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German History in Documents and Images
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Prussia – Attempting an Assessment, Exhibition Guide (1981)
From August 15 to November 15, 1981, the exhibition “Prussia – Attempting an Assessment” [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 the Great to its former spot on Unter den Linden.