Prussia - what is it? Territory and history
Once this state was one of the most powerful in Europe. With his interests were considered many countries of the Old World. We are talking about Prussia, which has passed its unique development path. Moreover, the history of formation and the heyday of this state contains many interesting and remarkable facts. Prussia is first of all a country with a high level of civilization. But such she did not immediately. According to some historians, Prussia was turned into a strong power by the Germans. It was they who promoted it at several stages of development and expanded its boundaries. So what is Prussia? How did this public education appear? What role did it play in foreign policy? Why did Prussia disappear from the political map of the world? Consider these questions in more detail.
Quite a few experts are convinced that Prussia is a territory that was originally inhabited by representatives of one of the Baltic-speaking peoples. It was an Aestia.They lived on the territory of the Sambia Peninsula, but as a result of the “migration of peoples” they moved west and found themselves on lands located along the lower reaches of the Vistula.
About estasies mentioned in his writings at the beginning of the second century, the Roman historian Tacitus. At the same time, there are not so many details about their lifestyle, since there are very few sources of information - literally a few. It is known that the Prussian people occupied one of the lowest levels of civilization. Estia engaged in hunting and gathering. They diligently cultivated the land to harvest grain, searched for amber in shallow water, which they then sold. Representatives of the above balty-speaking people could not gather powerful military teams, but they managed to give a serious rebuff to foreigners.
This is how the original history of Prussia began. But after Tacida for the next 8 centuries, no one mentioned esthey. Only in the "Bavarian geographer" they began to appear again.
Why precisely Prussia?
There is no reliable information about why the state, which in ancient times inhabited estasia, later became known as Prussia. But assumptions are enough.In particular, the monk Gall Anonymus, who was engaged in the history of Poland at the end of the 11th century, suggested that this was the territory designated by the settlers from Saxony.
They arrived at the Aestians to hide from Charlemagne, who had plans to seize the “recalcitrant” duchy. The great scientist Lomonosov claimed that Prussia got its name because it bordered on Russia. Another version regarding the etymology of the above word is that the name of the state was given by the tributary of the Neman River (Russ). According to the Danish chronicler Saxon Grammar, the Viking tribes, who in the 9th century sailed to aesties for the purpose of plunder, called these lands Russia, which were then renamed Prussia. But this is still not all versions. In particular, some researchers are convinced that the aesties were excellent horse breeders, and "Prus" in Gothic means "horse."
Attempts to introduce Catholicism
It should be noted that ancient Prussia is a country that for a long time in every way resisted the religious propaganda of the Old World, where Catholicism prevailed. With the mission of Christianization, preachers from Europe repeatedly came to the esthesians.One of the first with a request from the Pope was a Benedictine monk (Bishop of Prague) Adalbert. At first, the people of Prussia favored him, since they were mistaken for a traveling salesman. But, having heard a religious sermon from the lips of Adalbert, the estasians ordered him to get out. In the end, the monk was killed. Then the Pope made another attempt to convert the inhabitants of Prussia to Catholics. With a sacred mission, he sent to the esties of the Archbishop of Querfurt.
However, this time the mission was failed, and the preacher himself was killed.
Annexation of the crusaders
But even recognizing that Prussia is a religiously disobedient state, the Pope leaves no hope of realizing his plans. And such an opportunity will be presented to him in the 13th century. Order of the Teutons on the initiativePolish prince Konrad of Mazovia and with the blessing of the head of the Catholic Church invades the Prussian territory and completely destroys the atheist tribe that originally lived on the lands of the lower reaches of the Vistula.
Stronghold of the Teutonic Order
In 1255, the ruler Ottokar II erected the city of Konigsberg (East Prussia) on the territory of the destroyed settlement of Tvangste.After fifty years, the “great marshal” of the Teutonic Order will settle here. In Königsberg, Germans came to a new place of residence from the most remote territories, and soon the city became an integral part of the Hanseatic League.
At the beginning of the 15th century, the Teutonic Order was defeated by the troops of the Commonwealth, and the future East Prussia could well have lost the city of Koenigsberg, which would come under Polish jurisdiction. But the rulers of the Commonwealth did not pursue an aggressive policy, but simply made the Teutons their vassal.
Duchy of Prussia
However, the Kingdom of Poland militarily gradually began to weaken, and its control over the previously conquered territories began to fall.
Order of the Teutons - a clear confirmation of this. Gradually, an electorate arose on its territory, and over time, the Duchy of Prussia was formed, which consolidated with Brandenburg at the beginning of the first half of the 17th century. Thus, the future foundation of the German Empire appeared. The influence of Poland on the affairs of Prussia was wiped out in the second half of the 17th century. And at the beginning of the 18th, Elector Frederick I was awarded the royal title. He loved luxury and pomp.
Unprecedented power and prosperity of the German Empire reaches during the reign of Frederick the Great (II). He was able to create the strongest and most numerous army in Western Europe. Most of the treasury was spent on military needs. That is why Prussia began to play the first violin (after Russia) in foreign policy. The countries of the Old World were simply afraid to get involved in the war with Frederick. Only the Empress Elizabeth I (daughter of Peter the Great) could have made a worthy competition to the King of Prussia. Frederick turned Prussia into a militaristic state with a tough police-bureaucratic regime. About any freedoms and democratic values of his subjects could not even dream of. It was under Frederick the Great, who initiated numerous military operations, that the territory of Prussia expanded considerably. We list the main ones.
Military successes and failures of Frederick II
First of all, mention should be made of the protracted military conflict called the “War for the Austrian Succession”. Prussian king managed to join the alliance, aimed at the destruction of the Austrian monarchy.
As a result, Frederick managed to conquer a huge part of the land in Silesia. The confrontation of Prussia - Austria actually began in December 1740. A month later, with a small Friedrich's troops already celebrated victory in the First Silesian War, and then the Prussian troops finally defeated the Austrians near the village of Mollwitz.
But the military battles of Frederick the Great in the Seven Years War were not crowned with success. The Prussian king could not carry out the task of seizing Kurland, Pomerania and Saxony. Russia, which gained glorious victories in Gros-Egersdorf (1757) and in the Battle of Kunersdorf (1759), got involved in the war with Frederick the Great. Moreover, the city of Koenigsberg in 1958 became Russian. And in 1760, the troops of Elizabeth I entered Berlin. The victorious war with Prussia promised the expansion of the borders of the empire of the daughter of Peter the Great. But the autocrat passed away, and Peter III ascended the throne, who idolized his idol Frederick. As a result, the Russian troops were withdrawn from East Prussia, and Koenigsberg became German again.
18th century conquests
It should be noted that both Frederick II and other kings of Prussia took care of increasing the territory of the Hohenzollern state.In particular, back in 1772, Russians, Prussians and Austrians captured the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and divided the land according to a previously signed Convention. The Duchy of Pomerania, the Malborkie, Pomorskie, Helmina and part of the regions of Wielkopolska passed to Prussia. In 1790, the occupied kingdom concluded a bondage treaty with Prussia, which became the forerunner of the second and third sections of Poland. As a result, Prussia first crossed the lands of Mazovia, Kujawi, Thorn, the city of Danzig, and then the territories to the west of the Vistula, Bug, Pilica, Nemunas, along with Warsaw and the land of Lithuania Minor.
After taking Bastille ...
When the Great French Revolution came, Prussia formed an alliance with Austria to restore the Bourbon dynasty. But in 1795, after a series of failures, the Germans were forced to sign a separate peace with France in Basel. In 1806, Prussia again joined the alliance, which pursued the goal of restoring the monarchy in Paris. And after some time, the Germans are again defeated, now from Napoleon Bonaparte.
The point in the confrontation of Prussia - France was set in 1807, when the Tilsit peace was concluded, under the terms of which the Hohenzollern empire lost half of its territories.However, after the defeat of the Napoleonic army by Russia in 1812, the previously "selected" lands partially returned to Prussia (Westfalia, Rhineland, some areas of Saxony).
Foreign alliances of the second half of the 19th century
Monarch Wilhelm I helped Alexander II to defeat the liberation uprising in Poland, which began in 1863. And soon after, the Prussian monarch joined Austria to fight Denmark. But already in 1866, Wilhelm I entered into confrontation with his recent allies - the Austrians. He managed to win in military battles against Austria and to tear away a whole number of settlements from the Habsburg Empire: Schleswig-Holstein, Hannover, Kurfgessen, Francurt-on-Main. The victory over the Austrians became a turning point in history: now they could not claim the leading position in Germany, and the Prussians began to manage state affairs. In 1867, William I agreed to the creation of the North German Union.
At the beginning of the 70s of the 19th century, Prussia got involved in the war with France, which had a positive ending: the Hohenzollern empire grew in new territories - Eastern Lorraine and Alsace. In addition, the treasury replenished 5 billion francs, which were transferred to Helgelm I as a contribution.
In the winter of 1871, the creation of the German Empire was officially announced. Moreover, Prussia was assigned a leading role in managing new education. The Prussian monarch simultaneously held the post of Emperor of Germany, and the Minister-President of Prussia was at the same time German Chancellor. Under the conditions of the birth of imperialism, the phenomenon of Prussianism entered into the political elite of Germany as firmly as possible. Both German and Russian militarists played the first violins in the unleashing of the First World War.
In the fall of 1918, a revolution took place in Germany, the ideologues of which overthrew the imperial regime. Former Prussia is now left without a monarch. Kaiser regime fell.
Now the power in the state passed to the Weimar Republic. It is noteworthy that in its composition there was a province called Prussia, and it had far from last impact on the economic and political life of the country.
When in the first half of the 30s of the 20th century, power in the country passed to Adolf Hitler, the political electorate of the above province was consolidated with the state apparatus of the Third Reich.Naturally, Prussia, like the rest of Germany, came under the banner of the fascist ideology.
The fate of East Prussia
The Great Patriotic War began with an attack on the Baltic countries, and the German Army “North” began to conduct it from East Prussia. Only in April 1945, the Russian troops managed to seize Koenigsberg as a result of the assault. As soon as the war ended, East Prussia became a special military district. At that time, 8 military commandant's offices were deployed in Königsberg.
At the conference in Potsdam, Stalin, Churchill and Truman decided that East Prussia would be abolished. 1945 was the last for her. The former German province was divided between the USSR and Poland. The city of Konigsberg became Russian again. And in the spring of 1946, a special decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet as a part of the RSFSR formed the Koenigsberg region, which in a few months was renamed Kaliningrad. The capital of the new region of the Land of Soviets was the city of Kaliningrad (formerly Koenigsberg). Since 1946, immigrants from other areas of the Union began to move here.
Based on the foregoing, it is impossible not to agree with the fact that Prussia has passed a great path of historical development.Sometimes she had wise rulers who were able to create a unique nation, accustomed to economy, obedience and order. But alas, once he came to power, whose policy led to the death of the Prussian people.