Nationalism and War Essay

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Nationalism and War

Does nationalism have a relationship with the causes of the wars between 1792 and 1914? This can be disputed through the events of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the unification struggles of Germany and Italy in the late 1800’s, the Alliance systems of the late 1800’s and the assassination of the Austrian archduke before the outbreak of World War 1.
During the French Revolution in 1792, an effort was made to remove Austrian presence from French lands. This came about in part because King Louis XVI wanted to seek help from the Austrians to remove the reformers, persuading France to declare war on Austria. The Jacobins were afraid that this war would have an irreversible effect on the Revolution.
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Many of the wars during this time led to nationalistic feelings in the countries that Napoleon had conquered. This became visible in the resistance of the Spanish and Prussians after Napoleon conquered them. Spain revolted because Napoleon took away the privileges of the nobles and made his brother, who the Spanish considered a foreigner, king. Similarly, during the War of Liberation, patriotic and nationalistic principles led Prussia to revolt against the French invasion. With great patriotism and nationalism, Prussia defeated France in1813. The Napoleonic Wars were not wars of nationalism, but were of one man's dream of being a conqueror.
At another time in history, Bismarck was instrumental in the unification of Germany. It was his thirst for expansion and Prussian rule throughout Germany that drove him. It was during the unification of the southern states that nationalism played an essential role. With the help of Austria, Bismarck’s first strike was at Denmark in 1864. Austria only joined in the hope that Schleswig and Holstein would not become part of Prussia. This was a catalyst for the Austro-Prussian war in 1866 that resulted in the defeat of Austria. In agreement, Prussia assumed territorial control over Schleswig and Holstein and other German states. Consequently, this led to the unification of the northern states, leaving Austria out of Prussian affairs
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