Germany history is often obscured by the fog of Nazism, making it easy to forget both the high culture, and its often feeble past. There is for example in Koblenz a fountain, marked in 1812 by Napoleon's army heading east, and by the Russians in 1813 heading west. In this series Germany is the turntable, the chess board, the stomping ground of Europe.
"It's very difficult to think of Germany at this time as having a future of unity and power," says Professor Norman Davies. "It was in many ways retarded."
In this second programme, Misha Glenny explores the rise of Prussia - from Frederick the Great in 1740 to humiliation by Napoleon in 1806. He discovers a state far removed from the images of Iron Crosses, spiked helmets and officious bureaucrats of popular imagination. It is Prussia that will eventually create modern Germany, but first there are several myths to dispel.
Misha Glenny is a former BBC central European correspondent and winner of a Sony gold. The producer is Miles Warde, who collaborated with Misha Glenny on previous series about the Alps, the Habsburgs and Garibaldi.