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"How to; "Altpreußischer konservativ" (?)" Topic

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541 hits since 30 Apr 2008
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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von Scharnhorst Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 2:42 a.m. PST

O.K. First BILL IT IS NOT POLOTICS!!! I am talking about every day life.

Right. I have been reading a couple of books of late regarding Hindenburg. He is always described as "An Altepreußischer Konservativ" (Old Prussian conservative).

Now this is NOT relating to his politics, although I do not doubt those were effected. BUT what would YOU describe as "an old conservative"?

I mean how would they appear different in running a firm, or a family, or even their own wardrobe, to some one who was "an old Liberal", for instance?

Musketier Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2007 3:43 a.m. PST

I'm afraid this is all about politics, since in the German original, "old" doesn't refer to "conservative", but to "Prussian": The label "altpreussisch" refers to pre-Reform Prussia, and is used to distinguish, say, the 1806 army, officer corps or society in general from the post-reform one. I'll leave you to figure out what that implies when applied to an individual's attitude…

basileus66 Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 3:48 a.m. PST

If I am not wrong for "an Old Prussian Conservative" the historians are trying to categorize a representative individual of the landed aristocracy/gentry from the Eastern provinces of historical Prussia.

They shared a set of values based on a very particular culture, and thus their political stance was pretty different to those conservatives that came, say, from Hamburg or any other commercial/industrial city.

Probably, they were more conservative in the 1918-1933 period -when they felt that their way of life was endangered- than in the period pre-WWI.


von Scharnhorst Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 3:51 a.m. PST

I'm afraid this is all about politics,

No. You can be conservative in your tastes. That is NOT the same as "I vote for Merkel".

SMALL "c". (Or "k" in this case ;) )

50 Dylan CDs and an Icepick Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 3:51 a.m. PST

The original political definition of "conservative" was somebody who supported a hereditary monarchy. That's certainly true of Hindenburg, at least symbolically.

von Scharnhorst Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 3:52 a.m. PST

Thats one point to me then. :-))

Musketier Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2007 4:14 a.m. PST

basileus has the right of it – all I was trying to say is that due to the peculiarities of German syntax, the phrase should more accurately translate as "conservative Old Prussian" With c or k, this is a political label in my book – there's more to politics than parties after all…

Plynkes Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 4:17 a.m. PST

Where I come from "Conservative" and "Liberal" refer to the names of actual political parties, they aren't thrown about in quite the same general way as in America.

Someone can be conservative in a non-political way, but if they are a Conservative then it implies a political affiliation. The word just isn't really used as a noun here other than in reference to the Conservative and Unionist Party, or Tories as they are more commonly known in the vernacular.

So my idea of an old conservative is the wicked witch of the West, Maggie Thatcher. She's getting quite old now.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2007 4:27 a.m. PST

And, still, no-one's thrown water over her!

Mal Wright Fezian Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 4:41 a.m. PST

"And, still, no-one's thrown water over her!"

It evaporated before it touched Maggier Thatcher.

Americans have got a totally limited albeit, 'distorted view' on such things in the English language.

If a man is an 'Old Conservative', it simply means he is conservative in his ways. Careful, non adventurous. He dresses in a manner that is neither outrageous, nor necessarily the latest fashion. But none the less respectable. He is quite the opposite to radical. He may take some time to convince when faced with new ideas.

If he is 'Liberal' in his outlook, then he is careful but more outgoing. May well be a much more snappy dresser than the conservative man, but again not radical in his habits or opinions. A Liberal man is more open to new ideas than a conservative.

I dont know how Americans have come to see anything described as 'Liberal' as too free, or radical. And have to link that and 'conservative' with politics.

When English was first developed America didnt exist, so not everything revolves around the USA. Liberal refers to a political party in Australia too and they are far from radical, but open to new ideas. We also have conservatives, but they are no longer a political force.

It is all in the manner in which the words are used.

un ami Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 6:04 a.m. PST

"An Altepreußischer Konservativ"

The "An" is "on" in English, "sur" usually in French -- it this really there in the texte ?

"Altepreußischer" – Old Prussian, as the colleagues have said

"Konservativ" – with a majiscule "K" he is for sure a German noun …. I am thinking it is meaning he is of the Conservative Lutheran confession, not the Reformed confession.

One so poorly skilled in the language of the Germans as am I could so easily be mis-taken. Perhaps f the contexte of the naming were given, it would be easier to say with less of guessing.

- votre ami

un ami Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 6:11 a.m. PST

I did find him for anglo-phones :

Old Prussia

"was the region extending from the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to the Masurian Lake District"


- votre ami

Ulenspiegel Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 6:44 a.m. PST


Are we talking about

1) einen altpreußischen Konservativen,

2) einen preußischer Altkonservativen or

3) einen alten preußischen Konservativen?

Number 1) died in 1806, so we can choose between 2) and 3) for people in the second half of the 19th century and later.

A slightly confused and amused


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2007 7:19 a.m. PST

Getting back to the original question, I think the sense of it was that Hindenberg identified with the old Junker Prussian aristocracy that Great Fredrick sacrificed in large numbers during the Seven Years War – a socially conservative, not very rich aristocracy whose identity was with the Prussian state and who were (mostly) small landowners.

I think an old conservative (and, where I live, the name also refers to a political party) in this sense is someone who longs for and identifies with traditional values – like Kirke, Kulture, Kinder

jizbrand Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 10:13 a.m. PST

A Liberal man is more open to new ideas than a conservative.

In my youth, I believed that this was true, but unfortunately, experience has not shown that to be the case, in my neck of the woods, at least. "Conservative" means close-minded on the right (whether it is politics, social, or simply preferential). "Liberal" means close-minded on the left (in the same categories).

Plynkes Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 10:25 a.m. PST

Where I'm from, Liberals aren't on the left, they're in the middle.

Anders Jensen Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 10:42 a.m. PST

Where I´m from, Liberals are on the right.

Ulenspiegel Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 10:55 a.m. PST

Konservativ: " I have only read the bible and the Heeresdienstvorschrift"

Liberal: "I have read everything with the exception of of the bible and the Heeresdienstvorschrift"


It's not Kultur, that's unpreußisch :-)))). The original version is:

Kirche, Küche; Kinder

or in broad Berlin dialect:

Gott, Gaffe, Gören (Gaffe = Kaffee, Gören = Kinder)


nycjadie Inactive Member10 Dec 2007 4:34 p.m. PST

"so not everything revolves around the USA"

That's what people keep telling us.

von Scharnhorst Inactive Member11 Dec 2007 3:43 a.m. PST


1) einen altpreußischen Konservativen,

2) einen preußischer Altkonservativen or

3) einen alten preußischen Konservativen?

Hindenburg, and Möltke, were refered to by using both 1) and 3) in the book.

("Hindenburg" Walter Görlitz, Voltmedia, Paderborn. No date. (ISBN 3-938478-52-57)).

"Alt Preußischen konservativ".

Small "k" and from the context, which typicaly, without reading the whole bloody thing again, I can find no example of, would tend to lead to it being a description of "lifestyle" (Weltanschauung), rather than a political view. Therefore I felt safe not having to restrict my question to CA boards.

AHA, Just found SOMETHING;

…unter General von Below ein "nationales Direktorium" zur Behebung des Notstandes und zur Einleitung einer konservativen Reform des Staatslebens einzusetzen.

Ulenspiegel Inactive Member11 Dec 2007 5:01 a.m. PST

What would be the key difference between a "altpreußischen Konservativen" and a "(neu)preußischen Konservativen"?

Where is Herr Mustafa, when you need him? :-)))


Musketier Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2007 6:12 a.m. PST

Could it be that the 'old conservative' wants to have things back the way they used to be, while the 'contemporary conservative' merely wants them kept as they are, without new-fangled liberal or, perish the thought, socialist ideas?

von Scharnhorst Inactive Member12 Dec 2007 2:59 a.m. PST

Where is Herr Mustafa, when you need him? :-)))

He has already made ONE answer on this thread. ;-))

madhatter66 Inactive Member14 Feb 2008 5:55 a.m. PST

Kuche, Kinder, Kirchen – are you sure ya'll are talking about East Prussians and not Silesians? The 3 K's are quite popular around these parts [old Oberschlesien: Ratibor/Rybnik] :)

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