Mentalność pruska, mieszczańska, protestancka czy kapitalistyczna? Prusy 1806-1871
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Which Mentality: Prussian, Bourgeois, Protestant or Capitalist? Prussia 1806-1871
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The central category in the life of the Prussian bourgeoisie was work and this opinion is accepted by the admirers of the notion of the Prussian mentality. In the case of the Prussian state, work ethic was implemented primarily by the educated middle class, as the economic middle class was poor and did not have its own clear habitus. The Junkers were related to militarism, as the most important feature of the Prussian nobility, but also to social training, and great organizational successes. Moreover, the social, economic, cultural and ideological superstructure contributed to the creation of the mythology of the Prussian state and dynasty. The most important value for officers was honour which was adapted from the nobility. The traditional, military instrument of its defence was duels. Prussian virtues included also: progressiveness, modernity (understood as overcoming the state order), selflessness (unconditional dedication to the state), aggressiveness, tolerance, the rule of law and equality before the law, obedience, discipline, awareness of one’s duty, dignity, defence of one’s independence, personal restraint, frugality, respect for public property, incorruptibility, honesty, respect for education, courage and bravery. Moreover, the image of Poland and Poles in Prussia played a crucial role in the mental orientation of Prussians. A negative image of Poles, the metaphor of “polnische Wirtschaft”, co-created the modern German national identity in Prussia as their opposite.
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