What is Nationalism?

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A soldier saluting as an act of Nationalism
A soldier saluting as an act of Nationalism

What is nationalism?

Nationalism is an ideology that holds that sovereignty belongs to the nation. A nationalist believes in a world with minimal international boundaries and wants to help their country grow by increasing power, prestige, and unity within their borders.

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When did nationalism start?

Nationalism began in Europe about 500 years ago, as feudalism ended and monarchies began to emerge. The beginnings of a unified identity were not achieved until the Napoleonic Wars, but nationalism had developed for centuries before this. The French Revolution was a major catalyzing event in European history, and nationalism spread further during the 19th century.

Patriotic Family advocating Nationalism
Patriotic Family advocating Nationalism

What caused nationalism?

1. The rise of popular sovereignty

People were tired of nobles, and the church had control of the country. They wanted freedom, so they fought for their right to vote for officials and selected their government.

2. Enlightenment ideas

In the 1700s, philosophes like Voltaire spread reason throughout Europe, which helped give power to the people.

Again, nationalism is defined as ” a political movement based on common language, culture, national feelings, and self-determination.”

3. Periods of economic growth and social transformation

Increased wealth and literacy allow working-class people to become more aware of politics and vote for their representatives.

Why is nationalism important?

1. It unites people: Nationalism unites the working class, united by language and collective memory.

2. It defines people: Nationalism gives people a sense of pride and identity as a nation.

3. It helps nations protect themselves: Nationalism increases the military power of the nation, which proves their strength and prosperity to other countries.

What is an example of nationalism?

1. The American Revolution: The American Revolution was a battle for liberty, equality, and democracy. It showed that the people could rise against their government, pick their leaders, and protect the nation.

2. German Nationalism: After Germany’s defeat in WWI, Germans were humiliated and sought to rebuild their country and regain their pride by uniting all people of German descent into a powerful nation.

How did nationalism contribute to ww1?

1. Militarism: countries mobilized their armies and armed themselves, making it more likely that war would break out. (Germany)

2. Imperialism: the competition between nations for colonies threatened world peace. (Germany, France, and Britain)

3. Alliances: European nations made alliances and felt more confident in going to war.

What were the effects of nationalism?


 It unified people of the same country and made them proud to be a part of it.

Nationalists felt that their country was superior to others and would do anything to prove it.

Nationalism makes countries have pride in themselves. It showed that everyone had a duty and an important job to carry out for their nation. Nationalism also brought people together from different cultures and races because they all respected the same country. 


Nationalism created a lot of hatred within the countries because of how the war was fought.

Nationalists started to hate other countries that were not like themselves. They wanted to kill everyone who did not look like Germans or was not German at all.

Why is nationalism bad?

People have different personalities, beliefs, and ideas about the world around them. This is normal, but nationalism can produce a lot of bad things. They promote language barriers that separate people from each other. Nationalism also causes discrimination against women.

Nationalism can lead people to ruin. It has caused a lot of wars over race and religion.

What would you say were the advantages and disadvantages of nationalism?

The advantages of nationalism were that it made people proud to be a part of a nation. It united people because they all respected the same country.

The disadvantages were that it caused war and hatred between countries. It also divided people by race and religion, and some people became very angry over this, which led to many fights which led to wars.

Which has been a direct effect of nationalism in Europe?

Nationalism led to a lot of wars between countries in Europe. For example, it divided the people when they fought over religion. When the Germans fought the Armenians, they did not do so because they hated them but because they were enemies of the German people. When France and Prussia fought in WWI, Germany saw it as a war between Poles, who were enemies at that time.

Many nations have been deeply affected by nationalism throughout their history.

Which best explains the role of nationalism in Europe following the congress of Vienna?

The congress of Vienna made many changes to the way countries were run. When the countries were first created, they were ruled by kings and queens, but from this time on, they began to be governed by parliaments.

The congress of Vienna did many good things, but it also brought nationalism into other countries, which later led to World War One.

What role did nationalism play in the outbreak of world war I?

The outbreak of world war I was caused by nationalism. When the Germans and French went to fight in the war, they fought for their home countries and not for anyone else.

Which practice is sometimes characterized by extreme nationalism?

Extreme nationalism is when a few people/groups within a country take over and use this to dominate the other peoples of the country. This kind of extreme nationalism is often called fascism, an example of extreme nationalism in a very bad way.

How was extreme nationalism a motive for the holocaust?

The extreme nationalism that swept Germany after WWI created a climate of hate and fear. Jews were identified as the scapegoat for Germany’s defeat in the war and defeat.

In the Nazi propaganda film made during the buildup to WWII, Jews were portrayed as Bolshevik vermin, rats who propagated disease and immorality.

The nationalistic desire of Germany had turned into a hatred for Jewish people, resulting in the holocaust.

How did nationalism lead to problems with foreign relations?

1. Germany felt it was treated as a second-class citizen by the other European nations, especially regarding her membership in the Concert of Europe (Germany was not part of the six great powers). Germany had to pay its huge war reparations.

2. The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo led to hostility and tension between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, which Russia supported. Serbia wanted the Austro-Hungarian Empire to be weakened. This leads to the outbreak of the first world war because of the policy of appeasement by Great Britain and France.

How did composers express musical nationalism in their music?

I. Gustav Mahler

(1) Commissioned to write a piece for the New German (a nationalist association of composers.)

His three symphonies are the greatest contribution to pure modern music because they express his nationalism. 

2. Bedrich Smetana

(1) His symphonic poem “From my life” was inspired by folk songs, dances, and legends of his homeland, the Czech forests, and mountains

(2) Unlike Mahler, he was patriotic to his country but not to its nationalism. He wanted to unite the Bohemian people just like a symphony orchestra brings all instruments together; in addition, he wanted a government that would be tailored for them.

3. Richard Wagner (1813-1883) 

Was the chief representative of musical nationalism in music. He developed a new style in German art music called “Nordic music,” which included musical motifs from the people and culture of Northern Europe. His ideas were very controversial at first and were strongly opposed by most other composers.

In his later years, he was strongly anti-Semitic, which did not go over well with the majority of the German public either.

How did nationalism lead to imperialism?

In the 19th century, nationalism was very closely linked to imperialism. One could not exist without the other. Imperialism was simply a belief that one race or nation was superior and had the right to control or dominate others. Imperialism led to two World Wars, and in both of these, the winning countries were those who practiced nationalism most strongly.

How did nationalism lead to revolutions?

A revolution is the overthrow and replacement of a government.

Revolutions often result from nationalism or can be used to further nationalist goals. The American Revolution resulted from the feeling of the Americans that England was not honoring their rights as a free people. The French Revolution was the most famous in history and is a prime example of a revolution being driven by nationalism.

A secondary cause, which is closely related to nationalism, is what historian Hobsbawm called ‘the Age of Revolutions’. This happened in various regions of the world during the 18th century. The most important person to lead a revolution was Napoleon Bonaparte. Before his revolt against the old regime, he had spent much of his life learning about the history of revolts and revolutions across Europe. He was convinced that many of these revolts were driven by nationalism and that he could use this knowledge for his own political purposes.

What is economic nationalism?

Economic nationalism is a popular argument among those who believe that their country can prosper only if they are left to pursue their economic interests. It argues that it is only through competition among nations that individuals can grow rich and powerful. This idea is not new and has been brought up several times in the past, but seen a reemergence of popularity with the rise of globalization. This movement regards globalization as a form of slavery, in which corporations gain power over nations by being able to control the whole world with their distribution networks.

What is Christian nationalism?

Christian nationalism is the belief that one’s nation ought to be, either wholly or in part, based upon and ruled by the principles of the Christian religion. 

What is white and black nationalism?

Black nationalism is the belief that one’s nation ought to be, either wholly or in part, based upon and ruled by the principles of blacks. Black nationalism is distinct from white nationalism as it believes in inequality among all races, while white nationalism believes that whites are better than other races. Black nationalists tend to argue that they have been excluded from participation in society and are therefore justified in their desire for a separate nation. White nationalists argue that their race is inherently superior and should be allowed to take over all of the other races.

What is American nationalism?

American nationalism is the belief that one’s nation ought to be, either wholly or in part, based upon and ruled by the principles of America.

What is ethnic nationalism?

Ethnic nationalism is the belief that one’s nation ought to be, either wholly or partly, based upon and ruled by the principles of one’s ethnicity.

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Categories: History