Nationalism was one of the profound causes of the First World War. In the 19 th and 20 th centuries, an air of intense nationalism permeated Europe, slowly infecting all who lived on the continent. Nationalism is the strong feeling of pride, loyalty and support for one’s nation. During the late 19 th century to early 20 th century, there was an outbreak of aggressive nationalism, where many nationalists took their beliefs up one step further, to the extreme.
These radical groups believed that their nation was the richest, most powerful and most important nation in the world and they wanted desperately for their nation to be recognized as such. This feeling of nationalism was in essence the spark that set Europe at war, for it was this belief that led to the assassination of the Archduke, Franz Ferdinand. Nationalism also caused or played part in many incidents that contributed to the start of the War. Amongst them were the Balkan wars, the arms race and the build up of the alliance systems. Nationalism also nurtured the drive for prestige and vengeance between the European powers.
In short, nationalism further escalated the tension that contributed to the outbreak of war. Nationalism didn’t just influence the middle class; it influenced people of all ages and societies. The governments realized the power which nationalism held, it was able to encourage public support for military buildups and for a country’s use of force to achieve its goal. Militarism controlled the thinking of many European leaders in the period before World War 1. They believed that the use of force could solve problems amongst nations and that the military strength of one country reflected the importance and power of the nation. However, to increase the military budget, the government had to increase the taxes.
Nationalism spread throughout Europe like fire in the Yellow Stone Park. And like fire, the effects that Nationalism had caused were both eminent yet horrendous. Nationalism united people into nation-states, toppled empires composed of many ethnic minorities, and contributed to the outbreak of wars in the nineteenth century. For example, Germany was united by Otto von Bismarck, France by the ...
Therefore to avoid civil unrest, the excuse for the increase in taxes was to display the importance and power of the nation. In 1898, Germany began to challenge Britain’s dominance of the seas; hence Britain challenged Germany to an arms race. The arms race in essence was driven by nationalism, for neither powers wanted to give in and be second to the other. For each believed that they were the best, and their military strength must show that they are the best. Both Germany and Britain ended up with navies so large and powerful, that there was no use for their military strength unless a war broke out. Nationalism encouraged public support all over Europe, for military buildups and for the nation to use force to reach its goals.
Nationalism in the Balkan states played a huge part in the building of tensions amongst the great powers of Europe, especially between Austria-Hungary and Russia. The Balkan Peninsula was then under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. It consisted of proud ethnic groups whom did not wish to be ruled by any authority other than themselves, they desired independence and were eager for the chance to revolt. In 1878, at the decline of the Turkish Empire, the Balkan nationalists with the help of Russia were able to overthrow the Turkish government.
The rebellion eventually resulted in the emergence of many independent Balkan states; the major ones were Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania and Greece. The absence of a power in such an economical and territorial significant area attracted many European powers to the Balkans. Russia hoped to gain control of the straits. Austria-Hungary wanted to control the Balkans and restrain the Balkan nationalists, for they feared that the nationalists would set a bad example for Austria-Hungary’s own racial minorities. This conflict of interests increased the tensions between Russia and Austria-Hungary, but was set to rest in a pretence truce. Soon Serbia became the major power in the Balkans.
Austria-Hungary felt threatened by the growing power of the Serbs and wished to crush them before it was too late. The Serbs, however, were now a very proud race, they didn’t want to be ruled by anybody else, furthermore they wanted the unification of all Slavs. Serbian nationalists despised the thought that fellow Slavs, like their Bosnian brothers were under Austro-Hungary rule and wished to set them free. Hence, on June the 24 th, 1914, a young Serbian nationalist assassinated the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne – Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The Seven Weeks War, also known as the Austro-Prussian war, was a brief struggle between two rising European powers. On June 14, 1866 Austria and Prussia engaged each other in battle. Prussia received support from only a few small north German states in the country of Italy. Austria's allies Saxony, Hanover, the Hesses, Bavaria, Baden, and Wurttenberg.This war was deliberately provoked by Otto von ...
By doing so, this young nationalist has lit the fuse to set the whole of Europe at war. As Europe enters the 20 th century, the European powers began to feel more and more insecure. Both France and Russia were filled with nationalists who couldn’t forget the humiliation of the previous century. France had nationalists marching about Paris demanding for vengeance of the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany in 1871.
Whilst the Russian nationalists urged their government to regain prestige after the loss to the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese war of 1905. In Austria-Hungary, the tension was worst. With the minority groups under her reign adopting the idea of national independence and the Slavic groups growing more and more restive, Austria-Hungary found it hard to keep her monarchy together. The growing tensions both within each power and amongst the powers caused all the countries to feel insecure and vulnerable.
The solution to this was the treaty systems. The great European Powers thought that alliances would ensure the safety of themselves and peace in Europe. However the opposite was achieved, the alliance system pulled each and everyone of the European powers into War. Nationalism, though not the sole cause of World War One, blew up the tension that existed in Europe and had influence in causing World War One. It created public support to one’s nation that didn’t exist before; it enabled governments to know that they can depend on their people if in the event of war. Nationalism was also a contributing factor to the drawing of the alliance systems, for not one country felt safe alone especially when the majority of countries were increasing their military powers.
In Europe in 1914, there were five great powers. They were Britain, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and France. Some were stronger in times of conflict than others, and many historians feel differently about the powers. This essay will use data to prove conclusively, an opinion held by many historians of which were the strongest and which were the weakest. Russia and Austria-Hungary were the two ...
Finally nationalism created some extent of civil unrest amongst great powers such as Austria-Hungary, where their monarchy consisted of so many different minority groups. Essentially, nationalism was the pinprick which popped the balloon of tension that existed in Europe, it was the reason which a fiery young man by the name of Princi p assassinated the heir to the Austrian throne. In doing so, setting the whole of Europe at war.