nothing on my tongue but hallelujah
this page adapts memories/notes based on a fairly lengthy playlist, with each chunk of playlist symbolizing a specific period of time and/or specific relationships i had with others. the playlist can be found below.
formation of the teutonic knights ("church", "somedays (i don't feel like trying)")
- the teutonic order was (and still is) a christian order, though today they are less militaristic; we see bits of teutonic!prussia in the series, but we don't get very much to work with. "church" carries ideas of redemption from an imperfect life, and teutonic!prussia would have been very attached to the idea of redemption via repenting due to his upbringing as the personification of a christian order.
- i'll be perfectly honest, "somedays" is mostly meant to be foreshadowing, but it also works to lay out the turmoil that comes with the territory (no pun intended) of prussia's life; the joke goes that prussia is an army with a nation, not a nation with an army. verse 2 embodies most of my feelings as prussia: growing up as the embodiment of a monastic order doesn't do wonders for one's emotional growth, after all.
interactions with holy rome & austria ("i don't want to lose you", "between the wars", "meet me on the battlefield")
- "i don't want to lose you" is about my relationship with austria; it probably falls sometime before the wars of the coalitions (aka the french revolutionary wars). i sat a good portion of those out, said it wasn't my war to fight. i really shouldn't have.
- i think this is where i tried to talk holy rome out of fighting; he was already sick enough. i should have tried harder.
- i served as holy rome's "knight", for lack of a better word, on occasion; we fought together and would meet up after some battles and discuss whatever was being fought over. he got tired of the fighting, but he didn't have a choice.
war never changes ("heroes fall", "the kids aren't alright", "body", "this empty northern hemisphere", "you haunt me")
- i would try and keep tabs on holy rome and the wars when i could, even though i wasn't fighting. all i could do when i first got the news about holy rome was sit in silence.
- i knew i couldn't sit around any more, i had to go and take down napoleon; i joined the wars during what would be the war of the fourth coalition. part of me resented austria for leaving the last coalition, but there wasn't really anything i could do about that.
- there were letters i never sent. there were hopes i held on to, even after he fell and we fought. i still wanted us to be happy.
- i never really had a chance to process holy rome's fall until much later. this is the song that symbolizes that. even then, i'm not sure how much processing i really did. probably wasn't much, honestly. the confederation of the rhine (and later, the german confederation) rose here, created by napoleon as a buffer of sorts. i got to deal with that later.
- this one is another fight i had with austria, i think. it might have been the last one before i actually left, i'm not sure. i forget what this would have been about, holy rome, maybe; i guess it doesn't really matter now.
i measure every grief i meet ("let it all go", "i love you", "slow dancing in the dark")
- this is where i left. part of me didn't want to, but part of me knew it wouldn't work out any more, no matter how badly i wanted it to. i cried that first night after all was said and done, and told no one about it.
- i thought that it would hurt less if i could pretend that it didn't matter, if i could distract myself. it didn't really work, as you can probably imagine. "i love you" is a musical version of one of the earlier nights i tried doing this.
- this one was directed at austria and someone else, but i can't remember who the other person was; maybe hungary? definitely whoever austria's next partner was, though i don't think i ever verbalized any of this (much like everything else i never verbalized), and i was busy with the north german confederation (and later with germany) at this point.
give me hope in silence ("break my heart again", "ashes", "waves", "i'll keep you safe", "upstairs room", "holy ground", "i'll be good", "hymn 21")
- i think this one represents the last letter i wrote (and never sent) to holy rome, or it might be my thoughts about the idea of raising my little brother just to lose him the same way i lost holy rome; i think the sentiment is the same no matter what. i was scared, even if i tried to avoid showing it.
- my little brother symbolized a second chance for me. i could do better, i could be there for him the way i should have been there for holy rome. (i might have been projecting a bit at first.)
- this is where i realized that i actually had to be more mature, so that way germany would have a good role model to look up to. i had to teach him everything i knew, so that way he'd be strong and could fend for himself
and not turn out like me.
- i'm not quite certain where this one falls, but it's while he was still young. the line about building new silhouettes brings to mind the idea of finality: holy rome is gone, but germany has taken up the torch and will become great in his own right, just like i hoped he would. this one's very bittersweet to me.
- raising kids is difficult, especially when all you know is war. i know i made more than a few mistakes while raising him, but i'd like to hope he got the best parts of me too.
- i taught him about holy rome's legacy, but i never really told him everything until much later. it felt weird bringing him to a memorial for someone who wasn't really gone, especially knowing what i knew then.
- this is where i started to feel better about things. germany was strong thanks to me, and i knew he could protect himself. my past meant less than my actions now, and i wanted to do better, be better. (that didn't mean that world war 1 didn't scare me to death though; i didn't want him turning out like me and i thought that i'd screwed up somewhere and taught him all the wrong things.)
- i became a free state after world war 1, and much more democratic; i was technically a german state under my brother's control, but that didn't really matter until 1932 (first with altona bloody sunday, then with the loss of my elected government and hitler seizing control in 1933, it was all downhill from there for me and germany.)
i lost two cities, lovely ones ("collide", "start a war", "when it's all over", "who will save you now")
- this one specifically represents the prussian coup and the de facto loss of independence in 1934. i did not willingly let my democracy go, but i ended up not having a choice. (it felt like being shot; that's what they should have done.)
- this one covers world war 2. i told my brother that this wasn't the way things should have happened, that this would only end poorly. he told me neither of us had a choice any more. i don't remember if i tried helping people or not. i don't remember what kind of knowledge i had from then. i was afraid of what would happen if i tried to do anything.
- the end of world war 2. if i knew anything, this is where i found out the full extent of what happened. i was horrified by how far things had gone. i remember demanding that my brother tell me whether he knew about the camps and how far they had gone. he broke down sobbing, and i was ashamed to know anything at all. i was told that there would be trials, and that they would decide what would happen to us soon.
- february 25th, 1947. i told the allies present at my trial (america, britain, france, and russia) that it was my militaristic upbringing that had started all this, as that is what i had passed down to my brother. i wanted to protect my brother, and i remember thinking that if i had made better choices, this wouldn't have happened. my de jure abolition and dissolution occurred later that day, with 'allied control council law no. 46'. my brother and i wept after the trial was over. i felt like i was dying. i mean, i was dying, technically.
and, vaster, some realms i owned, two rivers, a continent ("hallelujah", "give me something", "pure narcotic")
- i spent the first few days in my room at germany's house while the allies decided what to do with him. i think i prayed that what happened to me would not happen to my brother. this song is where the playlist title comes from.
- the loss of status hit me real hard. allied plans to govern germany as one unit had broken down earlier, and i hoped that my brother was not too badly hurt. eventually they established 2 german states, and we were brought before the council and informed that my brother would become "west" germany, while i would be "east" germany. america smiled as he said this, but not a real smile. his smile faltered slightly as he said i was under russian control, became more of a grimace for a brief moment. i wanted to wipe that smile from his face, and from russia's face too.
- this one represents early control by russia. i hated being on such a short leash, and i made sure to tell him that at first. i wanted to go back home, but i knew that there wasn't really a home for me to go back to. all i could do was hope that soviet occupation would end soon.
through centuries of nerve ("living water", "immortalized", "tearing us apart")
- being under russia's control was not the same thing as being one of my brother's states. i learned to close myself off in order to keep myself safe. i still hoped i would see my brother again soon. his visits were few and far between, and all too brief when they did happen.
- i was kept fairly isolated from my brother even before the wall went up. this is what i hoped for my brother: that he was doing better than i was, that he was still standing strong in the face of all this. i heard about the division of berlin at this point as well.
- the east was very repressed compared to what i had heard of the west. communist propaganda was the norm, and i had to work nearly constantly to meet soviet standards. this is where i first heard rumors about plans for a wall.
there's grief of want - and grief of cold ("sense of home", "quiet eyes")
- this song represents the point where i finally began to lose hope. i lost any travel privileges i may have had left as soviet control grew heavier. the building of the berlin wall would commence shortly, and i was finally fully cut off from the west.
- i tried climbing the wall to see into the west a few times at first, but that resulted in severe and brutal punishment from russia, so i stopped after a very short while. (this is where italy says he snuck me letters, but i never got any. i think they were intercepted.)
i wonder if it hurts to live ("foreign hands", "are you with me", "where are we now?")
- the idea of seeing my brother again seemed to slip further away each day. i turned instead to the work i was meant to be doing. it was the only way to deal with what i was feeling. i managed to sneak a radio into my room though, and i'd tune into western stations if it was safe enough to.
- the most fortified version of the wall was finished. i was told reports of easterners who had died trying to cross it as a form of demoralization and control by russia. sometimes i even saw the escape attempts play out in front of me; the ones i saw always failed.
- the day the wall fell. david bowie played a concert close to the wall in 1987 which inspired riots in east berlin that are seen as precursors to those in november 1989 that would reunited west and east. this song is about berlin, comparing the city that bowie knew in the 1970s to that of today. i remember the riots, and sneaking out to see that concert. i remember both my brother and i crying in each other's arms when we were reunited.
and if they have to try ("still here", "reality", "wide eyed", "oblivion")
- i dreamt of the ghosts of my past the first night back home. i promised my brother that nothing would divide us again, and we would watch as the german reunification treaty was signed. as of that treaty, my status as east germany (and as a nation in any capacity) was officially gone. i didn't know how long i had left.
- i was back with my brother, but i had lost my status once and for all. this was a bittersweet ending for both of us, and i wasn't sure how to mention it to anyone else, or even if i should at all.
- i couldn't pretend that everything hadn't changed, that i was still the me everyone else knew. i still kept up appearances, but i knew that i was becoming more like a regular human. i had no illusions that any of the other nations would bestow any protection to me the way they might do for a beloved pet, and i was alright with that. i'd done my job, lived my life, raised my brother right. i was ready to go.
- i thought about the legacy i would leave behind, what the others would remember, what people would be taught about me. i knew my brother was doing alright, and would keep our people safe. this one represents the beginning of my life as a former nation, and the knowledge that everything would be alright in the end.
gil is the only name i'm using here. i'm 21, and use he/they pronouns.
memoriesofprussia © gil
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