Contagion in Prussia, 1831

The Cholera Epidemic and the Threat of the Polish Uprising


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About the Book

In 1831, Prussia was consumed by two fears: the possibility of revolution resulting from the 1830 November Uprising of Poland against Russia, and a looming cholera epidemic. As the contagion made its way across Russia, Prussian medical officials took note and prepared to respond to what they thought was a highly contagious disease. When it spread to Poland, Prussia instituted a strict quarantine policy on its border, inhibiting Prussian support of the Russian war effort in Poland. From the Polish perspective the quarantine was seen as a deliberate act of sabotage against the revolution, an attempt to cut off trade with the West.

This book examines the Prussian government’s strict health policy and its consequences, including social unrest and resulting public health reforms. Polish public health policy is investigated in light of the revolutionary government’s needs. Information is provided on the cholera camps established by Prussia to quarantine Polish soldiers who crossed the border as refugees in July 1831, the height of the cholera fear in Prussia.

About the Author(s)

Richard S. Ross III is a retired college librarian and professor emeritus from Trinity College. His scholarly interests include 19th- and 20th-century German history. He lives in Broad Brook (East Windsor), Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Richard S. Ross III

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 300
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9772-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2010-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1—Cholera Approaches 9
2—Public Health Administration in Prussia Before 1831 23
3—Cholera in Poland 38
4—First Response to Cholera: Misery in Danzig 59
5—Prussian Cholera Policy and the Russian War Effort 73
6—Cholera Policy on the Prussian Border 85
7—Cholera in East Prussia and the City of Königsberg 110
8—The Cholera Tumult in Königsberg 135
9—Cholera Enters Berlin 154
10—Berlin Organizes to Combat Cholera 183
11—The Medical Legacy of the Cholera Epidemic of 1831 196
12—Prussia, Cholera and the Polish Refugee Crisis 221
Conclusion 244
Chapter Notes 255
Bibliography 281
Index 289

Book Reviews & Awards

“Ross should be commended for this meticulously researched, carefully planned, and intelligently executed treatise…. He breaks new ground as a historian, expounding the contemporary Prussian situation in fine detail and with rigorous documentation”—Watermark: The Newsletter of the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences.