Nationalism in Europe
Write a note on Guiseppe Mazzini
Answer: Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian revolutionary. He was born in 1807. He became a member of the secret society of the Carbonari. When he was 24 years old, he was sent into exile in 1831 for attempting a revolution in Liguria. After that, he founded two more underground societies; first Young Italy in Marseilles and then Young Europe in Berne. Mazzini believed that God had intended nations to be the natural units of mankind. So Italy had to be forged into a single unified republic instead of being a patchwork of small state kingdoms. Following in the footsteps of Mazzini, many secret societies were set up Germany, France, Switzerland and Poland. The Conservatives feared Mazzini.
Write notes on following:
(a) Count Camillo de Cavour
Answer: Count Camillo de Cavour was the leading figure in the movement towards unification of Italy. He was the Prime Minister of Piedmont-Sardinia. He was neither a revolutionary nor a democrat. He was like many other wealthy and educated members of the Italian elite. He too was more fluent in French than in Italian. He made a tactful diplomatic alliance with France and thus succeeded in defeating the Austrian forces in 1859. Apart from regular troops, many armed volunteers under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the fray. In 1860, they marched into South Italy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. They succeeded in winning the support of the local peasants and drove out the Spanish rulers. Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed king of united Italy in 1861. Cavour became the first Prime Minister of the unified Italy.
(b) The Greek war of independence
Answer: The Greek war of independence mobilized the nationalist feelings among the educated elite across Europe. The struggle for independence among the Greeks began in 1821. The nationalists in Greece got support from many Greeks who were living in exile. Moreover, they also got support from many West Europeans who sympathized with the ancient Greek culture. Poets and artists mobilized public opinion to support this struggle against the Muslim empire. It is important to note that Greece had been a part of the Ottoman Empire. Finally, the Treaty of Constantinople of 1832 recognized Greece as an independent nation.
(c) Frankfurt parliament
Answer: In German regions, there were a large number of political associations whose members were middle class professionals, businessmen and prosperous artisans. They came together in the city of Frankfurt and decided to vote for an all-German National Assembly. On18 May 1848, 831 elected representatives took out a festive procession to take part in the Frankfurt parliament which was convened in the Church of St. Paul. They drafted a constitution for a German nation. This German nation was to be headed by a monarchy subject to a parliament. Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia was offered the crown on these terms. But he rejected the offer and joined other monarchs to oppose the elected assembly.
(d) The role of women in nationalist struggles
Answer: Women also participated in large numbers in the liberal movement. In spite of that, they were denied the voting rights during the election of the Assembly. When the Frankfurt parliament convened in the Church of St Paul, women were allowed only as observers to stand in the visitors’ gallery.
Answer the following questions:
Question 1: What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective identity among the French people?
Answer: The French revolutionaries took many steps to create a sense of collective identity among the French people. They took the recourse to romanticism. Romanticism was a cultural movement which sought to develop a particular form of nationalist sentiment. Romantic artists usually criticized the glorification of reason and science. They focused on emotions, intuition and mystical feelings. They tried to create a sense of collective heritage, a common cultural past, as the basis of a nation. They focused on promoting the local culture to connect to the masses. Language also played an important role in developing nationalist sentiments. French was promoted as the main language in France to create a sense of single nation. In Poland, the Polish language was used to show rebellion to the Russian dominance.
Question 2: Who were Marianne and Germania? What was the importance of the way in which they were portrayed?
Answer: Marianne was the name given to the French nation; which was projected as the female figure. Similarly, Germania was the name given to the German motherland. Marianne is a popular Christian name for a woman. Her characteristics were drawn from those of Liberty and Republic; the red cap, the tricolor, the cockade. Her statues were erected in public squares and her images were marked on coins and stamps; to persuade the people to identify with it. Germania wears a crown of oak leaves. The German oak stands for heroism.
Question 3: Briefly trace the process of German unification.
Answer: During the Vienna Congress in 1814, Germany was identified as a loose confederation of 39 states. This confederation was earlier set by Napoleon. In May 1848, various political associations convened the Frankfurt parliament. They drafted a constitution for a German nation. This German nation was to be headed by a monarchy subject to a parliament. Otto von Bismarck; the chief minister of Prussia, was the main architect of German unification. He took the help of the Prussian army and bureaucracy in his endeavour. Three wars were fought over seven years; with Austria, Denmark and France. The wars ended in Prussian victory and completed the process of unification. The Prussian king, William I was proclaimed the German Emperor in a ceremony held at Versailles in January 1871.
Question 4: What changes did Napoleon introduce to make the administrative system more efficient in the territories ruled by him?
Answer: Napoleon brought following changes to make an efficient administrative system:
- The Civil Code of 1804; which is commonly known as the Napoleonic Code abolished all privileges based on birth.
- It also established equality before the law and secured the right to property.
- Even in those territories which came under his control; Napoleon began to introduce many reforms as he did in France.
- He simplified the administrative divisions in the Dutch Republic, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.
- He abolished the feudal system and peasants could be freed from serfdom and manorial dues.
- Guild restrictions were removed in towns. Transport and communication systems were improved.
Question 5: Explain what is meant by the 1848 revolution of the liberals. What were the political, social and economic ideas supported by the liberals?
Answer:Ideas of national unity in early-nineteenth-century Europe were closely allied to the ideology of liberalism. For the new middle classes; freedom for the individual and equality of all before the law were the bases of idea of liberalism.
Political & Social Perspective: From the political perspective, the idea of liberalism emphasized the concept of government by consent. Liberalism also meant an end of autocracy and clerical privileges. Further, it meant the need of a constitution and a representative government. Inviolability of private property was also emphasized by the nineteenth century liberals.
Economic Perspective: Economic liberalization was another hallmark of the Napoleonic Code. The emerging middle class was also in favour of economic liberalization. Multiple currencies, units of weight and measurement and tariff barriers worked as obstacles for economic activities. The new commercial class was demanding a unified economic territory so that there could be unhindered movement of goods, people and capital.
Question 6: Choose three examples to show the contribution of culture to the growth of nationalism in Europe.
Answer: In case of France, promoting a single language helped in creating a sense of common identity among people of France. In case of Poland, use of Polish language was a means to show resistance towards Russian domination. In Germany, the revolutionaries promoted the folk culture to create a sense of common identity among the people. These examples show the contribution of culture to the growth of nationalism in Europe.
Question 7: Through a focus on any two countries, explain how nations developed over the nineteenth century.
Answer:Italy became a nation because of efforts of Cavour. He made strategic alliances with France to defeat the Austrian forces. After several wars, the unification of Italy could become a possibility and it emerged as a nation state.
Greece proclaimed independence from Ottoman Empire by citing its ancient culture which was entirely different from the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Many Greek who were in exile also supported this movement.
These examples show that various factors were at work towards development of nation states over the nineteenth century. In most of the cases, a history of shared culture, repression of the poor at the hands of the powerful and the origin of liberalism were the catalyst which worked towards developing the sense of nationalism among people.
Question 8: How was the history of nationalism in Britain unlike the rest of Europe?
Answer: The evolution of nationalism in Britain was a different case compared to the rest of Europe. The British isles were divided into four main ethnic nationalities, viz. the English, the Scottish, the Welsh and the Irish. England was emerging as an economic powerhouse because of industrialization. Due to its financial muscle, England was able to dominate the other nationalities of the British Isles. This resulted in the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain in which England was the dominant partner and people of other ethnicities were subdued by the English culture.
Question 9: Why did nationalist tensions emerge in the Balkans?
Answer: A large part of the Balkans was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. This was the period of disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the spread of the ideas of romantic nationalism in the Balkans. These developments made this region very explosive. All through the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire tried to strengthen itself through modernization and internal reforms. But it could not achieve much success. Its European subject nationalities broke away from its control one by one and declared independence. The Balkans used history and national identity to claim their right of independence. While the Slavic nationalities struggled to define their identity and independence, the Balkan area became an area of intense conflict. In the process, the Balkans also became the scene of big power rivalry.