Nationalism And War Does nationalism have a relationship with the causes of the wars between 1792 and 1914? This can be disputed through the events of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the unification struggles of Germany and Italy in the late 1800s, the Alliance systems of the late 1800s and the assassination of the Austrian archduke before the outbreak of World War 1. During the French Revolution in 1792, an effort was made to remove Austrian presence from French lands. This came about in part because King Louis XVI wanted to seek help from the Austrians to remove the reformers, persuading France to declare war on Austria. The Jacobins were afraid that this war would have an irreversible effect on the Revolution. Therefore the Jacobins, believing in having a duty to the nation, preached nationalistic and liberal ideals to the entire nation, using every kind of communication available to them at the time.
Jacobins inspired patriotism in the young men drafted into the war to draw upon their own nationalism-to fight for France. This led to victory over Austria and in the process, France acquired Belgium. Although nationalism was used to raise the hopes of the French people to victory, it was not the cause of the war. The American and French revolutions were crucial phases in the history of liberalism. (Perry, 377). During these revolutions, signs of nationalistic ideas became apparent that were associated with later wars in Europe.
The Napoleonic wars were a continuation of the revolution, which were no more based on nationalistic ideas than the revolution itself. Napoleon set out in 1799 to conquer Europe in hopes to rule an Empire just as Charlemagne and Alexander the Great did. He set out to accomplish this by over-throwing the Directory and installing a government called the Consulate. In time, he increased his power to a point where he was in total control and appointing himself the Emperor of France. Many of the wars during this time led to nationalistic feelings in the countries that Napoleon had conquered. This became visible in the resistance of the Spanish and Prussians after Napoleon conquered them.
Spain revolted because Napoleon took away the privileges of the nobles and made his brother, who the Spanish considered a foreigner, king. Similarly, during the War of Liberation, patriotic and nationalistic principles led Prussia to revolt against the French invasion. With great patriotism and nationalism, Prussia defeated France in1813. The Napoleonic Wars were not wars of nationalism, but were of one man’s dream of being a conqueror. At another time in history, Bismarck was instrumental in the unification of Germany. It was his thirst for expansion and Prussian rule throughout Germany that drove him.
It was during the unification of the southern states that nationalism played an essential role. With the help of Austria, Bismarcks first strike was at Denmark in 1864. Austria only joined in the hope that Schleswig and Holstein would not become part of Prussia. This was a catalyst for the Austro-Prussian war in 1866 that resulted in the defeat of Austria. In agreement, Prussia assumed territorial control over Schleswig and Holstein and other German states. Consequently, this led to the unification of the northern states, leaving Austria out of Prussian affairs and leaving Prussia as the premier power of Germany.
In achieving this success, Bismarck disregarded parliamentary powers that left him a hated man by many liberals. Bismarck’s actions illustrate that nationalism was not a factor, but instead it was his desire to expand Prussian territory at any cost. Bismarck used nationalism as an important tool in completing the unification. Using the vacant Spanish throne, Bismarck forged a telegram, insinuating that Napoleon and King William had insulted each other. (Perry, 404) This led to high feelings of Nationalism throughout Germany, and led to a confrontation between Prussia and France. This war, known as the Franco-Prussia War, resulted in the southern German states binding together in national unity to come to Prussias aid. This maneuvering was as Bismarck predicted. Central Europe in 1871 bore witness to a great nation and the final steps in the unification of Germany, later to become known as the German Empire.
This also gave them the needed power to play a major role in World War I. Nationalism was the principle factor in the Franco-Prussian War. If it was not for Bismarck raising nationalistic feelings throughout Germany, they may not have gotten the patriotism needed from the southern states to defeat France. In addition, in the late 1800s nationalistic ideas in Italy begin to surface, eventually leading to the transformation into the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Giuseppe Mazzini inspired revolutionary movements and nationalistic feelings within the population of the younger generation. The nationalistic feelings in Italy, especially illustrated by the Kingdom of Sardinia led to elimination of Austrian presence in Italy.
Cavour also played an important role, for he wanted to see Italy totally liberated. He sought to get permission from France to invade the Papal States. Because Napoleon was interested in weakening Austria, he agreed. Almost every state at this time became part of Sardinia, which almost completed the unification and freedom from foreign rule. Garibaldi successfully drove out the French from Naples and Sicily, consequently leading The Kingdom of Two Sicilies to be liberated by Garibaldi from the French Bourbon King.
Italy allied with Prussia during the Prussia and Austria war, and was rewarded with the acquisition of Venice. Afterwards, France left Rome during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, leaving Italy totally unified with Rome as its capital. The Nationalistic ideals of the leaders and the people in Italy and after the failure of unification in 1842 led Italy to fight even harder to be free of foreign rule. Nationalistic and Liberal ideals were the tools that Italy used to achieve their success in1861. The aggressions that were seen in Europe around the late 1800s due to the rise in nationalism led to the formation of military alliances.
The result of these aggressions was a mistaken belief that these alliances would promote peace. The Triple alliance of 1882 was formed for several reasons, benefiting each country with its own selfish needs. Similarities in nationalistic ideas and protection are the reasons behind Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy forming an alliance. This alliance gave Germany a stronger relationship with France, and also aided Austria-Hungary against the possible expansion of Russia into their territory. In 1882 during the French occupation of Tunisia, Italy joined the alliance, due to their opposition of the occupation.
To balance the European powers, Russia, Great Britain and France formed the Triple Entente. Nationalistic fear against the Triple Alliance that motivated these countries to form the Triple Entente for protection. The completion of the Triple Entente spawned from the Entente Cordiale of 1904 led to increased tension in Europe. This inevitably led the two alliances into a great struggle to keep their nationalistic identities, which led to World War I in 1914. The Austro-Hungarian Empires thirst for nationalism was a major stronghold in the beginning of World War I.
The rising conflict between Austria and Serbia was caused by the Austrian support for the Croats within Serbian territory. Gaurito Princip, a Serbian nationalist, assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914. This pushed Austria-Hungary into declaring war on Serbia, which led to Germany to declare war on Russia and France. Great Britain entered and declared war on Germany. With other successions of battles and countries joining in, and the occurrence of the assassination of the Archduke both sides attempted to protect their nationalistic identities, marking the beginning of World War I in 1914.
The Napoleonic Wars and the unification of the northern German states were examples of a dictatorial leadership aiming to conquer foreign countries, but not necessarily using nationalism as their motivation. Nationalism emerged during the French Revolution and played an integral role in many of the wars between 1792 and 1914. During the last steps of the unification of Germany initiated by Bismarck, the Alliance systems, and the assassination of the Austrian archduke, Nationalism acted as a driving force for war. History.