Kingdom of Prussia

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]

Kingdom of Prussia
Königreich Preußen
1701–1918
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
Status
Capital
Common languagesOfficial:
German
Religion
Majority:
Protestantism -Official-[1] (Lutheran and Calvinist; since 1817 Prussian United)
Minorities:
Government
King 
 1701–1713 (first)
Frederick I
 1888–1918 (last)
Wilhelm II
Minister-Presidenta 
 1848 (first)
Adolf Heinrich
 1918 (last)
Max von Baden
LegislatureLandtag
Herrenhaus
Abgeordnetenhaus
Historical era
18 January 1701
14 October 1806
9 June 1815
5 December 1848
18 January 1871
28 November 1918
28 June 1919
Area
1871[2]348,779 km2 (134,664 sq mi)
Population
 1756[3]
4,500,000
 1816[2]
10,349,031
 1871[2]
24,689,000
 1910[4]
40,169,219
Currency
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Holy Roman Empire
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Duchy of Prussia
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
Saxe-Lauenburg
Duchies of Silesia
Free State of Prussia
Free City of Danzig
Second Polish Republic
Weimar Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic
Belgium
Denmark
Lithuania

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
Brandenburg-Prussia
1618  1701
Kingdom in Prussia
1701  1772
Kingdom of Prussia
1772  1918
Free State of Prussia (Germany)
1918  1947
Klaipėda Region
(Lithuania)
1920  1939 / 1945  present
Recovered Territories
(Poland)
1918/1945  present
Brandenburg
(Germany)
1947  1952 / 1990  present
Kaliningrad Oblast
(Russia)
1945  present

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]


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