Nationalism In World War One

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“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first" by Charles de Gaulle very accurately describes the nationalistic ideology. In this paper, I will explore the effects of nationalistic tactics used by the leaders on the general public in several European countries. This, along with multiple other factors, ultimately led to the catastrophic World War One, which killed over fifteen million people. Nationalism was the winning political power during the time as it took control of peoples minds and provided them with a sense of unity, which disregarded the logical consequences but instead thrived on the promise of adventure and self-sacrifice that the war would bring. I…show more content…
In this sense, Nationalism can be seen as a direct factor of the war, however the roots of the conflict can also be linked to Nationalism, as this was the ideology that took over the people on both sides of the conflict. It’s a tool that was used by the leaders to pursue their own agenda, all while getting the support of the public. This was done through reminding people of who they are, where they belong and constantly brain washing them with fear of losing their homeland. When “sheafs of flags appeared at windows, and howling processions rolled out on the boulevards”, it subconsciously reminded the people of their identity and the nation they belonged to. The idea of being part of a nation and identifying with its people created a bond like no other. In the book The Balkan Express, Ross describes how the people’s identities were encouraged by governments to be defined in terms of their national background rather than their personality. Therefore, in time of national crisis, the people were called on to unite and stand together to preserve and protect their nation, the state and its…show more content…
It could also be said that a healthy dose of nationalism is essential to a fully functional country, however finding your identity by ‘othering’ out other identities does in fact lead to unnecessary conflict. We all have some kind of national identity that is forced upon us, and one that we usually embrace. The prospect of war in Britain was delightful to “something like ninety percent of the population”, which shows the unity between the majority of the population to eliminate people different from them. Since the birth of nationalism, it has been used in many different forms, depending on the agenda of the leader manipulating it. When used correctly by the nation leaders, “Reason and mercy are swept away in one great flood of hatred”. As evident by history, the leaders succeeded in winning the support of their people as the idea of going to war and bringing home the victory became the most important

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