Impact of Nationalism

1424 Words Nov 21st, 2012 6 Pages
Impact of Nationalism

During the 19th and 20th centuries, nationalism played a crucial role in shaping the world, both constructively and destructively. Throughout history, nationalism can be found almost everywhere, with the desire for self-determination and independence as its primary catalysts. Nationalism can take form in politicians, national leaders, propaganda and mass media. In the last two centuries, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the emergence of independent nations, the two most influential wars of all time, World War I and World War II, and the rise of the worlds’ superpowers, the United States of America and the Soviet Union can all be partially attributed to strong sense of nationalism and played an important role
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In 1879, Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the Dual Alliance. The Dual Alliance was, “…a defensive pact that ensured reciprocal protection from a Russian attack and neutrality in case of an attack from any other power”. In 1882, France joined the alliance, thus creating the Triple Alliance. After France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary formed the Triple Alliance, leaders of other European countries, such as Great Britain saw this posed a threat. So in turn Great Britain, Russia, and other neighboring countries formed the Triple Entente, which were known as the Allies. Nationalism caused the formation of alliances in the European countries based on common beliefs and the fear of an imbalance in power. The development of these national alliance systems contributed to the infamous war known today as World War I.
Post-World War I, the Allies found themselves victorious and in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the Paris Peace Conference. The treaty ordered Germany to pay reparations, shouldering the entire cost of the war. The treaty also demilitarized Germany and the other countries that had been part of the Central Powers. The treaty severely lowered Germany’s morale and left the country war torn. Two years after the Treaty of Versailles was signed, a man by the name of Adolf Hitler became the chairman of the political party identified as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, otherwise known as the Nazi party.

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