became a bit of a mixture over the years, and today's Prussian dialects (including Guenther Grass') are somewhere in-between the two.

TheThill
10-16-2000, 09:54 AM
Originally posted by Little Nemo
Bosda, next time you might want to consider closed captioning for the humor impaired.

Sorry, I almost missed this little joke. Funny indeed. No, I'm too allergic to boring sterotypes to laugh at them -- a strange impairment, I must admit.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
10-16-2000, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by TheThill
Originally posted by javaman
For those of you fluent in German, Gunther Grass' novels contain many examples of Prussian German. It seems to have been another Low German dialect (i.e. Plattdeutsch).

I'm sorry to say I don't remember any of these examples.

The base Prussian German was indeed Low German (Plattdeutsch), but since this was an area with a lot of mixed migration from the rest of Germany, it became a bit of a mixture over the years, and today's Prussian dialects (including Guenther Grass') are somewhere in-between the two.
Yeah, I suppose in the major city of the area, Danzig, the
dialects were more mixed. But that dialect is now dead, isn't it? Isn't it true that the expulsion of all Germans
from the region was quite thorough? Though now that I come to think of it, I do remember reading how some extraterritorial Germans in Russia and Poland, after the
war, pleaded with the authorities to be allowed to emigrate
to Germany--even East Germany would have been OK--but
were denied permission.

TheThill
10-16-2000, 12:35 PM
All the aforementioned dialects are nearly extinct, although there are many older people who still speak them (one does still hear them more than you'd think.)
As for emigration, most did, but those who stayed behind have more or less assimilated into the majority Polish population. As for Kaliningrad/Koenigsberg, I haven't heard of any German population still being there or even having assimilated. It is likely that many were sent off into the vast, cold stretches of Russia's East, but I don't remember hearing anything else about that.
Btw, in the past decade hundreds of thousands of (more or less) ethnic Germans have "returned" to Germany from Russia and Eastern Europe, creating some difficult cultural situations as most of the new immigrants no longer spoke any German, and many have yet to attain social acceptance in Germany.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-16-2000, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by TheThill
Originally posted by Little Nemo
Bosda, next time you might want to consider closed captioning for the humor impaired.

Sorry, I almost missed this little joke. Funny indeed. No, I'm too allergic to boring sterotypes to laugh at them -- a strange impairment, I must admit.

This guy is so stiff & wooden you'd think he was Al Gore. :wally

TheThill
10-17-2000, 07:36 AM
I don't wish to get into an silly argument with you over your stereotypes posing as wit. Your post in question actually begins with the following hilarity:

Prussia became Germany. There were only "german states" before Prussia. After the takeover, there was GERMANY (cringe when you say it schweinhund!)

Well, I cringed when I read it, and that was the problem. To be fair, maybe I should add that I am tired of hearing the same types of sterotypes about Germans being repeated over and over again here in England.

Spiny Norman
10-17-2000, 09:32 AM
- good question.

The answer revolves around Napoleon III being - like Napoleon I - a charismatic and flamboyant character, and also - very much unlike Napoleon I - a complete blockhead in military matters. Other factors involve King Wilhelm not really wanting a war (he was at a spa in Baden-baden when the balloon went up) and Bismarck itching for a new conflict to kick off German unification after he'd kicked my Danish forefathers out of Schleswig-Holstein in 1864.

When the problem of the Spanish throne arose, Bismarck published a version of his & king Wilhelm's communications in this matter, carefully edited to affront the French.

Napoleon took the bait, worked up a Gallic rage, went to war and got himself in trouble faster than you can say "Je ne comprends pas". When the smoke cleared, he'd lost the war (and his throne), France had lost Alsace-Lorraine (now Elsass-Lothringen) and Bismarck had placed himself firmly in the driver's seat of a unified Germany. Whats's the French for "Oops" ?

So while the French were the first to attack, it was probably part of the overall Prussian plan to have them do so. Blame whoever you want.

BTW, Alsace is one of the geatest spots in Europe IMHO. French elan and German thoroughness (those are cliches, I know, sue me) can coexist with excellent results in service, cuisine & general mood. Besides, the area is beautiful, has loads of history and produces some rather nice white wine. Recommended.

S. Norman

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-18-2000, 10:03 PM
<Di Niro>ARE YOU TALKIN' TO ME? ARE YOU TALKIN' TO ME?

YOU CAN'T BE TALKIN' TO ME!

YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME?</Di Niro>

If you got the chops, start a BBQ Pit thread. Or cork it! :wally

TheThill
10-19-2000, 07:47 AM
You are jumpy aren't you? If you look at my posts, you'll realize that I haven't been attacking you, but at first tried to correct you (that's what the SDMB is about) and then to explain why I did and why I didn't appreciate your kind of "humor". If this troubles you any further, I'm sorry but I haven't got the time to waste on that kind of nonsense. And this is the last I'll be writing on this matter.