From August 15 to November 15, 1981, the exhibition Prussia – An Appraisal Attempt [Preußen – Versuch einer Bilanz] was on view at West Berlin’s Martin Gropius Bau as part of the Berliner Festspiele. According to its organizers, the exhibition aimed to show that Prussia “had a role in both promoting and hindering many developments in German history.” The exhibition drew approximately 450,000 visitors—it was an unexpected public success and helped stimulated a public debate on Prussia’s role in German history. In the GDR, the image of Prussia was also beginning to evolve, a process that had started in the late 1970s with the TV movie Scharnhorst (1978) and Ingrid Mittenzwei’s biography of Frederick II of Prussia (1980). In November 1980, Erich Honecker had personally ordered the return of the equestrian sculpture of Frederick II to its former spot on Unter den Linden.

Exhibition Guide: Prussia – An Appraisal Attempt (1981)


Source: Prussia – An Appraisal Attempt. An exhibition organized by the Berliner Festspiele GmbH, August 15November 15, 1981, Gropius-Bau. Catalog in five volumes; volume 1: Exhibition Guide. Edited by Gottfried Korff. Text by Winfried Ranke. With numerous, mostly color illustrations and maps. Foreword by the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Dr. Richard von Weizsäcker.

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