Pan Slavophilism Essay

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Nikolai Danilevskii, Russian naturalist and proponent of pan-Slavism, theorized that the Germanic-Roman and Slavic peoples were of distinct historical-cultural types and, by nature, bound to clash. Although readers of his work Russia and Europe (1869) were highly polarized in their opinions of his arguments, Danilevskii’s ideas seem precursory to World War I, and how differences in political, religious, and scientific worldviews between Germany and Russia played into its unfolding.
In Europe, the 19th century was one of increased nationalism for both the new and established. Nationalism—the belief that peoples who share a common language and culture ought to be unified as one independent nation—drove the unification of the Germanic states and the development of Slavophilism in Russia. German nationalist sentiment, at its height in the
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Religiously, this meant a resurgence of Eastern Orthodoxy. During the Church reform of the late 17th to early 18th centuries, Peter the Great had put the Eastern Orthodox Church under governmental control, essentially making it politically powerless. Russian nationalism of the 19th century, manifest in the pan-Slavic movement, brought religious ideology to the forefront, as the empire became the self-ordained protector of Orthodox Christians in the increasingly anti-clerical Western Europe. And in many ways, the Russian worldview was a rejection of Western Europe’s. For example, in arguing against the westernization of Russia, Danilevskii rejected Darwinism, proposing that evolution was not random but rather, followed the will of God the Creator. Darwinism, a prominent feature of Western European thought, was likewise rejected by most of conservative
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