Essay on nationalism reading

Submitted By kbbsmart
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Pages: 17

NATIONALISM As we have seen, the French Revolution and Napoleon spread the ideas of liberalism and nationalism across Europe. These ideas took root and gave rise to several outbreaks of revolution in the 1820's, 1830's, and 1840's, the most severe being the revolutions of 1848. Although most of these revolutions failed, they continued the spread of liberal & nationalist ideas and also gave reformers a more realistic appreciation of what it would take to achieve their goals. The revolutions of 1848 especially influenced the peoples of Eastern Europe under Hapsburg and Ottoman rule as well as the peoples of Italy and Germany in Central Europe.

Eastern Europe, especially the Balkans in the southeast, saw national independence from foreign rule, rather than national unity, as the critical issue. The spread of nationalist ideas among the various Slavic peoples there after the revolutions of 1848 combined with the steady decay of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires to create a particularly volatile situation. These generated growing nationalist movements that destabilized the already crumbling Hapsburg and Ottoman empires. To complicate matters even further, Russia became increasingly involved in Balkan politics, posing as the champion of Slavic liberties and nationalism against the Slavs' Turkish and Austrian masters. This heightened tensions between Austria, Turkey, and Russia and would provide the spark to set off World War I.

Central Europe, Germany and Italy in particular, had been broken into numerous states, a situation which had invited centuries of foreign intervention, conquests, and wars in both countries. Here also, the revolutions of 1848 combined with German and Italian frustration over this situation to generate strong sentiments for national unification in both countries. The middle classes in Italy and Germany especially supported national unification by strong governments that could end internal tolls, build national railroads, and support new industries.

Camillo Cavour for the Italian state of Sardinia and Otto von Bismarck for the German state of Prussia. Both men skillfully combined strong internal developments of their respective states with opportunistic diplomacy and warfare to unify Italy and Germany by 1871. Both nations would also strive to industrialize in the latter 1800's. Germany proved especially successful in this endeavor. However, the presence of two unified nations in place of a multitude of little states, especially that of a strongly industrialized Germany, seriously upset the balance of power in Europe, which would also lead to World War I.
There were two kinds of nationalism in 19th Century Europe:
(i) the desire of subject peoples for independence -It led to a series of national struggles for independence among the Balkan peoples. Other powers got involved and caused much instability.
(ii) the desire of independent nations for dominance and prestige -As the powers try to dominate each other in Europe, their rivalries may be regarded as one of the causes of the First World War.

Nationalism in Germany
Germany was united in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, and she rapidly became the strongest economic and military power in Europe. From 1871 to 1890, Germany wanted to preserve her hegemony in Europe by forming a series of peaceful alliances with other powers. After 1890, Germany was more aggressive. She wanted to build up her influence in every part of the world. German foreign policy in these years was best expressed by the term 'Weltpolitik' (World Politics). Because German ambitions were extended to many parts of the globe, Germany came into serious conflicts with all other major powers of Europe (except Austria-Hungary) from 1890 to 1914.

Nationalism in Italy
Italy was unified in 1870.