Term Paper: Nationalism Through Out Western Civilization

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Nationalism Through Out Western Civilization

A major ideology that has been shaping course of human history is nationalism. This is when there is a shared belief among a group of people, located in a particular region, that have a shared set of ideals and interests. These different interests and ideals are used to push for revolutions.

The different revolutions have made the various beliefs more concrete, as they help to fuel a policy of the nation state acting in their own self-interest over all others. To fully understand the impact of nationalism on Western civilization requires that you consider five different events that were directly tied to the ideology. This will be accomplished by carefully examining the role that nationalism played in the American Revolution, French Revolution, the rise of Adolph Hitler, the Russian Revolution and the Cold War to the modern day political environment. Together, these different elements will highlight how nationalism continues to shape various events around the world.

The American Revolution

Nationalism has been interconnected to every single one of the five different events in one way or another. Where, it may have had direct or indirect impact on what was taking place. This is because this idea was born out of the desire for a group of people to have their own self-determination. Yet, as these different revolutions took place this would twist into many different forms of government ranging from the representative democracy to tyrannical regimes. The American Revolution is one of the first events that were fueled by nationalism, which would have direct and indirect ripple effects throughout history. What happened was the American Revolution was sparked by the desire of the American people, to determine what was best for them. Where, all of the original 13 colonies would share a sense commonality with the distance and isolation that was felt from England. When England began to impose various taxes upon the different colonies, this helped to fuel nationalistic feelings that were being felt. As the various colonists felt that sense of isolation and then when England began imposing large taxes, this pushed the desire for independence. This is because the tax policy was seen as unfair in America, causing Parliament and the King to be viewed as out of touch with what was occurring. At which point, the American Revolution would take place, as this desire of self-determination would become even more passionate as the conflict would evolve. After America was given its independence from England, the ideas of the American Revolution would spark political debate within in England itself. As to if the King and Parliament had too much power, which would result in a series of reforms. This would bring the ideas of self-determination to Europe, as it would only be a matter of time until it would spread to France and the rest of the Continent.

The French Revolution

The French Revolution was about throwing out the tyrannical King and replacing it with a government that will respect the ideas of self-determination. In many ways one could argue that aside from the debate that the American Revolution sparked in England, it was directly imported to France by General Marquis De Lafayette. He was a friend of George Washington and had commanded forces at: the Battle of Brandywine, Valley Forge and Yorktown (during the American Revolution). Once the war was over, he would return to France and would openly advocate a similar style revolution. This is significant because it would underscore how he was able to bring to the French people their own ideas of self-determination.

Yet, this idea would morph into something twisted. Where, the people would become frustrated by the lack of progress after the revolution. At which point, they would support the return to absolute power under Napoleon. This event would spark a sharp rise in nationalism, similar to what occurred in America. Where, the people were so frustrated with how out of touch their rulers were, that they had no choice but to rise up and take back what was rightfully theirs. In the case of France, Napoleon would take these ideas of nationalism and use them to help spur his own territorial ambitions.

Where, he would gain control of much of Europe until his defeats at the Battle of Waterloo and in Russia. This is significant because Napoleon was able to take this idea of nationalism and spread it throughout the rest of Europe. Over the course of time, this would help to shape various events that would take place through out the 20th century.

The Rise of Adolph Hitler

The rise of French nationalism during and after the Napoleonic Wars would lead to the rise of German nationalism. Where, at first the French were welcomed as liberators who would help to unit all of Germany. However, the authoritarian rule of Napoleon and the vast cultural differences would lead to the rise of German nationalism. As there was a desire to unite all of the German people less than one country. This would create a rivalry between Germany and France after the fall of Napoleon, where Germany would seek to counteract the influence of France. Over the course of time, this would lead to a number of different wars as the French had no desire to see a strong Germany. Instead their intention was to keep the country as weak as possible. Eventually, these two conflicting views would lead to open warfare between both as: the Franco Prussian War and World War I would be fought based upon the ideas of nationalism. Where, Germany is seeking to take their rightful place as a world power. While, France wanted to see them as weak as possible, out of their nationalistic tendency not to have a power rival next door. Eventually, these two conflicting views would result in the crippling sanctions that were imposed against Germany after World War I. At which point, it was only a matter of time until this resentment / German nationalism would reemerge with Adolph Hitler. This would eventually lead to Hitler invading France and the rest of Europe, in a desire to fulfill the national tendencies that were first planted after Napoleon invaded.

The Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution would be sparked by the ideas of self-determination, as the American along with French Revolutions would provide excellent examples. Where, they would serve as an inspiration for the people to rise up against the oppressive Czar. Part this was fueled by nationalistic feelings throughout the centuries, where Peter the Great and Catherine the Great would make Russia a modern day world power. Yet, it would continue to embrace the practices of the Middle Ages such as: mysticism and the divisions within society. Once World War I began, it became clear that the Czar was out of touch with the people. As the war became more unpopular, this nationalist pride would turn against the Czar, with the majority of Russians supporting the revolution. Like the French Revolution, this one would spin out of control as the communists were able to emerge as the clear victors. This is significant because it would reignite Russian nationalism, as the ideas of communism would soon begin to become one of many ideologies that would play a major role during the 20th century. These nationalistic ideals would eventually collide with German nationalism, where the two countries would have a mutual defense treaty. Then, after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, these ideas would fuel the drive of communism through Eastern Europe. As the Soviet Union would quickly fill the power vacuum left behind by Nazi Germany. This is important because it underscores how the various events are interconnected in one way or another. Where, one could argue that the nationalistic ideas of the American and French Revolutions helped fuel the rise of nationalism in Germany and Russia.

The Cold War

As the Soviet Union was filling any kind of power vacuum, meant that Russian nationalism was remerging. Where, Russia expressed a desire to exercise direct rule over Eastern Europe by installing communist leaning governments. This would lead to a Cold War with the West where, the United States and Western Europe would support free democratically elected governments throughout the world. While, the Soviet Union attempted to install communist leaning governments. This is significant because it underscores how the two conflicting nationalistic tendencies would lead to a tit for tat atmosphere. As the Soviet Union would attempt to install communist governments, while the United States would try to frustrate any kind of ambitions that they may have had. In this particular case, there is a conflict between two different types of nationalism, the ideas of communism and democracy. Where, the communist ideology that was born out of the Russian Revolution; would have a direct conflict with the ideas of self-determination that were born in the American Revolution. Together, the conflict of these different ideologies would be the essence of the Cold War fueled by nationalistic ideals.

The one event that had… [END OF PREVIEW]

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