HIST 1122 Lesson 45 – Nationalism & Statehood

HIST 1122 Lesson 45 – Nationalism & Statehood


Welcome back. I want to talk about European diplomacy today,
especially in the second half of the 19th century. This particular lecture is called Nationalism
and Statehood. The context here is what historians refer
to as the long 19th century, that’s that period between the end of the Napoleonic wars
in 1815 and then the beginning of the Great War in 1914. There is no general conflagration in Europe
during this time. There are small, local wars but no European
war shall we say. Significance here, probably increasing nationalism
among the various European states and the creation of states based on ethnicity and
language. So you have a rise in nationalism, and of
course, we’ll see that nationalism is going to be a factor in bringing on the Great War
in 1914. By 1871, the Germans and the Italians have
both achieved political unification creating independent sovereign states. The old Habsburg Empire is now going to be
altered a bit because the Hungarians are going to achieve a certain amount of equality with
the Austrians creating what’s called the dual monarchy, Austria-Hungary, and we’ll
hear more about that as we talk about the Great War. In Great Britain, of course, you have the
rise of Irish nationalism; it’s going to pose a severe political crisis for the English. And then, of course, both the Russian and
Austria¬-Hungarian Empires are comprised of numerous smaller nationalities – Polls
and Slavic speaking peoples and just a wide variety of smaller groups comprising a much
larger empire dominated in the Russian Empire by obviously the Russians, dominated in Austria-Hungary,
in Vienna, and then of course, with the rise of the dual monarchy, Vienna and Budapest. And then of course – the Ottoman Empire
in Southeastern Europe is sort of the bridge between Asia and Europe. The Ottoman Empire begins to crack up here
in the second half of the 19th century, with the Serbs, and the Montenegrins, and the Romanians,
and the Bulgars; these people are seeking their own sovereign states. They want to get out from under the thumb
of these larger empires. Now these peoples in the Balkans that I just
mentioned, they’re kind of following the lead of the Greeks, who had already overthrown
Turkish rule and had gained independence. So nationalism and expansion – These new
states that are being created, they rapidly acquire the ambition to conquer other states. Italians and Germans abide with the British
and the French, and the Russians for the spoils of empire. In Central Asia we call this the Great Game
between the British Empire seeking to protect and perhaps expand its control in South Central
Asia, and then the Russians expanding southward toward the British domain. This is going to cause political problems
between the two. This, of course, we talked about with the
new imperialism with the European states, the great powers now begin to venture out
again and colonize, and dominate, much of the rest of the world. In the Balkans, again these small states are
seeking expansion, there seems to be just a growing appetite for conquests, for consolidation
of national groups. Serbia, in particular, I want you to keep
in mind because she’s going to come up again in a decisive way in 1914, at the beginning
of the Great War. Serbia has dreams of creating a great Slavic
Empire in the Balkans. As Ottoman power recedes back into what today
we call Turkey, Serbia wants to fill that vacuum and create Yugoslavia, a southern Slavic
empire, and this will obviously come up again. Nationalism and social unrest – We see these
two things kind of running parallel. The second half of the 19th century is an
unprecedented time of urbanization, economic dislocation – people are being separated
from their farms; they’re going to cities to work in factories. This is sort of an unprecedented social – a
bit of chaos, to be frank. Industrialization requires a change in relations
among human beings, it requires them to move and to do tasks that they’ve never done
before. The population is increasing. There is a mass migration, from the farm to
the city. So this is a fundamental transformation in
European life and society. In Great Britain this transformation is handled
rather well with the Reform Bills in the mid-century. The confidence of British Reformers in the
parliamentary government is justified. Great Britain passed through the social and
economic crises of the 19th century without a major upheaval. The British government served as a model for
the people of all states who wished to bring about political changes by peaceful means. Of course, in German, after the unification
of Germany under Bismarck you have the social reforms. And in Russia, of course, you have the end
of serfdom. The Russians ended serfdom before the United
States was able to end slavery, just to give you some comparison. Now, nationalism and the expanding state – these
two things run hand in hand as well. As the functions of the state expanded, so
did the bureaucracy. The innovations of science and technology
were bent to the bureaucracies needs. We have the telegraph, and the printing press,
the railroads, and of course, the steamship, the machine gun – which will play a decisive
role in World War I, we have the rifled steel cannon that can launch projectiles at great
distance and accuracy. All these things became instruments of departments
of these governments. We have secret police, armies, navies, tax
collectors; the power of centralized governments are becoming markedly increased as we move
into the second half of the 19th century. Quite often there is compulsory military training
by all these great continental powers, whereby every able-bodied man is forced into the service
of the state – at least for a time. In addition, you have compulsory education;
this provided opportunity to indoctrinate each citizen with the principles of patriotism
and loyalty to the state. By the end of the 19th century, the state
had acquired unprecedented power to establish control over the minds and the bodies of its
people. Now this state power was actually welcomed
by many of the nationalists and the Reformers, who saw in the state the most effective instrument
to realize their goals and ambitions. Of course, in oppressive Russia, the czar
runs his empire sort of as a police state with spies and oppression. Here you have a variety of political ideologies
emerging in the second half of the 19th century – anarchism – you’ll see the rise of
communism and just a wide gamut of responses. Of course, this will culminate in 1917 with
the Bolshevik party – led by Lenin – that will take control in Russia and establish
the first communist country, the Soviet Union. In fact, we’ll spend one of our lectures
talking about the Russian Revolution. So this is just sort of a quick introduction
to this notion of nationalism and its impact on the state, its impact on reform, its impact
on an increasingly more powerful and centralized governments throughout Europe. I’m going to close there. In our next lecture we’re going to look
more closely at the diplomacy in the second half of the 19th century, and specifically
the Crimean War. Thank you.

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