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, although 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 more unifying the many German states caused revolution throughout the German states, with each wanting their own constitution. Attempts at creation of 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, this was due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. 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 an 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, having 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 was from the other German territories, 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 Hohenzollerns inherited the Duchy of Prussia, since 1511 ruled by Hohenzollern Albrecht of Brandenburg Prussia, who in 1525 converted the Teutonic Order ruled state to a Protestant Duchy by accepting fiefdom of the crown of Poland.
It was ruled in a personal union with Brandenburg
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890 and was the first Chancellor of the German Empire between 1871 and 1890. In 1862, King Wilhelm I appointed Bismarck as Minister President of Prussia, a position he would hold until 1890, with the exception of a short break in 1873, he provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark and France. Following the victory against Austria, he abolished the supranational German Confederation and instead formed the North German Confederation as the first German national state in 1867, leading it as Federal Chancellor; this aligned the smaller North German states behind Prussia. Receiving the support of the independent South German states in the Confederation's defeat of France, he formed the German Empire in 1871, unifying Germany with himself as Imperial Chancellor, while retaining control of Prussia at the same time.
The new German nation excluded Austria, Prussia's main opponent for predominance among the German states. With that accomplished by 1871, he skillfully used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany's position in a Europe which, despite many disputes and war scares, remained at peace. For historian Eric Hobsbawm, it was Bismarck who "remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for twenty years after 1871, devoted himself and to maintaining peace between the powers". However, his annexation of Alsace-Lorraine gave new fuel to French nationalism and promoted Germanophobia in France; this helped set the stage for the First World War. Bismarck's diplomacy of realpolitik and powerful rule at home gained him the nickname the "Iron Chancellor". German unification and its rapid economic growth was the foundation to his foreign policy, he disliked colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when it was demanded by both elite and mass opinion. Juggling a complex interlocking series of conferences and alliances, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain Germany's position and used the balance of power to keep Europe at peace in the 1870s and 1880s.
A master of complex politics at home, Bismarck created the first welfare state in the modern world, with the goal of gaining working class support that might otherwise go to his Socialist enemies. In the 1870s, he allied himself with the Liberals and fought the Catholic Church in what was called the Kulturkampf, he lost that battle as the Catholics responded by forming a powerful Centre party and using universal male suffrage to gain a bloc of seats. Bismarck reversed himself, ended the Kulturkampf, broke with the Liberals, imposed protective tariffs, formed a political alliance with the Centre Party to fight the Socialists. A devout Lutheran, he was loyal to his king, who argued with Bismarck but in the end supported him against the advice of his wife and his heir. While the Reichstag, Germany's parliament, was elected by universal male suffrage, it did not have much control of government policy. Bismarck distrusted democracy and ruled through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with power in the hands of a traditional Junker elite that consisted of the landed nobility in eastern Prussia.
Under Wilhelm I, Bismarck controlled domestic and foreign affairs, until he was removed by the young Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1890, at the age of seventy-five. Bismarck – a Junker himself – was strong-willed and overbearing, but he could be polite and witty, he displayed a violent temper, he kept his power by melodramatically threatening resignation time and again, which cowed Wilhelm I. He possessed not only a long-term national and international vision but the short-term ability to juggle complex developments; as the leader of what historians call "revolutionary conservatism", Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists. Many historians praise him as a visionary, instrumental in uniting Germany and, once, accomplished, kept the peace in Europe through adroit diplomacy. Bismarck was born in Schönhausen, a wealthy family estate situated west of Berlin in the Prussian province of Saxony, his father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck, was a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer.
He had two siblings: his younger sister Malwine. The world saw Bismarck as a typical Prussian Junker, an image that he encouraged by wearing military uniforms. Bismarck was well cosmopolitan with a gift for conversation. In addition to his native German, he was fluent in English, Italian and Russian. Bismarck was educated at Johann Ernst Plamann's elementary school, the Friedrich-Wilhelm and Graues Kloster secondary schools. From 1832 to 1833, he studied law at the University of Göttingen, where he was a member of the Corps Hannovera, enrolled at the University of Berlin. In 1838, while stationed as an army reservist in Greifswald, he studied agriculture at the University of Greifswald. At Göttingen, Bismarck befriended the American student John Lothrop Motley. Motley, who became an eminent historian and diplomat while remaining close to Bismarck, wrote a novel in 1839, Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial, about l
Margraviate of Brandenburg
The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806 that played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe. Brandenburg developed out of the Northern March founded in the territory of the Slavic Wends, it derived one of its names from the March of Brandenburg. Its ruling margraves were established as prestigious prince-electors in the Golden Bull of 1356, allowing them to vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor; the state thus became additionally known as the Electorate of Brandenburg. The House of Hohenzollern came to the throne of Brandenburg in 1415. In 1417, Frederick I moved its capital from Brandenburg an der Havel to Berlin. Under Hohenzollern leadership, Brandenburg grew in power during the 17th century and inherited the Duchy of Prussia; the resulting Brandenburg-Prussia was the predecessor of the Kingdom of Prussia, which became a leading German state during the 18th century. Although the electors' highest title was "King in/of Prussia", their power base remained in Brandenburg and its capital Berlin.
The Margraviate of Brandenburg ended with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. It was replaced after the Napoleonic Wars with the Prussian Province of Brandenburg in 1815; the Hohenzollern Kingdom of Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the creation of the German Empire in 1871. As Prussia was the legal predecessor of the united German Reich of 1871–1945, as such a direct ancestor of the present-day Federal Republic of Germany, Brandenburg is one of the earliest linear ancestors of present-day Germany; the Mark Brandenburg is still used informally today to refer to the present German state of Brandenburg. The territory of the former margraviate known as the Mark Brandenburg, lies in present-day eastern Germany and western Poland. Geographically it encompassed the majority of the present-day German states Brandenburg and Berlin, the Altmark, the Neumark. Parts of the present-day federal state Brandenburg, such as Lower Lusatia and territory, Saxon until 1815, were not parts of the Mark.
Colloquially but not the federal state Brandenburg is sometimes identified as the Mark or Mark Brandenburg. The region was formed during the ice age and characterized by moraines, glacial valleys, numerous lakes; the territory march because it was a border county of the Holy Roman Empire. The Mark is defined by two depressions; the depressions are taken up by rivers and chains of lakes with marsh and boggy soil along the shores. The Northern or Baltic Uplands of the Mecklenburg Lake Plateau have only minor extensions into Brandenburg; the 230 km-long range of hills in the Mark's south begins in the Lusatian Highlands and continues past Trzebiel and Spremberg to the northwest through Calau, ends in the bare and dry Fläming. The southern depression is to the north of this ridge and appears strikingly in the Spreewald; the northern depression, lying directly south of the Baltic uplands, is defined by the lowlands of the Noteć and Warta Rivers, the Oderbruch, the valley of the Finow, the Havelland moor, the Oder River.
Between these two depressions is a low plateau that extends from the Poznań area westward to Brandenburg through Torzym, the Spree plateau, the Mittelmark. From southeast to northwest, this plateau is intersected by the lowland of the Leniwa Obra and the Oder River below the confluence of the Lusatian Neisse, the lower Spree Valley, the Havel Valley. Between these valleys rise a series of hills and plateaus, such as the Barnim, the Teltow, the Semmelberg near Bad Freienwalde, the Müggelberge in Köpenick, the Havelberge, the Rauen Hills near Fürstenwalde; the region is predominantly marked by dry, sandy soil, wide stretches of which have pine trees and erica plants, or heath. However, the soil is loamy in the uplands and plateaus and, when farmed appropriately, can be agriculturally productive. Mark Brandenburg has a cool, continental climate, with temperatures averaging near 0 °C in January and February and near 18 °C in July and August. Precipitation averages between 500 mm and 600 mm annually, with a modest summer maximum.
By the 8th century, Slavic Wends, such as the Sprewane and Hevelli, started to move into the Brandenburg area. They intermarried with Bohemians; the Bishoprics of Brandenburg and Havelberg were established at the beginning of the 10th century. They were suffragan to the Archbishopric of Mainz. King Henry the Fowler started governing in the region in 928–9, allowing Emperor Otto I to establish the Northern March under Margrave Gero in 936 during the German Ostsiedlung. However, the march and the bishoprics were overthrown by a Slavic rebellion in 983. Though the bishopric was retained. Prince Pribislav of the Hevelli came to power at the castle of Brenna in 1127. During Pribislav's reign, in which he cultivated close connections with the Germ
The Regionalbahn is a type of local passenger train in Austria and Germany. Regionalbahn trains call at all stations on a given line, with the exception of RB trains within S-Bahn networks, these may only call at selected stations. Thus, they rank below the Regional-Express train, which stops only at selected stations on its route. RB trains are subject to franchising by the federal states of Germany. There is no obligation to use the term Regionalbahn for basic local services. RB services make use of vastly different types of rolling stock. List of regional rail lines in North Rhine-Westphalia Train categories in Europe Regional rail
Soviet Military Administration in Germany
The Soviet Military Administration in Germany was the Soviet military government, headquartered in Berlin-Karlshorst, that directly ruled the Soviet occupation zone of Germany from the German surrender in May 1945 until after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic in October 1949. According to the Potsdam Agreement in 1945, the SMAD was assigned the eastern portion of present-day Germany, consisting of central Prussia. Prussia was dissolved by the Allies in 1947 and this area was divided between several German states. German lands east of the Oder-Neisse line were annexed by Soviet Union or granted to Poland, Germans living in these areas were forcibly expelled, having had their property expropriated and been robbed of most of their belongings whilst in transit to the American and Soviet zones. Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgi Zhukov, supreme head of SMAG, 1945–46 Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Sokolovsky, supreme head of SMAG, 1946–49 Major general Sergei Ivanovich Tiulpanov, director of the Propaganda Administration Colonel general Vladimir Kurasov, chief of staff The main purpose of the SMAD was to maintain the unity of Germany.
It had to deal with refugees, such as those resettled from Poland, the homeless, former German soldiers. Resources were short, the economy needed to be shifted from wartime production to peacetime. However, the Soviets were concerned with their own well-being, dismantled entire factories and railroads to be reassembled in the USSR. In late 1945 a land reform confiscated the land of German nobles, to be given to cottagers and landless farmhands. Banks were nationalized that year. In 1946 an education reform established separation of church and state in elementary schools, heavy industries were nationalized under the guise of confiscation of the property of Nazi war criminals; the SMAD set up ten "special camps" for the detention of Germans, some of them former Nazi concentration camps. A decree of 10 June 1945 allowed for the formation of antifascist democratic political parties and called for elections in October 1946. A coalition of four parties was formed in July, consisting of the Communist, Social Democratic, Christian Democratic, Liberal Democratic parties.
This coalition was known as the National Front. In April 1946 the KPD and SPD merged under Soviet pressure into the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. In the October 1946 elections, the SED won in the East German states, but lost in Greater Berlin to the local SPD, which had not merged with the KPD there. In May 1949, when a West German government began to be formed, a German People's Congress was elected for the Soviet occupation zone. However, the only options voters had were to approve or reject "unity lists" of pre-picked candidates from the various parties made up of communists. About two-thirds of East Germans approved the list for the new Congress. In November 1948, the German Economic Commission assumed administrative authority in East Germany under Soviet supervision. On 7 October 1949, the German People's Congress formed a provisional government and established the German Democratic Republic with Wilhelm Pieck as its first president. On 5 November 1949, the SMAD was replaced by the Soviet Control Commission.
However, the SKK did not formally turn over administrative responsibilities to the GDR government until 11 November 1949. Soviet Occupation Zone Group of Soviet Forces in Germany Allied Occupation Zones in Germany German Economic Commission Merger of the KPD and SPD into the Socialist Unity Party of Germany German People's Congress German People's Council People's Control Commission World History at KMLA: History of East Germany
Vehicle registration plate
A vehicle registration plate known as a number plate or a license plate, is a metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. All countries require registration plates for road vehicles such as cars and motorcycles. Whether they are required for other vehicles, such as bicycles, boats, or tractors, may vary by jurisdiction; the registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric ID that uniquely identifies the vehicle owner within the issuing region's vehicle register. In some countries, the identifier is unique within the entire country, while in others it is unique within a state or province. Whether the identifier is associated with a vehicle or a person varies by issuing agency. There are electronic license plates. Most governments require a registration plate to be attached to both the front and rear of a vehicle, although certain jurisdictions or vehicle types, such as motorboats, require only one plate, attached to the rear of the vehicle.
National databases relate this number to other information describing the vehicle, such as the make, colour, year of manufacture, engine size, type of fuel used, mileage recorded, vehicle identification number, the name and address of the vehicle's registered owner or keeper. In the vast majority of jurisdictions, the government holds a monopoly on the manufacturing of vehicle registration plates for that jurisdiction. Either a government agency or a private company with express contractual authorization from the government makes plates as needed, which are mailed to, delivered to, or picked up by the vehicle owners. Thus, it is illegal for private citizens to make and affix their own plates, because such unauthorized private manufacturing is equivalent to forging an official document. Alternatively, the government will assign plate numbers, it is the vehicle owner's responsibility to find an approved private supplier to make a plate with that number. In some jurisdictions, plates will be permanently assigned to that particular vehicle for its lifetime.
If the vehicle is either destroyed or exported to a different country, the plate number is retired or reissued. China requires the re-registration of any vehicle that crosses its borders from another country, such as for overland tourist visits, regardless of the length of time it is due to remain there. Other jurisdictions follow a "plate-to-owner" policy, meaning that when a vehicle is sold the seller removes the current plate from the vehicle. Buyers must either obtain new plates or attach plates they hold, as well as register their vehicles under the buyer's name and plate number. A person who sells a car and purchases a new one can apply to have the old plates put onto the new car. One who sells a car and does not buy a new one may, depending on the local laws involved, have to turn the old plates in or destroy them, or may be permitted to keep them; some jurisdictions permit the registration of the vehicle with "personal" plates. In some jurisdictions, plates require periodic replacement associated with a design change of the plate itself.
Vehicle owners may or may not have the option to keep their original plate number, may have to pay a fee to exercise this option. Alternately, or additionally, vehicle owners have to replace a small decal on the plate or use a decal on the windshield to indicate the expiration date of the vehicle registration, periodic safety and/or emissions inspections or vehicle taxation. Other jurisdictions have replaced the decal requirement through the use of computerization: a central database maintains records of which plate numbers are associated with expired registrations, communicating with automated number plate readers to enable law-enforcement to identify expired registrations in the field. Plates are fixed directly to a vehicle or to a plate frame, fixed to the vehicle. Sometimes, the plate frames contain advertisements inserted by the vehicle service centre or the dealership from which the vehicle was purchased. Vehicle owners can purchase customized frames to replace the original frames. In some jurisdictions registration plate frames have design restrictions.
For example, many states, like Texas, allow plate frames but prohibit plate frames from covering the name of the state, district, Native American tribe or country that issued of license plate. Plates are designed to conform to standards with regard to being read by eye in day or at night, or by electronic equipment; some drivers purchase clear, smoke-colored or tinted covers that go over the registration plate to prevent electronic equipment from scanning the registration plate. Legality of these covers varies; some cameras incorporate filter systems that make such avoidance attempts unworkable with infra-red filters. Vehicles pulling trailers, such as caravans and semi-trailer trucks, are required to display a third registration plate on the rear of the trailer. An engineering study by the University of Illinois published in 1960 recommended that the state of Illinois adopt a numbering system and plate design "composed of combinations of characters which can be perceived and are legible at a distance of 125 feet under daylight conditions, are adapted to filing and administrative procedures".
It recommended that a standard plate size of 6 inches by 14 inches be adopte
Baroque architecture is the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late 16th-century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion to express the triumph of the Catholic Church. It was characterized by new explorations of form and shadow, dramatic intensity. Common features of Baroque architecture included gigantism of proportions. Whereas the Renaissance drew on the wealth and power of the Italian courts and was a blend of secular and religious forces, the Baroque was at least, directly linked to the Counter-Reformation, a movement within the Catholic Church to reform itself in response to the Protestant Reformation. Baroque architecture and its embellishments were on the one hand more accessible to the emotions and on the other hand, a visible statement of the wealth and power of the Catholic Church; the new style manifested itself in particular in the context of the new religious orders, like the Theatines and the Jesuits who aimed to improve popular piety.
Lutheran Baroque art, such as the example of Dresden Frauenkirche, developed as a confessional marker of identity, in response to the Great Iconoclasm of Calvinists. The architecture of the High Roman Baroque can be assigned to the papal reigns of Urban VIII, Innocent X and Alexander VII, spanning from 1623 to 1667; the three principal architects of this period were the sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and the painter Pietro da Cortona and each evolved his own distinctively individual architectural expression. Dissemination of Baroque architecture to the south of Italy resulted in regional variations such as Sicilian Baroque architecture or that of Naples and Lecce. To the north, the Theatine architect Camillo-Guarino Guarini, Bernardo Vittone and Sicilian born Filippo Juvarra contributed Baroque buildings to the city of Turin and the Piedmont region. A synthesis of Bernini and Cortona's architecture can be seen in the late Baroque architecture of northern Europe, which paved the way for the more decorative Rococo style.
By the middle of the 17th century, the Baroque style had found its secular expression in the form of grand palaces, first in France—with the Château de Maisons near Paris by François Mansart—and throughout Europe. During the 17th century, Baroque architecture spread through Europe and Latin America, where it was promoted by the Jesuits. Michelangelo's late Roman buildings St. Peter's Basilica, may be considered precursors to Baroque architecture, his pupil Giacomo della Porta continued this work in Rome in the façade of the Jesuit church Il Gesù, which leads directly to the most important church façade of the early Baroque, Santa Susanna, by Carlo Maderno. Distinctive features of Baroque architecture can include: in churches, broader naves and sometimes given oval forms fragmentary or deliberately incomplete architectural elements dramatic use of light. Colonialism required the development of centralized and powerful governments with Spain and France, the first to move in this direction. Colonialism brought in huge amounts of wealth, not only in the silver, extracted from the mines in Bolivia and elsewhere, but in the resultant trade in commodities, such as sugar and tobacco.
The need to control trade routes and slavery, which lay in the hands of the French during the 17th century, created an endless cycle of wars between the colonial powers: the French religious wars, the Thirty Years' War, Franco–Spanish War, the Franco-Dutch War, so on. The initial mismanagement of colonial wealth by the Spaniards bankrupted them in the 16th century, recovering only in the following century; this explains why the Baroque style, though enthusiastically developed throughout the Spanish Empire, was to a large extent, in Spain, an architecture of surfaces and façades, unlike in France and Austria, where we see the construction of numerous huge palaces and monasteries. In contrast to Spain, the French, under Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the minister of finance, had begun to industrialize their economy, thus, were able to become at least, the benefactors of the flow of wealth. While this was good for the building in