Free State of Prussia

Last updated

Free State of Prussia
Freistaat Preußen
State of Germany
Flag of Prussia 1892-1918.svg
1918–1947 Flag of Germany (1946-1949).svg
 
Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg
 
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg
Flag of Prussia (1918-1933).svg Coat of arms of Prussia (1918-1933).svg
Flag (1918–1933) Coat of arms
Motto
Gott mit uns
"God with us"
Location of Prussia Map-WR-Prussia.svg
Location of Prussia
The Free State of Prussia in 1925
Capital Berlin
Government Republic
Reichsstatthalter
  1933–1935 Adolf Hitler
  1935–1945 Hermann Göring
Minister-President
  1918 Friedrich Ebert (first)
  1933–1945 Hermann Göring (last)
Legislature State Diet
  Upper Chamber State Council
  Lower Chamber House of Representatives
Historical era Interwar/World War II
   German Revolution 9 November 1918
   Constitution adopted 30 November 1920
   Preußenschlag 20 July 1932
   Machtergreifung 30 January 1933
   Reichsstatthaltergesetz 30 January 1935
   Formally abolished 25 February 1947
Area
  1925 [1] 292,695.36 km2(113,010 sq mi)
Population
  1925 [1] 38,175,986 
Density 130.4 /km2  (337.8 /sq mi)
Today part ofFlag of Germany.svg  Germany
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
Arms of Brandenburg.svg
Arms of East Prussia.svg

History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
pre-12th century
Old Prussians
pre-13th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157–1618 (1806)
Teutonic Order
1224–1525
Duchy of Prussia
1525–1618
Royal (Polish) Prussia
1466–1772
Brandenburg-Prussia
1618–1701
Kingdom in Prussia
1701–1772
Kingdom of Prussia
1772–1918
Free State of Prussia
1918–1947
Klaipėda Region
(Lithuania)
1920–1939 / 1945–present
Brandenburg
(Germany)
1947–1952 / 1990–present
Recovered Territories
(Poland)
1918/1945–present
Kaliningrad Oblast
(Russia)
1945–present

The Free State of Prussia (German : Freistaat Preußen) was a state of Germany from 1918 to 1947.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

States of the Weimar Republic

The States of the Weimar Republic were the first-level administrative divisions and constituent states of Germany during the Weimar Republic era. The states were established in 1918 following the German Revolution upon the conclusion of World War I, and based on the 21 constituent states of the German Empire that abolished their local monarchies. The new states continued as republics alongside the three pre-existing city-states within the new Weimar Republic, adopting the titles Freistaat or Volksstaat.

German <i>Reich</i> official name for the German nation state from 1871 to 1945, and name of Germany until 1949

Deutsches Reich was the official name in the German language for the German nation state that existed from 1871 to 1945. The Reich became understood as deriving its authority and sovereignty entirely from a continuing unitary German 'national people'; with that authority and sovereignty being exercised at any one time over a unitary German 'state territory' with variable boundaries and extent. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not in itself have monarchical connotations. The word Kaiserreich is applied to denote an empire with an emperor; hence the German Empire of 1871–1918 is termed Deutsches Kaiserreich in standard works of reference. From 1943 to 1945, the official name of Germany became – but was not formally proclaimed – Großdeutsches Reich on account of the further German peoples and associated territories annexed into the state's administration during and before the Second World War.

Contents

The Free State of Prussia was established in 1918 following the German Revolution, abolishing the German Empire and founding the Weimar Republic in the aftermath of the First World War. The new state was a direct successor to the Kingdom of Prussia, but featured a democratic, republican government and smaller area based on territorial changes after the war. Despite bearing the brunt of Germany's territorial losses in Europe, Prussia remained the dominant state of Germany, comprising almost 58 (62.5%) of the country's territory and population, and home to the federal capital, Berlin. [1] Prussia changed from the authoritarian state it had been under previous rulers to a democratic bastion within the Weimar Republic where, unlike in other states, democratic parties always ruled in majority.

German Revolution of 1918–19 Revolution in 1918–1919 in Germany

The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that later became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution.

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

Weimar Republic Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.

The Free State of Prussia's democratic government was overthrown in the Preußenschlag in 1932, placing the state under direct rule in a coup d'etat led by Chancellor Franz von Papen and forcing Minister-President Otto Braun from office. The establishment of Nazi Germany in 1933 began the Gleichschaltung process, ending legal challenges to the Preußenschlag and placing Prussia under the direct rule of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, with Hermann Göring as Minister-President. In 1934, all German states were de facto replaced by the Gaue system and converted to rudimentary bodies, effectively ending Prussia as a single territorial unit of Germany. After the end of World War II in 1945, Otto Braun approached Allied officials in occupied Germany to reinstate the legal Prussian government, but was rejected and Prussia was abolished in 1947.

Preußenschlag July 1932 incident in Prussia, Germany

The Preußenschlag of 1932, also known in English as the coup in Prussia or the putsch in Prussia, was the takeover of the Free State of Prussia, the largest German state, by Chancellor Franz von Papen, using an emergency decree issued by President Paul von Hindenburg under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution on July 20, 1932.

Direct rule is when an imperial or central power takes direct control over the legislature, executive and civil administration of an otherwise largely self-governing territory.

Franz von Papen German chancellor

Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen, Erbsälzer zu Werl und Neuwerk generally known as Franz von Papen, was a German conservative politician, diplomat, nobleman and General Staff officer. He served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–34.

History of Prussia after 1918

1918: Aftermath of World War I

Except for its overseas colonies, Alsace-Lorraine and the Bavarian portion of the Saargebiet, all German territorial losses as a result of World War I were Prussian losses. As specified in the Treaty of Versailles, the former kingdom lost territory to Belgium (Eupen and Malmedy), Denmark (North Schleswig), Lithuania (Memel Territory) and Czechoslovakia (the Hultschin area). The Saargebiet was administered by the League of Nations until 1935. The Rhine Province became a demilitarised zone, although it remained under Prussian civil administration.

German colonial empire

The German colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, dependencies and territories of Imperial Germany. Unified in the early 1870's, the chancellor of this time period was Otto von Bismarck. Short-lived attempts of colonization by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but crucial colonial efforts only began in 1884 with the Scramble for Africa. Claiming much of the left-over colonies in the Scramble for Africa, Germany managed to build the third largest colonial empire after the British and French, at the time. Germany lost control when World War I began in 1914 and its colonies were seized by its enemies in the first weeks of the war. However some military units held out for a while longer: German South West Africa surrendered in 1915, Kamerun in 1916 and German East Africa at the end of the war, the defenders of which having been engaged in a guerrilla war with British and colonial forces, as well as the Portuguese. Germany's colonial empire was officially confiscated with the Treaty of Versailles after Germany's defeat in the war and the various units became League of Nations mandates under the supervision of one of the victorious powers. The German Colonial empire officially existed until 1919. Plans to regain their lost colonial possessions persisted through WW2, some people at the time suspecting that was the goal of the Third Reich all along. Despite not being around for a very long time, Germanys colonial ventures changed the places and people they came into contact with. The Germans participated in medicinal and scientific research in Africa, as well as attempting to build up an infrastructure there. However, they also shed a lot of African blood and killed many to make these things possible.

Alsace-Lorraine Territory created by the German Empire in 1871

The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871, after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle department of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east of the Vosges Mountains. The Lorraine section was in the upper Moselle valley to the north of the Vosges.

Treaty of Versailles one of the treaties that ended the First World War

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to the war. The other Central Powers on the German side signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.

The bulk of Prussia's losses were to Poland, including most of the provinces of Posen and West Prussia, and an eastern section of Silesia. Danzig was placed under the administration of the League of Nations as the Free City of Danzig. These losses separated East Prussia from the rest of the country, now only accessible by rail through the Polish corridor or by sea.

Second Polish Republic 1918-1939 republic in Eastern Europe

The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland, sometimes Commonwealth of Poland, the Polish state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. When, after several regional conflicts, the borders of the state were fixed in 1922, Poland's neighbours were Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Free City of Danzig, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and the Soviet Union. It had access to the Baltic Sea via a short strip of coastline either side of the city of Gdynia. Between March and August 1939, Poland also shared a border with the then-Hungarian governorate of Subcarpathia. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of the European theatre of World War II.

Province of Posen province of Prussia

The Province of Posen was a province of Prussia from 1848 to 1919. Posen was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1848 after the Greater Poland Uprising, converted from the Grand Duchy of Posen annexed by Prussia in the Polish partitions of 1815, and became part of the German Empire in 1871. Posen was part of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany from 1918, but was dissolved the following year when most of its territory was ceded to the Second Polish Republic by the Treaty of Versailles, and the remaining German territory was later re-organized into Posen-West Prussia in 1922.

West Prussia province of Prussia

The Province of West Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and 1878 to 1922. West Prussia was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1773, formed from Royal Prussia of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth annexed in the First Partition of Poland. West Prussia was dissolved in 1829 and merged with East Prussia to form the Province of Prussia, but was re-established in 1878 when the merger was reversed and became part of the German Empire. From 1918, West Prussia was a province of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany, losing most of its territory to the Second Polish Republic and the Free City of Danzig in the Treaty of Versailles. West Prussia was dissolved in 1922, and its remaining western territory was merged with Posen to form Posen-West Prussia, and its eastern territory merged with East Prussia as the Region of West Prussia district.

Since the Germans had not been invited to the peace conference taking place in Versailles and because the Allies had deliberately kept the terms of the treaty from being made public prior to presenting them to the German delegation, many Germans feared that the Allies were preparing to demand even harsher peace terms. In particular, it was thought that the French would seek to annex the Rhineland. Some prominent politicians, particularly in the Rhineland and including Mayor of Cologne and future German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, called for Prussia to be broken up into smaller and more manageable states. Both the Reich and Prussian governments in Berlin were dominated by traditionalist sentiment and strongly opposed the dissolution of Prussia.

Rhineland historic region of Germany

The Rhineland is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly its middle section.

Konrad Adenauer German statesman, Federal Chancellor of Germany, politician (CDU)

Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963. He was co-founder and first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a Christian Democratic party that under his leadership became one of the most influential parties in the country.

Essentially, apart from its territorial losses and having its government placed on a democratic footing, Prussia continued unchanged. It remained by far the largest state of the Reich, with more territory and people than the other states combined.

1918–1932: Democratic bastion

During the 500 years of Hohenzollern rule, Prussia (and its predecessor, Brandenburg) had been synonymous with authoritarianism. In contrast, Prussia was a bulwark of democracy during the Weimar Republic. The restrictive Prussian three-class franchise was abolished shortly after Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated. Power now passed from the Junker landowners and great industrialists to "Red Berlin" and the industrialised Ruhr Area – both with working-class majorities. Prussia now became a stronghold of the left.

From 1919 to 1932, Prussia was governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats, Catholic Centre, and German Democrats; from 1921 to 1925, coalition governments included the German People's Party. Unlike in other states of the German Reich, majority rule by democratic parties in Prussia was never endangered. Nevertheless, in East Prussia and some industrial areas, the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party) of Adolf Hitler gained more and more influence and popular support, especially from the lower middle class.

Otto Braun, a Social Democrat from East Prussia, served as Prussian minister-president almost continuously from 1920 to 1932. A capable leader, he implemented several trend-setting reforms together with his minister of the interior, Carl Severing, which were also models for the later Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). For instance, a Prussian minister-president could be forced out of office only if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor. This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence, was carried over into the Basic Law of the FRG. Largely because of this provision, the centre-left coalition was able to stay in office because neither the far left nor the far right could possibly put together a majority.

1932: Prussian coup

All of this changed on 20 July 1932 with the Preußenschlag ("Prussian coup"): Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen got President Hindenburg to remove the elected Prussian state government under Otto Braun on the pretext that it had lost control of public order. This was triggered by Altona Bloody Sunday, a shootout between the SA and Communists (Altona was still a part of Prussia at that time). After this emergency decree, Papen appointed himself Reich Commissioner for Prussia and took control of the government. This made it easy for Adolf Hitler to assume control over Prussia in the following year.

Otto Braun's government filed suit in the courts, but the cases remained unresolved due to the war and the subsequent Allied occupation and partition of Germany.

Establishment of Nazi rule in Prussia

State flag of Prussia, 1933-1935 Dienstflagge Preussen 1933-35.svg
State flag of Prussia, 1933-1935

On 30 January 1933, Hitler had been appointed chancellor of Germany. As part of the deal, Papen was formally appointed minister-president of Prussia in addition to his role as Vice Chancellor of the Reich. In a little-noticed appointment, Hitler's top lieutenant Hermann Göring became the state's interior minister.

Four weeks later (27 February 1933), the Reichstag was set on fire. At Hitler's urging, President Paul von Hindenburg issued the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended civil liberties in Germany. Six days after the fire, the Reichstag election of 5 March 1933 strengthened the position of the Nazi Party, although they did not achieve an absolute majority. However, with their coalition partners, the German National People's Party, Hitler now commanded a bare majority in the Reichstag. Göring figured prominently in this election, as he was commander of the largest police force in the Reich. His police beat and harassed the other parties (especially the Communists and Social Democrats), and only allowed the Nazis and Nationalists to campaign relatively unmolested.

The new Reichstag was opened in the Garrison Church of Potsdam on 21 March 1933 in the presence of President Paul von Hindenburg, who had long since descended into senility. In a propaganda-filled meeting between Hitler and the NSDAP, the "marriage of old Prussia with young Germany" was celebrated, to win over the Prussian monarchists, conservatives, and nationalists and induce them to vote for the Enabling Act. The act was passed on 23 March 1933, legally granting Hitler dictatorial powers.

In April 1933, Papen was visiting the Vatican. The Nazis took advantage of his absence and appointed Göring in his place. With this act, Hitler was able to take power decisively in Germany, since he now had the whole apparatus of the Prussian government, including the police, at his disposal. By 1934 almost all Prussian ministries had been merged with the corresponding Reich ministries.

Dismantlement of Prussia

In the centralized state created by the Nazis in the "Law on the Reconstruction of the Reich" ("Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reiches", 30 January 1934) and the "Law on Reich Governors" ("Reichsstatthaltergesetz", 30 January 1935) the States and Provinces of Prussia were dissolved, in fact if not in law. The federal state governments were now controlled by governors for the Reich who were appointed by the Chancellor. Parallel to that, the organization of the party into districts ( Gau ) gained increasing importance, as official in charge of a Gau (the infamous Gauleiter ) was again appointed by the Chancellor who was at the same time chief of the NSDAP. Hitler appointed himself formally as Governor of Prussia, although his functions were exercised by Göring.

Two years later, Hitler (who by then was head of state and the absolute dictator of Germany) formally transferred the office of Prussian Reichsstatthalter from himself to Göring. This position, as well as that of Minister-President (which Göring had already held from 1933) continued to exist until the dying days of the Third Reich when Hitler dismissed Göring from all state and Reich offices for alleged treason.

Some changes were still made to Prussian provinces after this time. For example, the Greater Hamburg Act of 1937 transferred some territory from the provinces of Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein to Hamburg while at the same time annexing Hamburgian Geesthacht and the Hanseatic City of Lübeck to Schleswig-Holstein as well as Hamburgian Cuxhaven to the Province of Hanover. Other redeployments took place in 1939, involving cessions of Prusso-Hanoveran suburban municipalities to Bremen and in return the annexation of Bremian Bremerhaven to the Province of Hanover. Also Hanoveran Wilhelmshaven was ceded to Oldenburg. In 1942 redeployments involved the provinces of Saxony and Hanover and the Brunswick.

The Prussian lands transferred to Poland after the Treaty of Versailles were reannexed during World War II. However, most of this territory was not reintegrated back into Prussia but assigned to separate Gaue of Nazi Germany.

Hitler did not appoint a successor to Göring's Prussian offices while his last will and testament, drafted shortly before the Nazi dictator's suicide, harshly condemned the former Prussian minister-president but made no mention of the status of any Prussian offices. Likewise, the short-lived Flensburg government under Karl Donitz made no effort to fill any Prussian state offices. In reality, these had long been relegated to little more than titular positions compared to Göring's more prominent roles in the Nazi regime.

Formal dissolution

With the end of National Socialist rule in 1945 came the division of Germany into Zones of Occupation, and the transfer of control of everything east of the Oder-Neisse line to other countries. As was the case after World War I, almost all of this territory had been Prussian territory (a small portion of the land east of the revised border had belonged to Saxony). Most of the land went to Poland and the northern third of East Prussia, including Königsberg, now Kaliningrad was annexed by the Soviet Union. The losses represented nearly two-fifths of Prussian territory and nearly a quarter of territory within Germany's pre-1938 borders. An estimated ten million Germans fled or were forcibly expelled from these territories as part of the German exodus from Eastern Europe.

What remained of Prussia comprised both a little over half of the remaining German territory and a little over half of Prussia's pre-1914 territory. In Law No. 46 of 25 February 1947, the Allied Control Council proclaimed the dissolution of the Prussian state. [2] The Allies cited Prussia's history of militarism as a reason for dissolving it. In reality, Prussia had ceased to exercise administrative functions in 1933 and these had now been absorbed into the administration of the occupying powers in their respective geographic areas of control and its reconstitution was also opposed (if not for the same reasons) by powerful German postwar politicians, especially the first West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

Even without all of this to consider, postwar tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union eventually resulted in the Soviets establishing a separate sovereign state in what essentially had become eastern Germany, the German Democratic Republic. This development effectively cut off Prussia's western territories from what had been its power base in Brandenburg, thus making the establishment of a credible successor state to the Free State of Prussia all but impossible.

Government

Unlike its authoritarian pre-war predecessor, Prussia was a promising democracy within Germany. The abolition of the aristocracy transformed Prussia into a region strongly dominated by the left wing of the political spectrum, with "Red Berlin" and the industrial centre of the Ruhr Area exerting a major influence. During this period, a coalition of centre-left parties ruled, predominantly under the leadership of East Prussian Social Democrat Otto Braun. While in office he implemented several reforms together with his Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing, which were also models for the later Federal Republic of Germany. For instance, a Prussian prime minister could only be forced out of office if there was a "positive majority" for a potential successor[ citation needed ]. This concept, known as the constructive vote of no confidence, was carried over into the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Most historians regard the Prussian government during this time as far more successful than that of Germany as a whole.

Similar to other German states both now and at the time, executive power was continued to be vested in a Minister-President of Prussia and laws established by a Landtag elected by the people.

Ministers-President of the Free State of Prussia

#NameTook officeLeft officeParty
1 Friedrich Ebert 9 November 191811 November 1918 SPD
2 Paul Hirsch 11 November 191827 March 1920 SPD
3 Otto Braun 27 March 192021 April 1921 SPD
4 Adam Stegerwald 21 April 19215 November 1921 Centre
Otto Braun5 November 192118 February 1925 SPD
5 Wilhelm Marx 18 February 19256 April 1925 Centre
Otto Braun6 April 192520 July 1932a SPD
Position administered by the Reichskommissar between 20 July 1932 and 30 January 1933
6 Franz von Papen 30 January 193310 April 1933Independent
7 Hermann Göring 10 April 193324 April 1945 NSDAP
a. Ousted during the Preußenschlag ; formally deposed on 30 January 1933.

Subdivisions of Prussia

The provinces of the Free State of Prussia in 1920, before the formation of the separate province of Berlin. Map-WR-PrussiaProvs-1920.svg
The provinces of the Free State of Prussia in 1920, before the formation of the separate province of Berlin.

Effects of World War I

East 
The Memel Region of East Prussia was ceded to Lithuania. The remainder of province of Silesia that was not ceded to Poland and Czechoslovakia was split into the provinces of Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia in 1919 – although they were temporarily recombined (1938–1941).
North 
In the province of Schleswig-Holstein, Allied powers organised two plebiscites in Northern and Central Schleswig on 10 February and 14 March 1920, respectively. In Northern Schleswig 75% voted for reunification with Denmark and 25% for staying with Germany, this new addition to Denmark formed the counties of Aabenraa, Haderslev, Sønderborg, and Tønder, from 1970 to 2007 this ceded areas were merged in South Jutland County. In Central Schleswig the situation was reversed with 80% voting for Germany and 20% for Denmark. No vote ever took place in the southern third of Schleswig.
West 
The southern tip of the Rhine Province was placed under French administration as the Saar by the League of Nations. The Eupen and Malmedy regions in the west of the Rhine Province were ceded to Belgium, forming the region that contains the German-speaking community of Belgium.

Changes prior to the Nazi regime

In 1920, the Greater Berlin Act was passed to create Greater Berlin, enlarging the Prussian capital at the expense of Brandenburg, from which Berlin had been separated in 1881. [3] The Greater Berlin Act effectively enlarged the size of the city 13-fold, and its borders are largely maintained by the modern German state of Berlin.

The remainder of the provinces of Posen and West Prussia were combined to form Posen-West Prussia in 1922.

Following a plebiscite in 1929 Waldeck merged with Prussia. The event was commemorated by a 3 Reichsmark coin. [4]

Post-war dismemberment

After the Allied occupation of Germany in 1945, the provinces of Prussia were split up into the following territories/German states:

Ceded to the Soviet Union 
The northern third of East Prussia. Today, the Kaliningrad Oblast is a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland.
Ceded to Poland 
Everything east of the Oder-Neisse line plus Stettin. This amounted to most of Silesia, Eastern Pomerania, the Neumark region of Brandenburg, all of Posen-West Prussia, and the remainder of East Prussia not ceded to Russia.
Placed under Soviet administration 
The following states, after merging with other German states, were formed after the war, then abolished in 1952 and finally recreated following the reunification of Germany in 1990:
Placed under Allied administration 
The remainder of Prussia was merged with other German states to become the following states of West Germany:
Berlin 
Divided into East Berlin under Soviet administration and West Berlin under Allied sectors of administration (British, French and American). West Berlin was surrounded by East Germany and ultimately was enclosed by the Berlin Wall. The two-halves were reunited after German reunification to form the modern German state of Berlin. A proposal to merge Berlin with the reformed state of Brandenburg was rejected by popular vote in 1996.

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Regierungsbezirk</i> subdivision of some of the 16 federal states in Germany

A Regierungsbezirk is a type of administrative division in Germany.

States of Germany First-level administrative subdivisions of the Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a federal republic consisting of sixteen states. Since today's Germany was formed from an earlier collection of several states, it has a federal constitution, and the constituent states retain a measure of sovereignty. With an emphasis on geographical conditions, Berlin and Hamburg are frequently called Stadtstaaten (city-states), as is the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which in fact includes the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. The remaining 13 states are called Flächenländer.

Reichstag Fire Decree Decree in Nazi Germany that abolished key civil liberties for citizens

The Reichstag Fire Decree is the common name of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg on the advice of Chancellor Adolf Hitler on 28 February 1933 in immediate response to the Reichstag fire. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis for the imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, and to suppress publications not considered "friendly" to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians as one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. 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. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Otto Braun German politician

Otto Braun was a German Social Democratic politician who served as Prime Minister of Prussia for most of the time from 1920 to 1932. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, Braun went into exile in Switzerland.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Province of Silesia province

The Province of Silesia was a province of Prussia from 1815 to 1919. The Silesia region was part of the Prussian realm since 1740 and established as an official province in 1815, then became part of the German Empire in 1871. In 1919, as part of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany, Silesia was divided into the provinces of Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia. Silesia was reunified briefly from 1938 to 1941 as a province of Nazi Germany before being divided back into Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia.

Posen-West Prussia Prussian province created in 1922

The Frontier March of Posen-West Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1922 to 1938. Posen-West Prussia was established in 1922 as a province of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany, formed from merging three remaining non-contiguous territories of Posen and West Prussia, which had lost the majority of their territory to the Second Polish Republic and Free City of Danzig in the Treaty of Versailles. From 1934, Posen-West Prussia was de facto ruled by Brandenburg until it was dissolved in 1938 by Nazi Germany, and its territory divided between the Prussian provinces of Silesia, Pomerania, and Brandenburg.

Former eastern territories of Germany

The former eastern territories of Germany are those provinces or regions east of the current eastern border of Germany which were lost by Germany after World War I and then World War II.

Provinces of Prussia province of the state of Prussia

The Provinces of Prussia were the main administrative divisions of Prussia from 1815 to 1946. Prussia's province system was introduced in the Stein-Hardenberg Reforms in 1815, and were mostly organized from duchies and historical regions. Provinces were divided into several Regierungsbezirke, sub-divided into Kreise (districts), and then into Gemeinden (townships) at the lowest-level. Provinces constituted the highest level of administration in the Kingdom of Prussia and Free State of Prussia until 1933, when Nazi Germany established de facto direct rule over provincial politics, and were formally abolished in 1946 following World War II. The Prussian provinces became the basis for many federal states of Germany, and the states of Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein are direct successors of provinces.

Greater Hamburg Act

The Greater Hamburg Act, in full the Law Regarding Greater Hamburg and Other Territorial Readjustments, was passed by the government of Nazi Germany on 26 January 1937, and mandated the exchange of territories between Hamburg and the Free State of Prussia. It became effective on 1 April 1937.

The Reichsstatthalter was a title used in the German Empire and later in Nazi Germany.

Province of Brandenburg province of Prussia, Germany

The Province of Brandenburg was a province of Prussia from 1815 to 1945. Brandenburg was established in 1815 from the Kingdom of Prussia's core territory, comprised the bulk of the historic Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Lower Lusatia region, and became part of the German Empire in 1871. From 1918, Brandenburg was a province of the Free State of Prussia until it was dissolved in 1945 after World War II, and replaced with reduced territory as the State of Brandenburg in East Germany, which was later dissolved in 1952. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, Brandenburg was re-established as a federal state of Germany, becoming one of the new states.

Territorial evolution of Germany

The territorial changes of Germany include all changes in the borders and territory of Germany from its formation in 1871 to the present. Modern Germany was formed in 1871 when Otto von Bismarck unified most of the German states, with the notable exception of Austria, into the German Empire. After the First World War, Germany lost about 10% of its territory to its neighbours and the Weimar Republic was formed. This republic included territories to the east of today's German borders.

Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft national network of German regional public broadcasting companies, 1925–45

The Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG) was a national network of German regional public radio and television broadcasting companies active from 1925 until 1945. RRG's broadcasts were receivable in all parts of the country and were used extensively for Nazi propaganda after 1933.

Prussian State Council lower house

The Prussian State Council was the upper chamber of the bicameral legislature of the Free State of Prussia between 1920 and 1933. The lower chamber was the Prussian Landtag.

The German Emperors after 1873 had a variety of titles and coats of arms, which in various compositions became the officially used titles and coats of arms. The title and coat of arms were last fixed in 1873, but the titles did not necessarily mean that the area was really dominated, and sometimes even several princes bore the same title.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Beckmanns Welt-Lexikon und Welt-Atlas. Leipzig / Vienna: Verlagsanstalt Otto Beckmann. 1931.
  2. "Council Control Law 46: Abolition of the State of Prussia". 25 February 1947.
  3. On 1 April 1881 Berlin was disentangled from the province of Brandenburg. Consisting of the mere one city of Berlin its lord mayor (German: Oberbürgermeister) fulfilled in personal union the task of the Landesdirektor and the city council the role of the provincial committee. While the role of the upper president was taken by the Prussian government-appointed chief of police (German: Polizeipräsident in Berlin). Cf. Meyers großes Konversations-Lexikon: 20 vols. – completely rev. and ext. ed., Leipzig and Vienna: Bibliographisches Institut, 1903–08, here vol. 2, article 'Berlin', p 700. No ISBN
  4. Weimar Commemorative 3 Mark Set 1929A WALDECK-PRUSSIA