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Prussia was for many centuries a major power in north-central Europe, based around the cities of Berlin and Königsberg, and rose to particular prominence during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Following its victory in the Austro-Prussian War, Prussia became the driving force in creating a German Empire that excluded Austria (a Kleindeutsches Reich) and in 1871 King Wilhelm I of Prussia became German Emperor.

Following the First World War, after the abdication of German Emperor Wilhelm II who was also King of Prussia and the abolition of the Monarchy, the new Free State of Prussia bore most of Germany’s territorial losses but remained the dominant state of the Weimar Republic. During the Nazi era, the states of the Weimar Republic remained but were sidelined. Following World War II almost all of Germany’s territorial losses were from areas that had been part of Prussia.

Prussia was abolished by Control Council Law No. 46, passed by the Allied occupation authorities, on February 25, 1947.

This resulted in the 1954 disbanding of the Prussian Academy of Arts. In 1972 the Prussian Academy of Sciences was renamed. It was abolished and replaced by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 1992 as part of German Reunification.

Control Council Law No. 46:

The Prussian State which from early days has been a bearer of militarism and reaction in Germany has de facto ceased to exist.

Guided by the interests of preservation of peace and security of peoples and with the desire to assure further reconstruction of the political life of Germany on a democratic basis, the Control Council enacts as follows:

Article I
The Prussian State together with its central government and all its agencies are abolished.

Article II
Territories which were a part of the Prussian State and which are at present under the supreme authority of the Control Council will receive the status of Länder or will be absorbed into Länder.
The provisions of this Article are subject to such revision and other provisions as may be agreed upon by the Control Council, or as may be laid down in the future Constitution of Germany.

Article III
The State and administrative functions as well as the assets and liabilities of the former Prussian State will be transferred to appropriate Länder, subject to such agreements as may be necessary and made by the Allied Control Council.

Article IV
This law becomes effective on the day of its signature.
Signed in Berlin on February 25, 1947.