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Abstract

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.

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© 2004 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

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Showalter, D.E. (2004). The Prussian Military State. In: Mortimer, G. (eds) Early Modern Military History, 1450–1815. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230523982_8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230523982_8

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4039-0697-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-52398-2

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