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Interactive video lesson plan for: The Rise and Fall of Prussia / Preußen

Activity overview:

If you want to know more about Prussia, feel free to watch part 2:

Prussia was a German state centred around Berlin in the era when Germany existed of many small states. Prussia was also one of the great powers in modern history. Prussia has disappeared completely from the map. The Prussian borders changed very often. Prussia had a great influence on German and European history. Its rival was Austria, because Prussia and Austria both wanted to control the rest of Germany.

FAQ: Why does it say that the Allies destroyed Prussia? Didn't the Nazis abolish it?
I made this video many years ago and I admit I should have explained the role of the Nazis in the downfall of Prussia. They essentially took control of the government of the Prussian state (a federal state of Germany) and later partitioned Prussia into smaller territorial units, called Gaue. The Nazis did this because they wanted a stong, unified and unopposed government. However, the "Free State of Prussia" was never abolished by the Nazis and Adolf Hitler was a great admirer of Prussia, even if it was now de facto dissolved.
The source of the statement that the Allies destroyed Prussia comes from professor Christopher Clark's book "Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947". The very first words of his introduction are:
"On 25 February 1947, representatives of the Allied occupation authorities in Berlin signed a law abolishing the state of Prussia. From this moment onward, Prussia belonged to history.
'The Prussian State, which from early days has been a bearer of militarism and reaction in Germany, has de facto ceased to exist. Guided by the interests of preservation of peace and security of peoples, and with the desire to assure further reconstruction of the political life of Germany on a democratic basis, the Control Council enacts as follows:
The Prussian State together with its central government and all its agencies is abolished.'
Law No. 46 of the Allied Control Council [...]."

FAQ: Why does it say that the Allies blamed Prussia for World War 2?
This information also comes from Christopher Clark. He explains this in the documentary "Frederick the Great and the Enigma of Prussia", which can be found in the following link. At 6:12 he begins his explanation.

FAQ: What music has been used?
First track: Preußens Gloria, composed by Johann Gottfried Piefke in 1871.
Second track (from 1:29): unknown. It was used in another YouTube video which has been removed many years ago.
Last track (from 3:35): Der treue Husar, an old German folk song, here in its march version.

FAQ: Isn't Prussia a territory outside Germany inhabited by Baltic people?
The term "Prussia" is somewhat confusing, since its meaning has changed in the course of time. The Prussians were originally a Baltic (so a non-German) people, who were conquered by German crusaders in the 13th century. They slowly became germanized in the course of the following centuries - not because of ethnic policies, but because the Prussians used the language of their rulers more and more. In 1525, Prussia gained independence from this crusader "State of the Teutonic Order", but remained formally a fief of Poland (which was again part of Poland-Lithuania). In 1618, the Duchy of Prussia was inherited by the monarch of Brandenburg. In 1657, the Duchy of Prussia (the far eastern part of Brandenburg-Prussia) was no longer a fief of Poland. In 1701, the monarch of Brandenburg-Prussia raised his royal rank to "king in Prussia" (the title "king OF Prussia" came later, in 1772), thus all his lands, even those in modern-day Germany, became known as "Prussia".

FAQ: What is the difference between Prussia, Germany and the German Empire?
A good explanation would be by giving a comparison.
Germany = the United Kingdom
Prussia = England
Another example is: USA = Germany; and Texas = Prussia.
And just like England, Scotland and Wales, at one time in history all these countries were independent of one another and even fighting wars. So too was Prussia. In 1871, the German states unified and the Prussian king became the German Emperor ("Kaiser" in German).

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