Apart from the fact that the crimes committed by Nazi Germany attached a weight of moral guilt to the German name that has lasted to the present day, the most important legacy of Hitler’s regime was the immediate consequence of total defeat which made 1945 another decisive turning point in the course of German history. For the time being, the end of Hitler’s Germany also marked the end of the German nation-state. And Hitler had not only undone Bismarck’s achievement but also gambled away the heartlands of this nineteenth-century Reich, because the Allied victors, determined to eradicate German militarism and authoritarianism, formally abolished Prussia by decree on 25 February 1947.
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