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The Prussians are coming

Troops in Afghanistan and a shaky eurozone have left Germany searching for ways to redefine itself. Can the militaristic values of the old kingdom of Prussia fill the gap?

By Roger Boyes   February 2011

Those were the days: “The proclamation of Prussian king Wilhelm I as Emperor of Germany at Versailles in 1871,” by Anton von Werner

When politicians visit the troops in Afghanistan, their schedules and speeches are adapted to the relentless rhythm of 24-hour TV news. Although they may be sweating buckets under their body armour, they know that a calm, statesmanlike soundbite is the essence of their trip—the cartilage that connects combat, injury and death in a distant land to the voters at home. But when Angela Merkel paid a visit to dusty Kunduz province in December, her address to the…

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