Position PaperMuhib QureshiOne of the primary driver of World War I was the developing power of nationalism.
Nationalism is “a feeling in light of regular social attributes that ties people together and often produces a policy of national independence . Nationalism, in spite of the fact that it can fill in as a bringing together power inside a country, can likewise cause extraordinary rivalry among different countries.nationalism was a negative power that assisted the beginning of WWI. The source states that two types of nationalism led to ww1, desire of Independence and the desire of dominance and prestige.
The causes of WW1 vary but the main three are the Alliances, desire for independence and extreme nationalistic ambitions and Social Darwinism. In Germany and France, nationalism was powerful. After the unification of Germany in 1871, The Germans were pleased with their new empire’s military power and industrial leadership. One factor that led to World War I was the unification of Germany and the balance of power in Europe. In 1871, Italy and Germany unified their states. Germany instantly began to expand as an advanced nation especially in the fields of political, economic, and military factors. This resulted in recognition.
France which was still trying to win the Franco-Prussian War. The neighboring countries reacted in two ways; by forming military allies and alliances. After the two decades following the Franco-Prussian War, alliances had been sustained and for the most part kept neutral by Bismarck. However, after being kept consistent, the opportunity became available, and France seized to ally with Russia – as both feared German expansionism, aware that any move by Germany, either east or west, could result in war. Furthermore, Germany was also insecure, realizing that it was in danger of facing attack from France and Russia, from two different directions simultaneously.
The top priority from there was to ensure that if attacked, there would be allies who could threaten the enemy. So, Germany turned to Austria, which could threaten Russia, as the two were already attempting to establish control of the unstable Balkans. In the following years leading up to war in 1914, Europe was settled into two armed camps. In the center were Germany and Austria-Hungary, allied in 1879, and they were joined by Italy to form the Triple Alliance.
France and Russia, an unlikely pair of allies, were brought together by fear of German expansion, and formed the Dual Alliance. From the nationalistic idea affecting the balance of power in central Europe, rivalries began to form, and tension began to rise. Another factor caused by nationalism that greatly affected World War I was the territorial rivalries within European nations and allies. Pride and loyalty put together brought a sense of Social Darwinism to the European superpowers.
Strong nationalist feelings intensified by Social Darwinism. This nineteenth century theory is basically suggesting “survival of the fittest”, and inspired by the scientific theory of Charles Darwin, this new idea was influential on competition of the national groups. This ideology focused on the efforts for existence between the different “races” or “countries” in which inevitably, the weak would be demolished by the strong. However, by an unknown source, it was quoted that “It happened because no one could be bothered to stop it” – referring to the acts taken upon such beliefs; as to some it was seen as just insanity. For instance, German Admiral von Tirpitz refers to the competition among the races as “the greatest insanity in which white races have ever been engaged”.
This can be proved by the horrific holocaust event planned by the Germans to ethnically cleanse jewish and non-Aryan people. Hitler sought himself as superior. He spread propaganda to dehumanize them and brought them down to their knees. The Tutsi tribe was also ethnically cleansed by their own neighbours, the Hutu tribe. The Tutsi gravitated towards African communist movements after Belgium colonized. Belgium then chose the Hutu tribe as superior and things went awry.Social Darwinism injected urgency, desperation, and strong anxiety over international relations.
By 1914, Germany had always had the best military buildup. Both Germany and Britain increased their navies throughout this time further in Germany and Russia in particular; militarily establishment had an increasing influence upon public policy. It was this increase that played as a key factor in competition leading to rivalry which helped push to war. The last factor that was caused by nationalism was the countries nationalistic idea itself. With all of the earlier mentioned factors contributing together, each country also had their own nationalistic views and ambitions.The Idea of Nationalism had blinded them and destroyed the limit between humanistic values. Germany, unified in 1871, rapidly became the strongest military and economic power in Europe.
after 1890, Germany became more aggressive as it was to build influence all over the globe. Because these German ambitions quickly extended around to several parts of the world, the nation entered serious conflicts with other major powers within Europe, with the exception of Austria-Hungary. Also, there were nationalistic views in Italy in a sense that when unified in 1871, it was barely counted as a large power as it was simple not as powerful as other nations such as Germany. The industrial progress was slow, and the parliamentary system was both inefficient and corrupt. No nationalist movement had a greater impact in the outbreak of war than Slavic groups in the Balkans. Pan-Slavism, the belief that the Slavic peoples of eastern Europe should have their own nation, was a powerful force in the region.
Slavic nationalism was strongest in Serbia, young Serbs joined radical nationalist groups like the ‘Black Hand’. These groups hoped to drive Austria-Hungary from the Balkans and establish a ‘Greater Serbia’, a unified state for all Slavic people. It was this pan-Slavic nationalism that inspired the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914, an event that led directly to the outbreak of World War I.Once again, the source states that two types of nationalism drove Europe towards WW1, WW1 was caused by the Alliances, desire for independence and extreme nationalistic ambitions and Social Darwinism. Nationalism was the reason of dehumanization and disrupting the peace of the World we once had, it was the reason of clashes inside nations between races. The day we start realizing the extremities of nationalism and put it aside will be the day all the nations unite.