Nationalism made a huge impact during the First World War. Most dominating countries in World War I used nationalism to expand their territories and dominate the other countries. Dominating other countries made a huge impact in our history. Nationalism is an extreme pride or devotion that people feel for their country or culture. It is also proved as a useful tool for encouraging the expansion of the nation. During the World War One there were two kinds of nationalism, the desire of subject people for independence and the desire of independent nations for dominance and restige.
It led to the formation of new nations, such as Germany and Italy during the 1870’s. Nationalism also led to the competition for more power. Germany was united in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, and it rapidly became the strongest economic and military power in Europe. From 1871 to 1890, Germany wanted to preserve its domination in Europe by forming a series of peaceful alliances with other powers. After 1890, Germany was more aggressive. Germany wanted to build up its influence in every part of the world.
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German foreign olicy in these years was best expressed by the term ‘Weltpolitik’ (World Politics). Because German ambitions were extended to many parts of the globe, Germany came into serious conflicts with all other major powers of Europe (except Austria- Hungary) from 1890 to 1914. Bismarck used wars to cause national unity within Germany but these nationalistic feelings soon disappeared once the country was actually unified. There were several different types of people located in Germany, all of them containing different views on the how the Empire should be ruled.
Bismarck as a part of the Junkers or upper class, who supported militarism, and didn’t like universal suffrage because it was a threat on their way of life. On the other hand, Southern German states embraced a liberal constitution, and a movement towards democracy grew in this region. Politics were not the only difference; religion broke down nationalism as well. Catholics who lived in the Empire felt uncomfortable living in a Protestant dominated environment. They soon created their own political party, the Center Party.
This party opposed many of Bismarck’s ideas and enticed him to ake restrictions on Catholic education and work. Both Protestants and Catholics disliked Bismarck for putting restrictions on religion. Along with confinements on religion Bismarck started putting restriction on politics. He created anti- socialist laws, which banned Socialism, prohibited the printing of Socialist ideas and Socialist meetings. All of these restrictions prove that German Nationalism was credited to the three wars but after these wars were won, Germany’s many differences shone brightly through the country’s seeping cracks.
Italy was unified in 1870. It was barely powerful enough to be counted as a great power. Its parliamentary system was corrupt and inefficient. Its industrial progress was slow. But Italy had great territorial ambitions. Italy wanted Tunis and Tripoli in northern Africa. This brought Italy into conflicts with France because Tunis was sphere of influence. Italy also wanted Italia Irredenta-Trieste, Trentio and Tyrol. Although the majority of the people in these places were Italians, they were kept under the rule of the Dual Monarchy. Thus Italy came into serious conflicts with Austria-Hungary.
In 1870, Britain was the most industrially advanced country in Europe. It also possessed the largest overseas empire and the largest naw in the world. Britain did not want to trouble itself with the continental affairs of Europe. Its main concern was to preserve its overseas empire and its overseas trade by maintaining a large navy. Before 1890, its chief enemies were France and Russia. The colonial interests of France often clashed with those of Britain. (Britain and France had colonial rivalries n Asia and Africa–for example, India, Burma, Thailand, Egypt. Russia’s interest in the Balkan area also alarmed Britain, as British naval interests in the Mediterranean Sea would be immediately threatened. After 1890, as Germany went on increasing her naval strength and threatened British naval supremacy and the British overseas interests, it became Britain’s chief enemy. Nationalism is one of the most important things in World War l. Countries like Germany, Italy, and Britain dominated in the First World War because of nationalism. Nationalism greatly affected our history.