The Prussian Military State

  • Dennis E. Showalter


The aphorism usually attributed to the French statesman Count Mirabeau, that Prussia was not a country with an army but an army with a country, remains two centuries later a common way of introducing a discussion of eighteenth-century Prussia. Throughout absolutist Europe military expenses made up a major share of state budgets. But where 20 or 30 per cent was the norm elsewhere, the Prussian army regularly accounted for as much as three-quarters of public expenditure — and that in times of profound peace. In political, social and cultural terms as well, Prussia was generally recognized by its neighbours as centring on its army to a degree unknown elsewhere. Finally, that military focus seemed to be widely accepted at all levels and in all corners of a Prussia whose subjects were by any discernible standard no less content than those of other states.


Eighteenth Century Military Service Great Elector Military State Horror Story 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

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  • Dennis E. Showalter

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