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6   DAYS OF PREPARATION

achieved the headship of the German Empire, but has succeeded to a very large measure in stamping her principles upon the life and practice of the whole people. After a long and painful subservience to Napoleon from 1806 to 1815, Prussia came into her own after Waterloo. The great Corsican had ground her into the very dust, shorn her of her lands, reduced her army to a nominal one of 42,000 men, and compelled this force to serve him in his disastrous venture against Russia in 1812. After the British and Prussian victory over Napoleon in 1815, Prussia began to unbuild. She and Austria were nominally members of a Germanic Federation, which included thirty-nine separate German States, some of considerable size, others so insignificant as to excite ridicule. From the others Prussia always stood in some respect aloof. With the more enlightened States she had smallest sympathy. The efforts of the latter to achieve political freedom were regarded scornfully by the Northern swashbuckler. Taken as a whole the years from 1815 to 1860 were happy and prosperous ones for the German States, and letters, music, and philosophy flourished among a good-natured and rather indolent people. There was, however, one section of the land that looked with contempt and displeasure on the Germany of culture, as it was understood by the Old World. In Brandenburg, Pomerania, and East Prussia was an old junker aristocracy, a lusty, timber-minded people, proud of long lineage, arrogant, overbearing, unlettered. Men of brawn rather than brain, whose god was Frederick the Great, whose ideals were medieval, whose aspirations conquest by the sword. Men of blood and iron, and little else.

Culture, freedom, parliamentary government they despised. In mental outlook they ranked with the Norse Viking of the ninth and tenth centuries ; the Berserker ideals were theirs, beneath a thin veneer of latter day civilisation. They had little influence outside their own borders, were somewhat feared and much


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