This article gives a brief summary for quick revision of the chapter "The Rise of Nationalism in Europe" which is the first chapter of the History textbook (Social Science) of Class 10 under the Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE).
Introduction to the chapter Rise of Nationalism in Europe: The nature of nationalism in Europe changed dramatically. There was no such thing as nationalism in Europe (in its present form). At the time, all Christians in Western Europe were Catholics; all educated people spoke Latin, and all lived under the Holy Roman Empire. As a result, mass allegiance to a nation was unknown during those centuries. However, three developments brought about gradual changes.
(i) The Renaissance ushered in the rise of vernacular languages and their use in literary expression.
(ii) During the Reformation, several national churches seceded from the Catholic Church.
(iii) The rise of powerful dynasties and kingdoms established and consolidated large independent states in England, France, Spain, Portugal, and Denmark.
- These developments laid the groundwork for the rise of nationalism in Europe. However, until the late 18th century, a nation was identified by the name or person of the sovereign. Examples include the Tudors and Stuarts of England, as well as the Habsburgs of Austria.
- Only in the nineteenth century did nationalism become such a powerful force that it brought about dramatic changes in Europe's intellectual and political space.
- Instead of multi-national dynastic empires (such as the Habsburgs of Austria or the Tsars of Russia), the new nation-states arose. These new nation-states were ruled by a centralised power over a clearly defined territory.
- Not only the ruler but also the common people shared a common identity and history in these states. Nation-states and nationalism emerged in Europe as a result of various events and processes.
The spread and rise of nationalism in Europe.
The landed aristocracy was Europe's most powerful class until the nineteenth century. Despite being a small group, they owned the majority of the land. They were a close-knit group, linked together by marriage ties.
- They were brought together by a shared way of life. However, the vast majority of people were peasants or tenants with small landholdings. Serfs farmed vast estates in Eastern and Central Europe.
- The majority of land in Western Europe was farmed by tenants and small landowners.
- The Industrial Revolution resulted in significant social change. It gave rise to new social groups comprised of the working and middle classes.
- Liberalism and national unity were spread by the educated middle class. They demanded an end to the aristocracy's privileges.
The Treaty of Vienna
The victorious European powers devised a plan for Europe after defeating Napoleon by fighting together. Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria were among these powers. Duke Metternich, Austria's chancellor, led them. Under a new European settlement, these powers altered Europe's political map.
- Napoleon's rise, conquests, and defeat in 1815 spawned a new ideology in Europe known as Conservatism.
- There was a desire to return to the state's and society's established traditional institutions. European governments believed that monarchy, the Church, social hierarchy, and property ownership should all be preserved. They wished to fortify the monarchy by making it more effective and powerful. They hoped to accomplish this by having a modern army, an efficient bureaucracy, and a dynamic economy.
- The restored monarchies devolved into despotism. They would not tolerate any criticism or opposition. They censored newspapers, books, plays, and songs in order to reflect the ideas of liberty and freedom popularised by the French Revolution. However, liberals continued to spread these ideas and fight for press freedom.
- As a result of this repression, a number of revolts erupted in Europe after 1815. Revolutionaries formed secret societies to fight for liberty and freedom and to oppose the monarchies established by the Vienna Congress.
The age of revolutions and the Greek War of Independence
When liberalism and nationalism were combined, they became a powerful force in many parts of Europe. It sparked revolutions in Italy and Germany and Ireland, Poland, Greece, and Ottoman Empire provinces. The educated middle class, which included professors, school teachers, clerks, and members of the new commercial middle classes, led these revolutions.
- In 1821, the Greeks were the first to revolt against the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
- They were greatly influenced and impressed by the national and liberal movements spreading throughout Europe. Greeks living in exile also backed nationalists in Greece. Poets and artists joined the campaign as well, believing Greece to be the cradle of European civilization.
- The famous English poet Lord Byron even fought in the war against the Turks. In 1824, he died during the war. In a naval battle in 1827, England, France, and Russia defeated the Turks, Egyptians, and their allies.
- In 1827, they signed a Treaty in London that forced the Turks to recognise Greece as an independent state subject to Turkish suzerainty. Finally, Greece was recognised as an independent nation by the Treaty of Constantinople in 1832.
- In January 1833, Greece was declared a Kingdom, and Prince Otto, the second King of Greece, was crowned.
Nationalism and imperialism
The character of nationalism gradually changed as the nineteenth century progressed. It began as a humane and tolerant creed based on the idea of brotherhood. However, by the late nineteenth century, nationalism had become a symbol of rivalry among various national movements.
- Nationalist groups all over the world became intolerant of one another and were ready to go to war on the smallest pretext.
- Bismarck's astute diplomacy and readiness to go to war aided him in successfully uniting Germany.
- His "blood and iron" policy inspired other major European powers to use their subjects' nationalist aspirations to further their own imperialistic goals, thus militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism had emerged. This tension was particularly visible in the Balkans after 1871.
- The Balkans were a region that included modern-day Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The people who lived in these areas belonged to the Slavic race. The disintegration of the Ottoman Empire caused unrest in this region. When European subject nationalities declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire, the Balkan peoples did the same.
- It resulted in major and intense conflict in the Balkans. Each Balkan state attempted to gain more territory, and the big powers of Europe heightened the tensions at the same time. Russia, Germany, England, Austria, and Hungary all attempted to increase their own power at the expense of others.
- This resulted in a series of wars, culminating in the First World War of 1914-1918. The alliance of nationalism and imperialism propelled Europe into World War I.