Kingdom of Prussia

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; the kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern. Prussia was a great power from the time it became a kingdom, through its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia, which became a military power under Frederick William, known as "The Great Elector". Prussia continued its rise to power under the guidance of Frederick II, more known as Frederick the Great, the third son of Frederick William I. Frederick the Great was instrumental in starting the Seven Years' War, holding his own against Austria, Russia and Sweden and establishing Prussia's role in the German states, as well as establishing the country as a European great power.

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, many wars; because of its power, Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states under its rule, 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. Attempts to create a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful member states 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. 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 used in the German Empire.

The German Empire lasted from 1871 to 1918 with the successful unification of all the German states under Prussian hegemony. The war united all the German states against a common enemy, with the victory came an overwhelming wave of nationalism which changed the opinions of some of those, against unification. In 1871, Germany unified into a single country, minus Austria and Switzerland, with Prussia the dominant power. Prussia is considered the legal predecessor of the unified German Reich and as such a direct ancestor of today's Federal Republic of Germany; the formal abolition of Prussia, carried out on 25 February 1947 by the fiat of the Allied Control Council, referred to an alleged tradition of the kingdom as a bearer of militarism and reaction, made way for the current setup of the German states. However, the Free State of Prussia, 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.

The Kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which has become one of the largest cultural organisations in the world. In 1415 a Hohenzollern Burgrave came from the south to the March of Brandenburg and took control of the area as elector. In 1417 the Hohenzollern was made a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. After the Polish wars, the newly established Baltic towns of the German states, including Prussia, suffered many economic setbacks. Many of the Prussian towns could not afford to attend political meetings outside of Prussia; the towns were poverty-stricken, with the largest town, had to borrow money from elsewhere to pay for trade. Poverty in these towns was caused by Prussia's neighbours, who had established and developed such a monopoly on trading that these new towns could not compete; these issues led to feuds, trade competition and invasions. However, the fall of these towns gave rise to the nobility, separated the east and the west, allowed the urban middle class of Brandenburg to prosper.

It was clear in 1440 how different Brandenburg from the other German territories was, as it faced two dangers that the other German territories did not, partition from within and the threat of invasion by its neighbours. It prevented partition by enacting the Dispositio Achillea, which instilled the principle of primogeniture to both the Brandenburg and Franconian territories; the second issue was resolved through expansion. Brandenburg was surrounded on every side by neighbours whose boundaries were political. Any neighbour could consume Brandenburg at any moment; the only way to defend herself was to absorb her neighbours. Through negotiations and marriages Brandenburg but expanded her borders, absorbing neighbours and eliminating the threat of attack; the Hohenzollerns were made rulers of the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1518. In 1529 the Hohenzollerns secured the reversion of the Duchy of Pomerania after a series of conflicts, acquired its eastern part following the Peace of Westphalia. In 1618 the electors of Brandenburg inherited the Duchy of Prussia, since 1511 ruled by a younger branch of the House of Hohenzollern.

In 1525, Albrecht of Brandenburg, the last grand master of the Teutonic Order, secularized his territory and converted it into a duchy. It was ruled

Sweetpotato bug

The sweetpotato bug is a species of hemipterans in the family Coreidae. Native to Southeast Asia, the species has immigrated to the Pacific Islands. Laying its eggs on the same Leguminosae and Convolvulaceae plants on which it feeds, the female of P. grossipes is protective of her young, notably guarding both eggs and nymphs from predators. Native to Southeast Asia, the species' distribution ranges from Indonesia, throughout Peninsular Malaysia and India; the species has spread including Guam and Hawaii. Brown in color with black legs, individuals grow to be about 2 cm long. Like other Coreidae, P. grossipes is oval-shaped with segmented antennae, a numerously veined forewing membrane, a metathoracic stink gland, enlarged hind tibia. The insect feeds on Leguminosae and Convolvulaceae]plants. In addition to the sweet potato from which it derives its common name, it frequents other plants of the genus Ipomoea, as well as catjang, Clitoria ternatea and the common bean. Since the removal of juice from the stem in the insect's feeding causes the plant to wither and disrupts its production of fruit, P. grossipes is regarded as a pest.

The sweetpotato bug oviposits its eggs on the undersides of leaves or on the stems of the plants on which it feeds, as well as on neighboring sedges. A 1990 study found a mean clutch size of 83 eggs, although some egg deposits numbering twice that have been found representing the collected eggs of several insects; the female of P. grossipes is protective, providing the "best known example" of "maternal care in the large family Coreidae." Mothers guard their eggs and even rushing at the predators that approach them. In addition, P. grossipes generates a strong-smelling fluid from a metathoracic gland with which the mother sprays larger predators through the anal orifice. In spite of this protection, about 20% of the eggs are eaten by predators such as ants, 13% are lost to parasitoid predation by chalcid wasps, which lay their eggs within the eggs of P. grossipes. Losses to unguarded clutches are much higher; the surviving eggs hatch in 15 days. The insect goes through five nymphal stages ranging from 85 days for males to 88 days for females before reaching full maturity.

After the eggs are hatched, the mother remains to guard the gregarious nymphs, feeding them predigested food. Mixed-age nymph groups have been observed, several cases of multiple females guarding one nymph group have been documented. Rare enough that this may be an aberration, the phenomenon may suggest still undisclosed social dimensions to P. grossipes in conjunction with collective egg clutches. Two mothers are cooperating to guard their broods or an unmated female may assist to raise a brood, not hers. Males have been found near nymph groups and may be present to supply protection to the brood

Robert Edward Cruickshank

Robert Edward Cruickshank VC was an Anglo-Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for combat gallantry of the British and Commonwealth forces. Cruickshank was born in Winnipeg in the first of 5 children, he moved to England with his family. In the First World War he volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps, but transferred to the London Scottish Regiment. After being injured in the Battle of the Somme he was returned home to recuperate before transferring to Egypt. While in Egypt, on 1 May 1918, he volunteered to carry a message along the front line where he was hit several times by a sniper. For his continued attempts at climbing the slopes of a wadi whilst wounded and under sniper fire, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. After the war he returned to business work before moving to Southend. After serving in the Home Guard as a Major in the Second World War, he served on several local organisations and committees before dying in Leicestershire in 1961, his medal was donated to his regimental museum.

Cruickshank was born in Winnipeg in the first born of 5 children. His two brothers and two sisters were born in England, his youngest brother, died at the age of 10 in 1913, tripping as he alighted from a moving tram and fracturing his skull. He had been out shopping with a friend to buy a Scout's cape, his middle brother, Percy volunteered for the Army, was killed while serving in the Royal Fusiliers on the Western Front in 1917, aged 19. He is buried in France. Cruickshank moved to England at the age of 3, his father had been working with the Canadian Pacific Railway as an accountant. After the family arrived in England they lived in Islington according to the 1891 Census but by the 1901 Census had moved to Woodford. From 1903–1904 he was educated at Bancroft's School, Essex. After leaving school, he worked as a travelling salesman, joining first Lipton the Lever Company, he was interested in military matters and joined The City of London Yeomanry, a volunteer unit 1908–1911. At some stage his family moved to Harringay, North London, he became involved in the Scouting movement shortly after it was established.

He became an Assistant Scoutmaster. He was involved in local politics and was noted as a good speaker, he supported Percy Alden MP in several election campaigns. After war was declared, he volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps, but transferred to the London Scottish Regiment. After training he was posted to the 1st Battalion in France, where he was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in September 1916 at Leuze Wood, he was evacuated to England, but after recovering, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion and joined them first in Salonika prior to it embarking to Egypt. He was 29 years old, a Private in the 2/14th Battalion, The London Regiment, British Army when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. On 1 May 1918 east of the Jordan River, Palestine, in the midst of a pitched battle against Turkish troops, Private Cruickshank volunteered to take a message to company headquarters from his platoon, in the bottom of a wadi, with its officer and most of the men casualties; the official War Office citation gave the following account: The platoon to which Private Cruickshank belonged came under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire at short range and was led down a steep bank into a wadi, most of the men being hit before they reached the bottom.

After reaching the bottom of the wadi the officer in command was shot dead, the sergeant who took over command sent a runner back to Company Headquarters asking for support, but was mortally wounded immediately after. C. O. Believing the first messenger to have been killed, called for a volunteer to take a second message back. Private Cruickshank responded and rushed up the slope, but was hit and rolled back into the wadi bottom, he again rose and rushed up the slope, being again wounded, rolled back into the wadi. After his wounds had been dressed he again fell badly wounded. Being now unable to stand he rolled himself back amid a hail of bullets, his wounds were now of such a nature as to preclude him making any further attempt and he lay all day in a dangerous position, being sniped at and again wounded here he lay. He displayed the utmost valour and endurance, was cheerful and uncomplaining throughout. Citation for Private Robert Edward Cruickshank, Lond. R. Following the action he was evacuated back to England where he recovered from his wounds, was feted as a hero.

He received his VC at Buckingham Palace on 24 his mother and fiancée attending. Following the First World War he at some time moved to Southend, he had rejoined Lever Brothers, worked for them for the next 34 years, involved with the sales of margarine. In Southend and Essex he became involved with the British Legion, serving on several committees and acted as Chairman. In the mid-1930s work took him and Gwendoline to Glen Parva, where they settled for the remainder of their lives; when the Second World was declared Cruickshank volunteered for the Home Guard and he achieved the rank of Major. Following the war, he served for many years on various local organisations the Glen Parva Parish Council where he served as their Chairman for 14 years, retiring only shortly before his death, he was an active attendee at Regimental reunions, kept close ties with former comrades