Nationalism is usually seen as a form of identification to ones nationality. Nationalists are individuals who regard national interests and culture as being superior to all other aspects of life. Nationalism, therefore, enables the citizens to show dedication to advancing those attributes that serve as representations of a nation’s or state identity. This explicates the aspects, which enable individuals identify with the common ancestry, language, culture, traditions, as well as religion. The paper explains the manner, in which states, as well as the citizens, adopt nationalistic beliefs in an endeavor to achieve a common expanse and political ideas. The paper focuses on nationalism in the 20th century, evaluating its importance while highlighting how countries have been shaped by the aspects of nationalism.

Nationalism Today

Presently, nationalism is perceived as a progression, which is contemplated as being paramount for the purpose of realizing economic, social, and culture of the citizens in a nation/state. Nationalism identifies the manner, in which a nation defines itself, especially with regard to societal aspects of its people. Socially and culturally, a nation can be defined as a group of people, who are united together by a common religion, language, and traditions. Throughout history, nationalism has been utilized as a vehicle for extending knowledge beyond a neighborhood, county, or a province. Education has always been important in enabling individuals to identify themselves with the history, as well as the social structures of their nation. In most instances, political nationalism is observable when a country’s or state’s institutions act as mechanisms for facilitating attachment amongst its citizenry.

The political aspects of nationalism have two bases. They can either be based on egotistic or collective views, and, in the two instances, instigate autocratic or dictatorial attributes. Other aspects of nationalism involve civic or ethnic pride. Ethnic nationalism refers to the socialistic doctrine where individuals assume collectivistic doctrines as a guidebook. Such views on nationalism have collectivized individuals on the basis of the same race, bloodline, and, at times, ethnicity. The aforementioned aspects are what has had collectivized the Russians and the Germans in the 20th century. Although, in many instances, civic nationalism is perceived to be individualistic, there are cases when it is associated with collectivistic views. England and France are the two countries where the aspects of collectivistic and civic nationalism have been observable during the 20th century. Nationalism congregates people with varying ideologies, and this prompts observers to seek to identify the differences and the similarities between individuals in question. Such attempts to study behavior and relationships between people have helped to uncover the threats, as well as the unifying factors that facilitate the foundation of a state.

Significance of Nationalism in the 20th Century

Industrialization and Capitalism

During the 20th century, the doctrine of nationalism prompted conservatives, democrats, fascists, and communists to assume extremist views, as they attempted to determine the destiny of their respective nations. Commitment to the institutionalized nationalism gave rise to various forms of political struggles, and this assured the citizenry receives some sense of assistance, as they attempted to determine the destiny of their nations. In this century, the establishment and growth of industries and trade has set the basis for economic credit in a much better way than in any other time in the history of the ancient provinces and cities. From an eco-political point of view, classic European states have managed to incorporate the most important aspects of nationalism in their region, as well as globally, with a surmounting integration of processes. In fact, the Europeans are credited with facilitating the disintegration of some of the most nonflexible prototypes of industrialization, and such moves have facilitated the concentration of jobs and capital investments in regions under their domain.

Enlightenment of Different Cultures and Religions

Most modern nations have shunned extreme aspects of nationalism. Nevertheless, individuals still continue to find a common connection with regard to languages, religions, as well as what is regarded to as decency and morality. Modern day nationalism has been evident in such states as Israel, the United States, India, and Switzerland. Although Switzerland, as a country, has no common language or religion, Swiss citizens have always demonstrated some significant aspects of nationality in their common faith and belief. Many Swiss citizens identify themselves with the Protestant and Roman Catholic religions in a manner, which fosters the national unity. This is despite different languages, such as Italian, French, and German, being spoken in several parts of the country.

Nationalistic views have, at times, served as defenders of national integrity. For instance, nationalism is believed to be what saved China from the control of the British government. In fact, during the time when the British and other European nations were aggressively acquiring territories in Asia, China remained relatively uncontrolled due to its several nationalistic movements that began arising in the 1900, and this, in turn, made the British and others shun China. Nationalism is what has made the Chinese people play critical roles in the economical and political advancements of the 20th century. Such nationalism has enabled the Chinese leaders to uplift the living standards for the citizens, as well as several other nations from all over the world.

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Due to their diverse background, most emigrants to the United States had little in common during the Colonial Period. Later, the emigrants managed to come together as they endeavored to establish a common political identity, as well as an independent religious and economic state; this was under the influence of 19th century enlightenment, pointing out adoption right for everyone. Israel has originated, almost exclusively, from the immigrants of various nations and ethical groups of Jews who shared common ideal that was projected mainly to religious nationalism. Ancient aspirations of Jews for a state revitalization in Palestine had remained unrealized for about 2000 years. Result of genocide performed by national socialists, who ruled Germany during and before World War II. It, in a way, inspired the Jewish people to form a successful dynamic force drastically. They revived national language, which was Hebrew, hence established a new territory with Judaism as a territorial religion.

Unity or Diversity, a Response to Globalization

Despite the impact of the western influence on its cultural and political practices, the Indian state has remained united, a scenario which is largely attributable to the sense of nationalism amongst the citizens. In this regard, India stands out as the country where the complicated cultural and linguistic influences have failed to alter the mentality, as well as the sense of nationhood amongst the citizens of colonized nations around the world. Even with the multicultural and multilingual status of the citizenry, most nationals remain united for several common courses; a fact that moulds a state on the basis of the beliefs of its people.

The Impact of Nationalism and its Consequences


Nationalism in Germany developed as a result of emergence of new ideas from the liberalism with Romantic Movement. The opposition against French invasion and France prompted changes in the balance of power, especially after Germany assumed the status of a confederation. Nevertheless, political strikes in Europe brought about the weakness and divisions that enabled nationalists in the former Prussia to implement their radical views in Germany. With nationalism resulting into the failure, to unite Prussia after 1848, there arose demands for political change. The change resulted into the foundation of Germany as a state, especially because German leaders were aggrieved by the tribulations, which afflicted the poor working class as a result of unemployment and failed harvests. The fall of Prussia, however, denied the people of central Europe an opportunity to dominate the global political and cultural scenes, it is also demonstrated by the fact that Germany lacked oversea territories.


The aspects of Greek nationalism became evident as early as the first half of the 19th century. During the 19th century, the Greek Orthodox Church began assuming ethnical affiliation. For this reason, Eastern Europeans, e.g. the Bulgarians, sought to establish their own churches. In the late 19th century, several Greek leaders worked tirelessly to unite the Greek people, although they differed on several aspects of leadership. Prime Minister Theodore Deliyannis, 1885 to 1905, mobilized the army in order to secure colonies for the Greeks. Despite the efforts of the government, this mobilization resulted into the war with Turkey in 1897 over the Crete Island, a situation which caused the humiliation of the people by the superior Ottoman forces.


Denmark attempted to unify its areas of Holstein and Schleswig into the Danish territory, a situation that prompted the intervention of Prussians and the Austrians. The intervening forces, being guided by nationalists, claimed to be intervening on behalf of the Germans who lived in the regions that Denmark wished to annex. This caused the war, which Bismarck claimed would result into unification of all German lands for the common good of the people.

Negative Impacts of Nationalism

Nationalism has led to several conflicts due to the manner, in which it aggravates differences amongst people. In fact, nationalism has, on several occasions, failed to act as a unifying force amongst the citizenry, as well as the inhabitants of a certain region. It has, therefore, initiated destructive cycle where dictatorships and political rivalry amongst superior nations resulted into military engagements. Moreover, nationalism has been seen as the main drive, which prompted leaders, such as Slobodan Milosevice and Adolf Hitler, to commit the atrocities within and outside their countries. It is, indeed, a culture which makes the small nations and minorities feel insecure, especially when superior societies, such as the French, Russian, and the English nations become extremely nationalistic.


Ideologically, nationalism has resulted into extreme and diverse forms of conflicting manifestations. The state structure and common goals have developed and demands participation of the entire nation, including foreigners. It is crucial for every country to build a relationship between the majority and the minority. Nationalism played positive and negative roles in the history of humanity. Currently, nationalism has transformed the manner, in which nations respond to domestic crisis, as well as how they treat the international affairs.


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