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Chapter Fourteen. National Movements

Stefan Berger

Subject History

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405113205.2006.00018.x


The nineteenth century was the classical century of nationalism and of the aspiring nation-state. What follows will seek to shed some light on those social forces behind this most powerful ideology, which, in the primeval loyalties it engenders, can only be compared with religion and with violence. After reviewing some of the major theories and typologies of national movements, the remainder of this chapter will explore the ideas and tropes used by the national movements and investigate their promises of participation and inclusion, as well as their threats of persecution and exclusion. We will analyze the importance of states for the success or failure of national movements and ask how the diverse national stories in Europe were constructed and perpetually reconstructed throughout the nineteenth century. The emergence of mass nationalist movements across Europe was accompanied on the one hand by a significant reduction in the number of European states prior to 1914 and, on the other, by the expansion of Europe into the far corners of the world. Colonialism and imperialism had a major impact on national movements and will have to be discussed in some detail. Up until 1914 the landscape of Europe was still dominated by major multinational empires, such as Russia, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire, and multinational states such as Spain and Britain. We will have to explore the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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