Nationalism Essay

This essay has a total of 2048 words and 11 pages.

nationalism



Nationalism is a popular sentiment that places the existence and well-being of the nation
highest in the scale of political loyalties. In political terms, it signifies a person's
willingness to work for the nation against foreign domination, whether political,
economic, or cultural. Nationalism also implies a group's consciousness of shared history,
language, race, and values. Its significance lies in its role in supplying the ties that
make the nation-state a cohesive viable entity.


Nationalism belongs to the modern world. Before the 18th century, people gave their
loyalty to their communities, tribes, feudal lords, princes, religious groups, or other
universal principles. Borders could thus be changed without popular outcry against the
violation of national integrity. For example, when Louis XIV of France seized the free
imperial city of Strasbourg on the Rhine in 1681, the people of the city accepted him as
their king. By the 19th century, however, nationalist sentiments were strong. When Germany
annexed Strasbourg (and the rest of Alsace-Lorraine) in 1871, its citizens felt bitter
resentment at the dismemberment of the French nation.


Among the first modern manifestations of nationalism was the French Revolution (1789).
Starting as a crusade for "liberty, equality, and fraternity," the French Revolution
turned into a war of the French people against foreign aggressors. When Napoleon took
power and began to create a French empire, other nations fought back. From Spain to
Russia, peoples rose in defense of their nations against French imperialism. The German
philosopher Johann Gottlieb FICHTE delivered his Addresses to the German Nation (1807-08)
specifically against Napoleon.


After Napoleon's fall, nationalism continued to develop. At the Congress of Vienna
(1814-15), Belgium was given to the Netherlands, but 15 years later the Belgians revolted
and gained their national independence. In Italy the drive toward nationhood, led by
Giuseppe MAZZINI, Camillo CAVOUR, and Giuseppe GARIBALDI, occupied much of the century.
Germany, a mere grouping of states in 1815, was unified under the direction of Prussian
chancellor Otto von BISMARCK in 1871. The many national groups in the Austrian empire
became increasingly restive during the 19th century and finally achieved independence at
the end of World War I. In the interwar years exaggerated German nationalism culminated in
the excesses of NAZISM. Italian FASCISM was also based on strongly nationalistic
principles.


The power of nationalism can be seen in the history of modern SOCIALISM, which began as an
international workers' movement. When World War I broke out in 1914, the European
socialist parties abandoned internationalism and supported their national governments. The
Soviet Communists who took power in Russia in 1917 proclaimed the beginning of an
international movement in behalf of working classes everywhere, only to become
nationalistic as time went on. Communists in other countries, such as China and Vietnam,
have developed their own types of nationalism.


Nationalism spread in Asia and Africa during the struggle against colonialism after World
Wars I and II. Nationalist movements succeeded in such important countries as Egypt and
India. Within the first 25 years after World War II, 66 new nations were created. Today
nationalism remains a strong ideology and an important force in world politics. It was a
contributing factor in the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the motive force behind
the violence in what was Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.





The Italian Risorgimento (resurgence) was the liberal, nationalist movement for
unification (1796-1870). Its origins lay in a nationalistic reaction against the invasion
and occupation of Italy by Napoleon Bonaparte (later NAPOLEON I), and it culminated with
the annexation of Rome in 1870.


The Risorgimento was not an irresistible forward movement of liberal nationalism but a
process occurring in fits and starts, and one interrupted by many internal conflicts. With
the majority of Italians remaining on the sidelines through most of the struggle, Italy
was unified in large measure by an opportunistic intellectual elite and with considerable
foreign assistance, especially from the France of NAPOLEON III.


In 1815 the Congress of VIENNA restored the old European order, bringing back most of the
rulers who had been ousted during the Napoleonic era. Prince METTERNICH of Austria
regained Lombardy, annexed Venetia, and indirectly dominated most of the rest of the
Italian peninsula. The pope recovered the Papal States embracing Rome and the central
region. The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily reverted to the Bourbons. Only the Kingdom of
SARDINIA-Piedmont was free of foreign control, but its ruling SAVOY dynasty, despite a
reputation as a military power, did not become interested in unification until 1848.


The first Risorgimento movement was sparked by the CARBONARI, a secret organization that
fomented unsuccessful popular uprisings in the 1820s. More important was the republican
Young Italy movement, led by Giuseppe MAZZINI. Founded in 1831, it called for liberation
through grass-roots revolts. Mazzini wanted to replace the existing states with a single,
unitary republic with Rome as its capital. His influence peaked during the REVOLUTIONS OF
1848.


Mazzini's republicanism frightened the more moderate Italian leaders into offering
competing programs. Vincenzo Gioberti's Catholic neo-Guelph group hoped to enlist the
papacy in the national cause, but PIUS IX repudiated the Risorgimento in 1848. More
significantly, the conte di CAVOUR, prime minister of Sardinia-Piedmont (1852-59,
1860-61), took steps to unite Italy as a liberal parliamentary monarchy under the house of
Savoy. Realizing that he needed foreign help, Cavour skillfully enlisted the support of
Napoleon III in a joint war against Austria in 1859, thereby acquiring Lombardy. The next
year Romagna, Parma, Modena, and Tuscany voted for union with Sardinia-Piedmont. In
exchange for recognizing this arrangement, France received Savoy and Nice.


In 1860, Giuseppe GARIBALDI conquered Sicily and Naples with his Red Shirts. The Kingdom
of Italy, headed by Sardinian king VICTOR EMMANUEL II, was proclaimed in March 1861 after
Sardinia absorbed Umbria and the Marches and the Two Sicilies chose union with Sardinia.
Venetia was acquired as a result of Italy's alliance with Prussia in the SEVEN WEEKS' WAR
(1866). Rome, which was seized when a French garrison was withdrawn during the
Franco-Prussian War (1870), soon became the capital of Italy.

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