Essay on Nationalism in European countries

There are many similarities and differences between the ideas of nationalism in United Germany and in the Austrian, Ottoman, and Russian Empires. Some of differences are caused because nationalism can either be a uniting factor, or it can cause widespread discontent among a country’s people. Nationalism, during this time, was banned in most empires because it was considered a threat to the traditional ways of life. Economic, social, or other structural problems can also cause nationalism to not be embraced in some countries.

In Germany, for example, the country’s constant successes in wars caused the German people to become nationalistic. These new thoughts of superiority overrode the economic and social problems of the time that were eventually mended by extensive reforms that were enforced by Otto Von Bismarck. Germany was considered the success story of Europe in creating a feeling of nationalism for these reasons.

However, in other empires, such as Austria, nationalism wasn’t inspired by any particular event because it was declining in power and influence. Minority groups, such as the Hungarians, were becoming restless because of constant oppression and cruelty. This problem was solved, though, when Francis Deak asked Austria’s ruler, Francis Joseph, if the Hungarians could break away and form their own country. This request was declined, but in its place, Francis Joseph changed the name of his country to Austria-Hungary. Even though this solved the problems of the Hungarians, many other minorities were now wanting their independence. This caused even more steps backward from nationalism in this country because if the people are not happy, then nationalism has no chance of growing and spreading.

Likewise, the Ottoman Empire continued its struggle to gain strength as a united empire. People, like in the Austrian Empire, were multinational which caused unification problems due to troubles with communication and trade between differing nationalities. Nationalists movements began to take place but were not successful. The rest of Europe was considering the Balkans to be a dying empire; so many wars were fought over the divination of the Ottoman lands. The Ottoman Empire never gained nationalism because of an overall weakening empire, as well as such a diverse population.

In the same way, the Russian Empire strained to become nationalistically united. Russia had the same problems as the Austrian and Ottoman empires-a diverse populace. Even though Russia was considered a great world power, with unlimited natural resources and a huge size, Russia remained economically undeveloped. This caused social discontent because most of the population consisted of serfs who were unhappy and restless. In 1861, Alexander II emancipated the serfs, which was a turning point for Russia because it encouraged industrialization due to the fact that the former serfs had to move to cities and seek jobs.

Likewise, nationalism is proven to be a problem for world peace and unity because it causes people to believe that their country is better than another country. This could, and sometimes does, lead to useless and pointless wars, which causes death and money loss. Nationalism is a fundamental root for differences and conflicts for the same reasons. Furthermore, of the German, Austrian, Ottoman, and Russian Empires, only one empire sustained nationalism-Germany. It was caused because of a feeling of superiority and that is why nationalism can be a problem for the world.

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