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Occupation, Mobilization, and Politics: The Anti-Napoleonic Wars in Prussian Experience, Memory, and Historiography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 December 2006

Karen Hagemann
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill


In the “Year of Prussia” 2001, celebrated in Germany because of the three-hundredth anniversary of Prussia's becoming a kingdom in 1701, the editor of the culture section of Die Welt, Eckhart Fuhr, remarked in a review of recent publications, “The discourse (on Prussia) has long since lost all of its (former) severity, obstinacy, and passion. The Germans today,” he declared, “are perfectly comfortable with the ambiguity of the Prussian legacy.” His colleague, the historian and Die Zeit journalist Volker Ulrich, agreed. He observed that the discussion about Prussia lacked a critical edge and regretted that no “truly sharp anti-Prussian book” had appeared among the many new publications. Gavriel D. Rosenfeld reached the same conclusion in his article, “‘A Mastered Past?’ The West-German Historiography on Prussia after 1945,” published in 2004 in the journal German History. He interpreted as a sign of “normalization” the fact that—unlike thirty years ago—Prussia is no longer the source of sharply formulated historical debates.

Research Article
2006 Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association

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