Prussian Traits

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Preußische Tugenden (I thought that these to a degree approximated some of the Stoic values) refers to the ‘virtues’ associated with the Kingdom of Prussia (The historical driver of German unification… although… it wasn’t really a ‘Kingdom’… they just didn’t want to be left out). These traits or virtues were integrated into the militarism and the ethical code of the Prussian Army (there wasn’t a clear distinction between state and the military)

‘While most states have an army the Prussian army has a state’ – Voltaire

These ‘bourgeois’ values were heavily influenced by Lutheranism and Calvinism and as time has passed also significantly influenced wider German culture, in so far as they have become analogous to the contemporary German stereotypes of efficiency, austerity, and discipline.

  • Austerity or Thrift (Sparsamkeit)
  • Courage (Mut)
  • Determination (Zielstrebigkeit)
  • Discipline (Disziplin)
  • Fortitude without self-pity (Tapferkeit ohne Wehleidigkeit): Lerne leiden ohne zu klagen(“Learn to suffer without complaining”)
  • Frankness (Redlichkeit)
  • Godliness coupled with religious tolerance (Gottesfurcht bei religiöser Toleranz): Jeder soll nach seiner Façon selig werden(“Let everyone find salvation according to his own beliefs”)
  • Humility (Bescheidenheit)
  • Incorruptibility (Unbestechlichkeit)
  • Industriousness (Fleiß)
  • Loyalty (Treue)
  • Obedience (Gehorsam): Seid gehorsam, doch nicht ohne Freimut(“Be obedient, but not without frankness”)
  • Punctuality (Pünktlichkeit)
  • Reliability (Zuverlässigkeit)
  • Restraint (Zurückhaltung)
  • Self-denial(Selbstverleugnung)
  • Self-effacement (Zurückhaltung): Mehr sein als scheinen!(“More substance than semblance!”)
  • Sense of Duty or Conscientiousness (Pflichtbewusstsein)
  • Sense of Justice (Gerechtigkeitssinn): Jedem das Seine or Suum cuique (“May all get their due”)
  • Sense of order (Ordnungssinn)
  • Sincerity (Aufrichtigkeit)
  • Straightforwardness (Geradlinigkeit)
  • Toughness (Härte): Gegen sich mehr noch als gegen andere(“Be even harder on yourself than on others”)