A Mastered Past? Prussia in Postwar German Memory

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This article compares the recent ‘Prussia Year 2001’ events marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Prussian state with the famous ‘Prussia Wave’ of the late 1970s and early 1980s in order to evaluate the evolving status of Prussia in postwar German memory. It asserts that Germans have largely abandoned their formerly polarized views of Prussia and have increasingly arrived at a more balanced view of its historical legacy. In developing a more normalized view of the Prussian past, Germans have demonstrated that difficult historical legacies may, to some degree, in fact, be ‘mastered’. At the same time, the article shows how the seemingly successful confrontation with the Prussian past remains burdened by the enduring effort to confront the legacy of the Third Reich.


Copyright 2004 The German History Society A link to full text has been provided for authorized users.

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German History

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Rosenfeld, G. (2004) “A Mastered Past? Prussia in Postwar German Memory," German History, Volume 2, No. 4, Fall, 2004, pp. 506-535.



Peer Reviewed