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Rise of nationalism in Europe: Wikis

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Nationalism has been an important factor in the development of Europe. In the 18th century, a wave of romantic nationalism swept the continent of Europe transforming the countries of the continent. Some new countries, such as Germany and Italy were formed by uniting smaller states with a common "national identity". Others, such as Greece, Poland and Bulgaria, were formed by winning their independence.

The storming of the Bastille, 14 July 1789.

The French Revolution paved the way for the modern nation-state. Across Europe radical intellectuals questioned the old monarchial order and encouraged the development of a popular nationalism committed to re-drawing the political map of the continent. By 1814 the days of multi-national empires were numbered. The French Revolution, by destroying the traditional structures of power in France and territories conquered by Napoleon, was the instrument for the political transformation of Europe. Revolutionary armies carried the slogan of "liberty, equality and brotherhood" and ideas of liberalism and national self-determinism. National awakening also grew out of an intellectual reaction to the Enlightenment that emphasized national identity and developed a romantic view of cultural self-expression through nationhood. The key exponent of the modern idea of the nation-state was the German G. W. F. Hegel. He argued that a sense of nationality was the cement that held modern societies together in an age when dynastic and religious allegiance was in decline. In 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic wars, the major powers of Europe tried to restore the old dynastic system as far as possible, ignoring the principle of nationality in favour of "legitimism", the assertion of traditional claims to royal authority. With most of Europe's peoples still loyal to their local province or city, nationalism was confined to small groups of intellectuals and political radicals. Furthermore, political repression, symbolized by the Carlsbad Decrees published in Austria in 1819, pushed nationalist agitation underground. There were 39 small small kingdoms and 39 currencies. The custom union known as zollverien reduced the currency into 2.

Contents

Timeline

1804 - Serbian revolution.

1815 - The Congress of Vienna.

1821-29 - Greek declaration of national independence and revolution against the Ottoman Empire.

1830-31 - Revolution in Poland and Lithuania

1846 - Uprising in Greater Poland

1848 - Nationalist revolts in Hungary, Italy and Germany (including Polish revolt in Greater Poland).

1859-61 - Italy unified.

1863 - Polish national revolt.

1866-71 - Germany unified.

1867 - Hungary granted autonomy.

1878 - Congress of Berlin: Serbia, Romania and Montenegro granted independence.

1908 - Bulgaria becomes independent.

The struggle for independence

Giuseppe Mazzini, campaigner for Italian unification.

A strong resentment of what came to be regarded as foreign rule began to develop. In Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Hungary and Norway local hostility to alien dynastic authority started to take the form of nationalist agitation. Nationalism came to be seen as the most effective way to create the symbols of resistance and to unite in a common cause. First national revolution was in Serbian (1804-1817) which created the first nation-state in Central Europe. Success came in Greece where an eight-year war (1821-1829) against Ottoman rule led to an independent Greek state; in 1831 Belgium obtained independence from the Netherlands. Over the next two decades nationalism developed a more powerful voice, spurred by nationalist writers championing the cause of nationalist self-determination. In 1848, revolutions broke out across Europe, sparked by a severe famine and economic crisis and mounting popular demand for political change. In Italy Giuseppe Mazzini used the opportunity to encourage a war for national unity. In 1861 he wrote:

"No people ever die, nor stop short upon their path, before they have achieved the ultimate aim of their existence, before having completed and fulfilled their mission. A people destined to achieve great things for the welfare of humanity must on day or other be constituted a nation".

In Hungary, Lajos Kossuth led a national revolt against Austrian rule; in the German Confederation a National Assembly was elected at Frankfurt and debated the creation of a German nation. None of the nationalist revolts in 1848 were successful, any more than the two attempts to win Polish independence from Russian rule in 1831 and 1846 had been. Conservative forces proved too strong, while the majority of the populations little understood the meaning of national struggle. But the 1848 crisis had given nationalism its first full public airing, and in the thirty years that followed no fewer than seven new national states were created in Europe. This was partly the result of the recognition by conservative forces that the old order could not continue in its existing form. Conservative reformers such as Cavour and Bismarck made common cause with liberal political modernizers to create a consensus for the creation of conservative nation-states in Italy and Germany. In the Habsburg empire a compromise was reached with Hungarian nationalists in 1867 granting them a virtually independent state. In the Balkans the Serbian example had inspired other national awakenings. Native history and culture were rediscovered and appropriated for the national struggle. Following a conflict between Russia and Turkey, the Great Powers met at Berlin in 1878 and granted independence to Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and a limited autonomy to Bulgaria.

Nationalism's growth and export

The invention of a symbolic national identity became the concern of racial, ethnic or linguistic groups throughout Europe as they struggled to come to terms with the rise of mass politics, the decline of the traditional social elites, popular discrimination and xenophobia. Within the Habsburg empire the different peoples developed a more mass-based, violent and exclusive form of nationalism. This developed even among the Germans and Magyars, who actually benefited from the power-structure of the empire. On the European periphery, especially in Ireland and Norway, campaigns for national independence became more strident. In 1905 Norway won independence from Sweden, but attempts to grant Ireland the kind of autonomy enjoyed by Hungary foundered on the national divisions on the island between the ethnic Irish and British migrants. The Polish attempts to win independence from Russia had previously proved to be unsuccessful, with Poland being the only country in Europe whose autonomy was gradually limited rather than expanded throughout the 19th century, as a punishment for the failed uprisings; in 1831 Poland lost its status as a formally independent state and was merged into Russia as a real union country and in 1867 she became nothing more than just another Russian province. Faced with internal and external resistance to assimilation, as well as increased xenophobic anti-Semitism, radical demands began to develop among the stateless Jewish population of eastern and central Europe for their own national home and refuge. In 1897, inspired by the Hungarian-born Jewish nationalist Theodor Herzl, the First Zionist Congress was held in Basle, and declared their national 'home' should be in Palestine. By the end of the period, the ideals of European nationalism had been exported worldwide and were now beginning to develop, and both compete and threaten the empires ruled by colonial European nation-states.

See also

External links

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