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The Rise Of Nationalism In Europe History Essay

Nationalism has been on the rise over the last few years throughout Europe. Nationalism is the “loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially : a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups”, according to Mariam Webster Online Dictionary. The European Union was formed to bring peace to the people, make sure that people live safely in other counties; they’re free to work in other European counties without any problems, promote balanced economic decisions in Europe. European countries face a struggle with all of the people turning all of a sudden to nationalism due to the economic crisis. The governments are losing control and the trust of their people, showing widespread protests for the past 2 years. Most European countries have problems with unemployment and people blame the immigrants for it (since they’re not part of any other European country), that’s why you’ll mostly see attacks on immigrants and not on the domestic people or people from Europe. The main reasons for the rise in nationalism are the economic crisis by the EU, unemployment and illegal immigration. Countries should fix the economic crisis by making the right choices, since it’s the main reason for increase in nationalism, supported by unemployment and illegal immigration.

The European Union (E.U) was formed in the years after WWII to boost up economic cooperation so that governments work together to prevent such mass killing in the world from ever happening again. In simpler words, it’s like a club joined by a group of people who agree to work together and follow the rules whether they agree or not. Of course this will result in a great benefit for your country and your economy. It was formed by leaders such as Konrad Adenauer, Joseph Bech, Johan Beyem, Winston Churchill, Alcide de Gasperi, Walter Hallstein, Sicco Mansholt, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Paul-Henry Spaak and Altiero Spinelli. These leaders dreamed of a peaceful Europe after the shocking number of deaths of WWII. The first step of creating the EU was in 1949 with West European countries creating the Council of Europe. Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg were the first six countries in April 18, 1951, to sign a contract that said these countries should trade coal and steel with each other since this was one of the reasons of World Wars. They couldn’t turn on against the other. In March 25, 1957, the six countries expand their trading treatise by signing “The Treaty of Rome” forming the “European Economic Community.” The treaty of Rome said that people, goods & services should move freely across the borders of these six countries without any problems by the governments. Germany was in a bad position since the building of the wall in 1961 by the communist to put a “stop” to the people of the East to move freely to the West. This was a problem since Germany was one of the founding countries of the EU. In July 20, 1963 the EU helps the colonies in Africa; their goal was to bring respect for human rights for those people which suffer. On July 1st 1968 remove all the taxes imported to their country as a sign to move freely all the goods and services. This movement was the first free-trade treaty made in history. On January 1, 1973, three more countries join the EU; Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The economic problems started from 1973 when the Arab-Israeli War was on with oil producing nations to face an increase in prices creating economic problems through Europe. The EU responded quickly setting up the “European Regional Development Fund” whose purpose was to transfer money from rich countries to poorer countries so they develop means of communication such as roads, creating jobs etc. Problems such as human right are more efficient when in 1980’s Polish workers strike for their rights. On January 1st 1981, Greece joins the EU after the fall of its military dictatorship (Junta). In 1986 Portugal and Spain join the EU, making the Union up to 12 countries. In 1989 was the fall of the Berlin Wall, reuniting Germany after almost 40 years with the Eastern part joining the EU in 1990. On February 7 the EU sets the rules of its single currency (Euro). At that time they officially name the “European Community” as the “EU.”

On January 1, 1995 three more countries join the EU, Austria, Finland and Sweden. The EU makes an agreement to 7 countries (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal). The agreement said that the people of these countries can travel freely between these countries without showing any passports or anything!!

The Euro was officially introduced in 1999 with notes and coins printed to 11 countries, Greece joined later in 2001. The UK declined this offer preferring to stay with the English Pound. In May 1, 2004 eight more countries join the EU; Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. Later on in January 2007 two more countries join the EU, Bulgaria and Romania. On September 2008 the crisis strikes again! This time, through the whole world. The crisis started with mortgage problems in the United States. In the other hand, European banks did poorly handling the situation. (EU)

Nationalism has a variety of different definitions based on what ideology people grew up with or what different political parties tell them it is. But, let’s have a look at the dictionary definition of nationalism. “Nationalism is the loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of it culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups” (Marriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Many people have a question of whether patriotism is the same with nationalism. Patriotism is “the love for or devotion to one’s country.” The main difference is that in nationalism you put your nation above all others, making them look weaker or almost non-existence to you, in patriotism even though you love your country, you don’t particularly hate other countries. The definition in both cases doesn’t show us a terrible meaning of nationalism or patriotism. What people make through them is different.

It all started with the French Revolution back in the 1700’s. The people of France wanted to over through the monarch which was in power for many centuries. A monarch is a single man ruling the country without any democratic decisions being made. It’s more like a tyranny. They over threw the monarch within just 3 years. The people’s dream was to create a strong nation with solid power to continue. A measure taken for the formation of a French nation was for a group of people to join together and have the same rights as the other person had. They created the flag of France, the tricolor (blue, white, red). The president of the National Assembly which was then called The Estates General was elected democratically by the people. Oaths and the laws of being in the National Assembly were taken very seriously for the name of their nation. For the better effect of nationalism, the French banned all dialects from the country, they encouraged people to speak only the French language which was established in Paris and moved rapidly throughout the nation. With the revolution being successful, the French army started to expand the idea of nationalism into other European countries such as Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, wanting them to become nations instead of sates. During the 18th century, Europe had no nation-states; some countries were divided into kingdoms such as Germany and Italy. In the middle of Europe, the monarchies were still in power and they didn’t want to share the same culture as a whole or have the same identity. Monarchy in France was right in the corner to kick in again with Napoleon. He destroyed the democratic views of the country but, he had a plan; to revolutionize in order to make this system work.

Nationalism in Europe started to bend towards “liberal nationalism.” According to the dictionary, liberalism is the power of being free. People got the right to vote regardless of their property, because during the revolution only men with property were allowed to vote. They had the privilege of moving goods and services in between countries. After the defeat of Napoleon, people didn’t want to return to the old days of the revolution, they wanted a strong army protecting the church, the families, boosting up the economy and having a strong monarchy.

Italy was split into seven states following the years of 1830. Groups were formed underground to revolve and making Italy a whole nation. They believed that God and religion wanted nations as a whole and not be parts of states. The revolutionary citizens were liberal-nationalist, from teachers, professors to middle class people.

The Greek War for Independence was one of the most nationalistic movements during that time. After being occupied by the Ottomans for almost 400 years, the Greek stood up with pride and fought the Ottomans which were later on defeated. They got help from other Greeks living away from Greece. They also got help from Western Europeans because they had love for the ancient Greeks and decided to help them. In 1832 the “Treaty of Constantinople” accepted the Greeks as an independent nation.

In the years after 1840, Europe started to shift from nationalistic revolutions to nationalism and the power of reaching political control through Europe. In 1848 German nationalist wanted to unite the parts of Germany as a whole nation-state. They got the help of the military and the monarchs. (History of nationalism, rise of nationalism.)

The rise of nationalism in Europe has been a problem for the governments and the EU. These national groups are formed to hit the system and their governments by embracing teenagers to join them. The steps are simple, the internet, in specific Facebook has been a great site for communicating with others while some take advantage of it and ‘control’ teenagers by promoting videos and other methods of propaganda. It cannot be just that though. People have their own beliefs, they fear that their cultural identity will get lost in a few years from now if immigration increases. The countries that face an increase of nationalism and anti-immigration groups until now are Austria, the Netherlands, which is ironic because they were in the group of six who created the EU, Hungary, Greece, France, Italy, and Spain. The Hungarian national party called “Jobbik” at the 2010 elections won 47 seats in the parliament! The increase shocked everyone hence in 2006 they were almost invisible in

Work Cited:

"Nationalism in Europe." The Rise of Social Science CBSE Class Ten. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

"The History of the European Union." EU. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012


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