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“The Rise of Nationalism in Europe” is a chapter in the book of History for Class 10th that deals with several issues envisioned by Sorrieu. The chapter will also look at the multiple processes by which nationalism and nation-states came into being in 19th century Europe. Students will cover various topics in this chapter including the French Revolution, Rise of Nationalism in Europe, Imperialism, and Nationalism. The period of the 19th century was known as the age of nationalism in Europe whereas, in the 20th century, there was an increase in the national movements all around Africa and Asia.
Write a note on:
- Giuseppe Mazzini
- Count Camillo di Cavour
- The Greek War of independence
- Frankfurt parliament
- The role of women in nationalist struggles
Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian revolutionary. He was born in Genoa in 1807. He joined the secret society of the Carbonari. He was only 24 years old when he was exiled in 1831 for attempting a revolution in Liguria. He subsequently founded two more underground societies namely, Young Italy in Marseilles and Young Europe in Berne. Members of these societies were like-minded young men from Poland, France, Italy and the German states. Mazzini believed that God had planned nations to be natural units of mankind. Therefore, Italy should not remain a ‘patchwork’ of small states and kingdoms. It had to be united into a single, unified republic within a wider alliance of nations. This unification should become the basis of Italian liberty. Following his ideas, secret societies were also set up in Germany, France, Switzerland and Poland. Mazzini’s relentless opposition to monarchy and his vision of democracy made the conservatives nervous.
Count Camillo di Cavour:
Count Camillo di Cavour was the Chief Minister of Italy. He led the movement to unify the regions of Italy. He was neither a revolutionary nor a democrat. Like many other wealthy and educated members of the Italian elite, he spoke French better than Italian. Through a tactful and diplomatic alliance with France, which was engineered by Cavour, Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in defeating the Austrian forces in 1859.
The Greek War of independence:
Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire since the 15th century. The growth of revolutionary nationalism in Europe sparked off a struggle for independence amongst the Greeks which began in 1821. Nationalists in Greece got support from other Greeks living in exile and also from many Western Europeans sharing sympathies for ancient Greek culture. Poets and artists elevated Greece as the cradle of European civilisation and mobilised public opinion to support its struggle against an Islamic empire. Finally, the Treaty of Constantinople was signed in 1832 which recognised Greece as an independent nation. This war inspired nationalist feelings among the educated elites of Europe.
Elections for an all-German National Assembly were held on the basis of universal adult franchise. Its first meeting was convened in the Church of St. Paul at Frankfurt in 1848. It aimed at enacting a constitution for unified Germany. It was decided to form a legislative assembly consisting of nearly six hundred elected members of different states and a cabinet. The Prussian King, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, was appointed as its head. Friedrich, however, rejected it and joined other monarchs to oppose the elected assembly. The parliament was dominated by the middle classes who resisted the demands of workers and artisans and consequently, lost their support. In the end, troops were called in and the assembly was forced to disband. Consequently, autocratic and despotic governments were formed in several German states.
The role of women in nationalist struggles:
Women played a vital role in the national struggles of Europe. They participated actively in the liberal movement. They formed their own political associations, started several newspapers and took part in political meetings and demonstrations. For example, Madame Roland always opposed the rights of the French monarchy in her articles. She was the chairperson of the Girondin Party of France.
What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective identity among the French people?
Analyse the measures and practices introduced by the French revolutionaries to create a sense of collective identity among the French people.
What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective identity among the French people? Describe any five steps taken by French Revolutionaries to create a sense of collective identity among the French people.
The French revolutionaries took the following steps to create a sense of collective identity among the French people:
- They made the idea of the ‘fatherland’ popular among the citizens. These ideas laid stress on the notion of a united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution.
- They chose a new French flag or the tricolour to replace the former royal standard.
- The Estates General was elected by a body of active citizens and it was renamed as the National Assembly.
- New hymns were composed, oaths were taken and martyrs were commemorated in the name of the nation.
- A centralised administrative system was established and it formulated uniform laws for all the citizens within its territory.
- Internal custom duties and dues were abolished and a uniform system of weights and measures was adopted.
- Regional dialects were discouraged and French became the common language of all the people in the nation.
Who were Marianne and Germania? What was the importance of the way in which they were portrayed?
Marianne and Germania were female allegories invented by the artists in the 19th century to represent the nation.
- Marianne: In France, the female allegory was christened as Marianne, a popular Christian name. She illustrated the ideas of a people’s nation. Her characteristics were drawn from notions of liberty and individualism—the red cap, the tricolour and the cockade. Statues of Marianne were erected in public squares to remind the public of national unity and motivate them. Marianne images were also marked on coins and stamps.
- Germania: Germania was the allegory of the German nation. In visual representations, she wears a crown of oak leaves, as the German oak stands for heroism.
Briefly trace the process of German unification.
Describe the process of unification of Germany.
- The German people did not live in a united nation. In 1848, efforts were made to unify the numerous German-speaking principalities into a nation-state under a democratic constitution. Men and women of the liberal middle classes combined their demands for constitutionalism along with national unification.
- The middle class population took advantage of the growing unrest to push their demands for the creation of a nation-state. This new state was to be based upon parliamentary principles, and freedom of the press and association.
- Different regions of the German Confederation were forged into a nation-state which was to be governed by an elected parliament. However, this initiative was subdued by the powerful forces of monarchy and military. They were supported by large landowners of Prussia known as junkers.
- From then, Prussia assumed the leadership of the movement for national unification. Its Chief Minister, Otto von Bismarck, was the chief architect of this process. The unification took place with the help of the Prussian army and bureaucracy.
- Prussia won in the wars spread over seven years against Austria, Denmark and France. Hence, the process of unification was completed. The Prussian King, William I, was then proclaimed as the German emperor at Versailles.
On 18th January, 1871, an assembly constituting the princes of the German states, army representatives and prominent Prussian ministers including the Chief Minister Otto von Bismarck gathered to proclaim the new German empire.
What changes did Napoleon introduce to make the administrative system more efficient in the territories ruled by him?
Explain any four provisions of the Napoleon Civil Code of 1804.
“Napoleon had, no doubt, destroyed democracy in France but in the administrative sphere, he had incorporated revolutionary principles in order to make the whole system more rational and efficient.” Support the statement with arguments.
Explain any five social and administrative reforms introduced by Napoleon in the region under his control?
Napoleon introduced the following changes to make the administrative system more efficient in the territories ruled by him:
- Napoleon abolished all privileges based upon birth. He established equality before law and introduced the right to property.
- He simplified the administrative divisions, abolished the feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom and manorial dues.
- He removed guild restrictions in the towns.
- He improved the systems of transport and communication.
- Peasants, artisans, workers and new businessmen were given extensive freedom.
- He introduced uniform laws, standardised weights and measures and introduced a common national currency. Such measures facilitated the movement and exchange of goods and capital from one region to another.
Explain what is meant by the 1848 revolution of the liberals. What were the political, social and economic ideas supported by the liberals?
The 1848 revolution of the liberals meant a revolution that was led by the educated middle classes of Europe.
The events that occurred in February 1848 in France had brought the abdication of the monarch and a republic based on universal male suffrage had been proclaimed. In other parts of Europe such as Germany, Italy, Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, independent nation-states had not been formed. Hence, the men and women from the liberal middle classes demanded constitutionalism as well as national unification. The ideas supported by the liberals are given as follows:
- Politically, the liberals supported the ideas of government by consent; the end of autocracy and clerical privileges; a constitution; and, a representative and parliamentary form of government.
- Socially, the liberals laid stress on the abolition of discrimination based upon birth.
- Economically, the liberals stressed the inviolability of private property, the freedom of markets and the abolition of state-imposed restrictions on the movement of goods and capital.
Choose three examples to show the contribution of culture to the growth of nationalism in Europe.
How did culture play an important role in creating the idea of the nation in Europe? Explain with examples.
How did Romanticism seek to develop a particular form of national sentiment during the 18th century?
The growth of nationalism in Europe was not borne out of wars and territorial expansion. Different forms of culture such as art, poetry, stories and music played an important role. Following three examples can be given to show its contribution:
- Romanticism sought to develop a particular form of nationalist sentiment. Romantic artists and poets generally criticised the glorification of reason and science and focussed instead on emotions, intuition and mystical feelings. Their effort was to create a shared collective heritage and a common cultural past as the basis of a nation.
- Romantics, such as Johann Gottfried Herder, claimed that true German culture was to be found among the common people. It was through folk songs, folk poetry and folk dances that the true spirit of the nation could be revived. Therefore, collecting and recording these forms of folklore were essential to the process of nation-building.
- The vernacular languages were given emphasis not just to recover a forgotten ancient past, but also to carry the modern nationalist message to the masses. This was especially visible in the case of Poland, which had been divided in the end of the eighteenth century by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Even though Poland did not exist as an independent territory any longer, nationalist sentiments were kept alive through music and language. For instance, Karol Kurpinski popularised the national struggle in his musical performances and opera. The folk dances of polonaise and mazurka became important nationalist symbols.
Through a focus on any two countries, explain how nations developed over the nineteenth century.
Explain the process of unification of Germany and Italy.
Examine the 'Nation State Building' process is Germany after 1848.
In the course of the nineteenth century, several nations emerged in Europe. A nation-state was the one in which the majority of the citizens shared common history, descent, language and culture. The following points sum up the process of ‘Nation State Building’ in Germany after 1848.
- Nationalist feelings were widespread among the middle-class Germans in the nineteenth century. In 1848, an attempt was made to unite different regions of the German Confederation into a nation-state governed by an elected parliament.
- This liberal initiative was repressed by the combined forces of the monarchy and the military, who were supported by the large landowners of Prussia. Thereafter, Prussia took on the leadership of the movement for national unification. Its Chief Minister, Otto von Bismarck, was the most influential leader. He took the help of the Prussian army and bureaucracy in the process.
- Prussia won over Austria, Denmark and France and then the process of unification was accomplished. In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I, was proclaimed as the German emperor in a ceremony held at Versailles.
- The new German Empire was formed when an assembly consisting of the princes of the German states, representatives of the army and important Prussian ministers including the Chief Minister, Otto von Bismarck, gathered in Versailles to proclaim a new empire headed by Kaiser William I of Prussia.
- The nation-building process in Germany had demonstrated the dominance of Prussian state power. The new state placed a strong emphasis on modernising the currency, banking system as well as legal and judicial procedures in Germany. The practices followed in Prussia became a model for the rest of Germany.
How was the history of nationalism in Britain unlike the rest of Europe?
How was the formation of the nation-state the result of a long-drawn-out process in Britain? Explain.
Describe any three conditions that led to the formation of the British Nation State.
The following are the three conditions that led to the formation of the British Nation State. The story of nationalism in Britain is different from other nations in Europe. In Britain the formation of nation state was the result of a long process of struggle. Before the eighteenth century there was no British nation as such. Rather there were primary ethnic identities such as English, Welsh, Scot or Irish. All these ethnic group had their own cultural political trade traditions.
The symbols of new Britain—the British Flag ( the Union Jack)and the English Language—were actively promoted and the older nations survived as subordinate partners in this union.
The propagation of English culture over others created United Kingdom of Great Britain in the following years. English Parliament seized power from the monarchy in 1688.
England and Scotland entered into the Act of Union in 1797 and Ireland was forcibly incorporated into the UK in 1808.
Why did nationalist tension emerge in the Balkans?
How did the Balkan region become a source of nationalist tension in Europe after 1871? Explain four points.
‘‘The Balkan issue was one of the major factors responsible for the First World War’’. Explain.
Describe the explosive conditions prevailed in Balkan after 1871 in Europe.
The Balkans was a region of ethnic and geographical variations. It consisted of modern-day Albania, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Herzegovina and Montenegro. The inhabitants of this region are commonly known as the Slavs.
- A large part of the Balkans was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. In the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire was coming down to collapse. There were revolts by various nationalities for freedom and independence.
- The spread of the romantic ideas in the Balkans also resulted in nationalist propaganda in the region. The imperialistic designs of the European powers further complicated the issue.
- The Russian Czars encouraged the Pan Slav Movement in order to bring the states of Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece under its control.
- The other European powers were alarmed at the growth of Russian influence in the Balkans. They exploited the situation to further their interests. This led to a series of wars in the region. This trouble in the Balkan region was one of the chief causes of the First World War.
Summarise the attributes of a nation, as Renan understands them. Why in his view are nations important?
Ernst Renan was a French philosopher who delivered a speech at the University of Sorbonne in 1882. In that speech, he outlined the idea of what makes a nation. According to Renan, nations are formed by a common language, race, religion or territory. It is the culmination of a long past of endeavours, sacrifices and devotion. A nation does not take any interest in annexing or holding onto another nation against its will. Nations are important because their existence guarantee liberty. The liberty of individuals would be lost if there are no nations.
Describe the political ends that list hopes to achieve through economic measures.
Zollverein referred to a custom union which was formed in 1834 at the initiative of Prussia. It was joined by most of the German states. The main objective behind the formation of zollverein was to bind the Germans economically into a nation. That would strengthen the nation materially by stimulating its internal productivity and protecting its external interests. It would awaken national sentiments among the people and foster national integration.
Discuss the importance of language and popular traditions in the creation of national identity.
Language and local culture play an instrumental role in the rise of nationalism. The traditional cultural norms can be utilised to form the idea of a common belonging and thus, construct a national identity. People with different perspectives can be united with a common language, a common past and a common cultural reality.
Describe the causes of the Silesian weavers’ uprising. Comment on the viewpoint of the journalist.
The uprising of the Silesian weavers broke out in 1845. The main cause of the uprising was drastic reduction in the payment to the weavers. They were paid by the contractors. These contractors supplied the raw materials to the weavers and gave orders for finished textiles. Hence, a large number of weavers marched to the mansions of the contractors to demand higher wages.
The viewpoint of the journalist was unsympathetic and biased against the weavers. The journalist largely favoured the weaving contractors. He failed to recognise the sufferings face by the weavers. He seemed to have observed the event with a limited perspective.
Compare the position on the question of women’s rights voiced by three writers (Carl Welcker, Louise Otto-Paters and an anonymous reader) cited above. What do they reveal about liberal ideology?
Carl Welcker: He was a liberal politician and an elected member of the Frankfurt Parliament. He stated that women are weak and dependent who always require the protection of men. Her responsibilities are mainly nurturing children and taking care of the household. Equality between the sexes would endanger harmony and destroy families.
Louise Otto-Paters: She was the founder of a feminist political association who also started a women’s journal. According to Otto-Paters, men should strive to gain freedom and liberty for all. Their untiring efforts aim only at the welfare of men. She advocated for equal rights to be given to the women.
An anonymous writer: According to his or her view, women should not be discriminated on the basis of their gender. They must be given the right to vote.
Louise Otto-Paters and the anonymous writer argued for women’s rights to liberty and political equality, but Carl Welcker was not in favour of granting these rights to women.