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An Army Without a Country: Prussia’s Cult of the Military and the Road to World War One

December 31, 2020
00:00 01:03:22
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Almost no society worshipped its military as much as the German state of Prussia in the 1700s-1800s (outside of ancient Sparta). Prussia was famously described as not a country with an army but an army with a country. That's because during the 18th century when other European states spent 20-30 of their annual budget on the military, the Prussian army regularly accounted for as much as three-quarters of public expenditure — even in times of peace. And this expenditure was widely accepted in all levels of Prussian society.

In this episode we will look at:
• How Prussia was a hinge point between medieval and modern armies
• How militaries evolved from aristocratic officers who treated enlisted men like slaves into the army being a great equalizer that unites a nation.
• Why Frederick the Great was a military genius that Napoleon worshipped.
• Why the Prussian military was the forge that created Germany and created a militaristic society that led to World War One.

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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to
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