Nationalism in 18th Century Europe

Decent Essays
Throughout the nineteenth century three political ideals began influencing states and their citizens like no other ideals had done before. These ideals were liberalism, socialism and, the most important, nationalism. Each one possessed its own uniqueness which inspired mass followings of people that would last thoroughly into the twentieth century. Each one also proved to form a catalyst for the modernisation of many European countries. However, in comparison, none of these ideals had the impact that the nationalistic approach had. This is due to many reasons which ranged from the fact that not everyone was affected by socialism or that ninety percent of people in eighteenth century Europe lived in a ‘nation­state’ which acted as a…show more content…
The conscription of soldiers into the military, created an environment that relied on the connectedness that the soldiers felt for their country since there was a lack of other motives for individual soldiers to fight for a specific cause. This self­determination to fight for one’s country was inspired by the immense nationalistic and patriotic pride that existed within Europe; no other political ideal could inspire such unwavering loyalty. Empires that contained many nations could not survive in the total war state that characterises modern warfare during the Great War. The Great War, as it did with every country currently riding the nationalism tidal wave, aided the growth of the ideal in France through the increased government control, propaganda, and ethnocentrism among French citizens. Although we can discuss the nationalist culture and might that France contained, it was dwarfed by our next country, Germany. Eugene Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France ,1870-1914 (Stanford: CA, Stanford University Press, 1976) 3 Hudson Meadwell, The Long Nineteenth Century (New York: NY, Routledge, 2002) 2 At the beginning of the century, Germany was not a united nation, a combination of duchies and principalities, perhaps with a common purpose, and a common language and culture, but separated politically. However, by the time of German unification in 1871 the traditional European balance of power had shifted with
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