In 1945 when he was liberated by the Americans, Konrad Adenauer told them that there are two Germanies: the Germany of Austria and Roman Civilisation and the Germany of Prussia, Militarism and the will-to-power. He would devote his life to ensuring the victory of the former over the latter. He also warned that if Berlin ever again became the Capital of Germany Prussia would be spiritually reborn.

Adenauer was a wily politician but in this respect he allowed his skills to defeat his objectives. The obvious way to eradicate Berlin as the capital of Germany would be to fix the capital of the Federal Republic in a more appropriate location belonging to the authentic pre-Prussian history of Germany such as Frankfurt. There was even a parliament building constructed there. But Adenauer in the end went for Bonn, a place without historic resonance and so obviously temporary. Frankfurt was an SPD town and Bonn was in Adenauer’s heartland. With the 48-49 Airlift and the fall of the Wall in 1989 Berlin acquired sufficient heroic status to shake off the stigma of Prussianism and retrieve its position as Capital of Germany.

Prussia was the first Protestant state. It was born out of the opportunistic secularisation of the lands of the Teutonic Order (not a nice organisation in the first place) by its Grand Master. Albert of Hohenzollern was invested with the Duchy of Prussia by Sigismund I the Old of Poland on 10th February 1525. Through the carelessness and impiety of the White Eagle the Black would rise to dominate Germany, devour its patron with the complicity of Russia and Austria, and in 1871 usurp the Imperial crown. As Dom Gueranger lamented,

“Christendom is no more. Upon its ruins, like a woful mimicry of the Holy Empire, Protestantism has raised its false evangelical empire, formed of nought but encroachments, and tracing its recognized origin to the apostasy of that felon knight Albert of Brandenburg.”

Finally, in 1914, under the psychotic Wilhelm II, Prussia would lead Russia and Austria (last representatives of the temporal power of Rome and Constantinople) to annihilation in the bloodbath of the Great War.

But this was not the end. After 1918 Prussia remained in the bloated condition of 1869 within the new German republic. The Black, Red and Gold flag of Austria and the Liberal Nationalists was adopted but when the Nazis came to power the Black, White and Red of 1871 was restored. In early 1933 faced with deadlock between the new Nazi led government and the Reichstag, President Hindenburg dissolved the legislature and called new elections. In the meantime the Reichstag building in Berlin was set on fire either by a Dutch Communist or by the Nazi’s themselves (opinion remains divided). Hitler needed to win the confidence of the old Prussian military establishment if he was to win for himself dictatorial powers. Hindenburg had already suspended normal protections from arbitrary arrest in response to the fire. Hitler chose to hold the inaugural session of the new chamber in the Garrison Church in Potsdam the burial place of Frederick William I and Frederick II (the embodiment of amoral Prussian statecraft). He wore mourning clothes and behaved with extravagant deference to Hindenburg.

Two days later he managed to push the Enabling Act through the Reichstag giving him dictatorial powers for four years. On the day before the death of President Hindenburg in August 1934 it was decreed by the cabinet that the office of President would lapse and Hitler would become head of state and government as Leader and Chancellor of the German Reich. The army swore a personal oath of loyalty to him in this capacity. This final fateful act was un-elicited and not expected by Hitler.

The Garrison Church in Potsdam was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945 and the ruins later demolished. On 14th April 2005, the anniversary of its destruction, a new foundation stone was laid. New bells have already been cast for the church and temporarily mounted. They have interesting names such as: East Prussia, Königsberg, Silesia, Breslau, Pomerania and Stettin. Its reopening is scheduled for 31st October 2017 the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation.

Sicut canis qui revertitur ad vomitum suum, sic imprudens qui iterat stultitiam suam.

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