Nationalism is defined through political, cultural, and historical ideologies with affinity of birth and structural conditions of modern societies that distinguishes countries. Nationalism gives countries a sense of pride, dignity and honor. It is the sense of nationalism that creates differences that are ultimately the cause of wars. Nationalism can cause wars based on a distinguished group who may separate themselves from unwanted ideologies .These wars place people into difficult situations where they sometimes are left to start from the beginning and create new forms of nationalism It is imperative that pride fuels nationalism as nationalism itself fuels pride. Facades like Mt. Rushmore, The Washington Monument, and The Temple Mount all reflect power and prestige that support feelings associated with nationalism. These feelings of nationalism can often justify warfare in the minds of its devout citizens.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of nationalism and warfare is that of the Civil War. During The Civil War the separation of the United States made any true feelings of nationalism virtually impossible. Hundreds of thousands of people died on both sides because they believed they were defending their nationality. As the Northern states would emphasize equality for all human beings, the Southern states took interest in how Europe had expressed its nationalism. Many white southerners became convinced, however, that they could point with equal determination to European revolution as a precedent for their experiment in nationalism, self government, and freedom from an oppressive central power (Fleche, 2012). Sentiments created from nationalism will help supply governments with armies, assist in countries morale and distinguish one country or state from the other. With nationalism, citizens become deeply embedded in their country and it becomes part of their identity as they may see themselves as unique.
The Civil War was indeed a very close war with both sides having advantages over the other. The North had more people willing to fight. The North had 20 million people to the South’s 9 million. The South had cotton and its production along with people who knew the land and utilized very good strategic war tactics. These things separated and divided the two even further and created a distinguished culture that is evident today. Nationalism in the northern states most likely had more support as they were able to provide answers to people with an organized army to back up their cause. Financing and production was a failure for the South that gave the North a huge advantage. The South felt that cotton was vital resource that the North lacked. The South was able to defend much of their territories despite their lack of supplies. The North had a better transportation of goods for the cause. The organization of the North gave them an upper hand as they had many resources for combat that the South did not .For example, the North could manufacture weapons 9 times the weapons of the South. Many of the commanders of the South were promoted by Jefferson Davis, and one of the best advantages for the South was their commander Robert E. Lee. As both sides had good morale and confidence, as they both were fighting what they thought was a good cause, which in turn helped people to choose a side based on their beliefs. This choice must have been difficult to some as there were families who had members on both the north and the south. It is interesting to see how pride and nationalism is diverse and still exist with many in the United States. There still people after over a 150 years ago that still have feelings of resentment. Confederate flags are still flown in many areas of the south sometimes it is difficult to communicate using English, as there is such a difference between the north and south dialects Many people are proud to say that they are from the southern states and are proud to drink ice tea, and eat fried chicken. There are so many differences in food, language and visions of what could have happened if the Civil War might have played out differently. These differences are distinct; people in the South may eat grits, where as in the north grits are unheard of. This defines each culture .The divided United States can only be attributed to separate feelings of nationalism that caused the horrific Civil War.
Across the pond in Russia we see forms of nationalism that have caused wars or vice versa. With so much corruption taking place after The Cold War and the breakup of the former Soviet Union, Russia still is able to have those who are proud to be Russian. The Cold War has created new places for nationalism to exist or begin with many countries who have sought their independence. It seems that the Cold War has released cultural identities from the confines of the ideological division of the world only to sharpen the division between ethnic and national groups within states (Harris, 2009). Countries like The Ukraine and Georgia have been able to successfully secede from Russia. This has allowed these countries to become independent, while also being able to be proud of the things which may have not been possible under Russian control. This can be a direct affect from the Cold War. During the Cold War The former Soviet Union was sure to stockpile it’s weaponry in an effort to battle against the western world , whose ideology was hated and believed to be causes of insubordination of its people to mother Russia. The Nationalism that existed during the Cold War helped to fuel the space race. Today there are repercussions from the Cold War today with birth of terrorist groups and radical Islamist who have declared wars on the West. These Groups are powered by hate and stand against the views of The United States. The Soviet Union had it beliefs on how it should utilize geo-strategic principles to gain more area. The industrial revolution left Russia behind as they were unable to keep up the fast paced practices surrounding them. The cold War inspired cultural identity in Europe and the Eastern Block.
During World War II, Japan, like Russia had made the decision to create stockpiles of weapons, although theirs was a cause to obtain control over Manchuria. The sense of nationalism was amplified with Shintoism and gave the Japanese an arrogant mind leading them to believe that they were to conquer at all cost. Shintoism was used to instill patriotism, to impart a sense of Japanese superiority, while also justifying aggression .The desire of Russia to gain control of Korea and Manchuria did not settle too well with Japan’s imperialistic intentions. Japan had begun to prepare heavily for an imminent conflict with Russia over Korea and Manchuria. The victory over the Russians hurled Japan into superior status. Japan was able to use its desire to integrate China as a means to basically use the country for territorial expansion and use its raw material for its own industrial revolution fueled by its nationalism.
In the Arabic countries there are different categories of Islamist groups; some have been around for centuries others more recently formed from people who are disgusted with the form of Islam breaking away from its traditional stances. In Iran the internet has been seen as a threat as many Islamist groups are converting due to propaganda and becoming Islamist extremist groups set on destroying the west and its influences ,mainly that of the United States, with its ideas of western imperialism. There are cultural differences between these areas. Iran; has a rich history surrounding the country that many of the Iranian people are very proud of. This is a country that has such a historical background that they must feel obliged to stay away from change and conformity of that is associated with modern globalization in the eyes of many in the middle-east. The rich history and trial and error tested make Iran a difficult situation. On one hand they want to keep their traditional practices, but on the other they seem to have interest in controversial nuclear programs. Differences in culture do give reasons for a clash of civilizations but nationalism and its pride can cause just as much damage, even globally. There are two sides to Islam in this part the world, those who are considered as extremist or secular Islamist and those who practice traditional Islam. Extremist use their nationalism as a quest for fighting what they call Jihad, while traditional Islamist are usually peaceful.
The Persian Empire has thrived for over 2500 years. A historic monument like the tomb of Cyrus symbolizes a connection of continuity that gives authenticity to the country and gives the citizens a sense of belonging. Iran’s nationalism saw the biggest change in nineteenth century as the Shah clarified the roots of nationalism with social, political and cultural beliefs that have distinguished and transformed the country. These transformations included a national army, a nationwide system of communication and nationwide currency .The Shah of Iran was able to identify the cultural aspects of the people of Iran with by using its history and giving the country a point of origin. This magnified nationalism that has been skyrocketed and continues to do so, as Iran has put its attention on space travel and nuclear weapons. Poems that have discussed antiquities and the rich history of Iran have been noted to be causes of origins of nationalism coupled with reform during global modernization.
In Turkey nationalism is linked to wars that stemmed from Anatolia. Armenians are hated and thought to be taking up Turkish space .Genocide in Armenia haunts the political and historical past of the country with a difference of views between generations. The Balkan wars can be traced as origins of this country’s late development. Revolutions have emerged since 911 that in a movement called ethno-nationalism. Combining with Turkish, Ottoman and Islamic policies, linking themselves to Anatolia and dreaming to connect to them to central Asia are some of the motives established by Mustafa Kendal Pasha, which became a series of different revolutions. Turkey is torn between the desire to be secular and to be like that of European nations.
Of all the nations discussed here Egypt would have to have the biggest sense of nationalistic pride due to its history of epic wars and megalithic ancient structures. Its history is so deep and mysterious that it changes on a daily basis due the archaeological finds that are being uncovered. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was an opponent of the British who advocated for control of this area and Ottoman influence has tried to break the bond with the British. Territorial nationalism plays a huge role of how Egyptians perceive themselves to the rest of the world. Atatürk, rescuing us from the middle Ages, widened our horizons and showed us that our real history resides not in the middle Ages but in the common sources of the classical world . . . . In a monument for the leader of our revolution and our savior from the middle Ages, we wanted to reflect this new consciousness . . . . Hence, we decided to construct our design philosophy along the rational lines of a seven-thousand-year-old classical civilization rather than associating it with the tomb of a sultan or a saint (Wilson, 2009). Egypt has a distinct nation standing proud and self confident, fighting for its rights and willing to make sacrifices for the sake of liberation and freedom. This is an example of how pride fueled by nationalism can continue to generate separation by using rich history distinguishing one nation from another.
A revolution began in Egypt beginning in the early twentieth century when archaeologist began discovering ancient artifacts. This contrast distinguished Egypt from the rest of the Arab nations. While Egypt is different from the rest of the Arab world, its intellectuals were less enthusiastic about interactions with Arabs and believed that it was best to concentrate on its own political affairs. The British would allow Egypt’s independence in 1922 but yet still influenced the country politically. The Urabi movement was a notable change in Egyptian nationalism that sought European influences but brought unwanted control over the country by the British.
The Germans established the Communist party after a revolution that broke down the former Imperial Government. Nationalism became one of the sole reasons for the communist movement. Many Germans were fed up the traditional government they had in the past and were looking for something new .The great depression was a worldwide epidemic that had an effect as well. These things combined gave a sort of precedent for German leaders to glorify the idea of communism and the benefits to Germany. World War II was inevitable due to Adolf Hitler’s passion to become a world leader .Germans who read his book Mein Kampf believed all too much in his idealistic views and that Germany was truly the purest race of all. Hitler’s ultimate ambition was to expand the German culture and secure worldwide domination. Hitler invaded Poland and sparked fear into all European Countries.
Germany had a better understanding of mobilizing its armies, unlike France who had an equal amount of troops and tanks; they lacked the leadership and knowledge that Germany possessed. This put fear into the rest of Europe. Britain was an exception; they realized Europe would be a horrible place to live if Hitler gained more control. Their resistance to Germany’s air force directed Hitler to attack London. Germans believed that they had an army of soldiers like no other. Propaganda influenced Germany’s troops to kill any opposing force. The holocaust was another way of spreading fear into the world. Hitler believed heavily in the extermination of the Jewish race. By establishing concentration camps, Jews, Russians and any other opposing force were forced to give up all and die in these hellish institutions.
If more people in Europe and the west had read Mein Kampf then things could have played out differently, by choosing to ignore this plan for initial world dominance Hitler gained more control on a daily basis. He tells us quite frankly in the book how observing what the socialist did; he resolved to copy them and was confident he could better their example (Ensor, 1939). Nationalism became one the major issues at hand Germany speculated that they were the dominant Aryan race. Many people just saw it as something to keep them entertained. The media at the time promoted the war; there were parades and festivals as well. Many men had to leave there place of work to go to war. This made women have a little more responsibility in the work. Germans believed that they had an army of soldiers like no other. Propaganda influenced Germany’s troops to kill any opposing force. This is one the greatest examples of where nationalism fueled a war.
In Greek and Roman history we see that politics inspired nationalism along with religious and ideological separation. The Athenians were gaining pride and power from protecting from raids and assaults which may have allowed them to pursue building monuments or facades. These assaults increased unity that further divided Athens and Sparta, which led to more differences. In accounting for wars we should also stress the cultural predispositions such as the Spartan preoccupation with security from the Helot revolts which caused them to increase the emphasis on military discipline and training ;or the bellicism of the Roman senatorial elite (famously explored in Harris 1979), which led them to seek out , or even manufacture , opportunities for leading military campaign abroad because this was the only way of enhancing their political status and wealth at home(Rich,1995). It is evident in Greek and Roman history that being attacked or raided causes alliances and zealotry that enhances nationalism. Protecting a state brings people together and elevates nationalism.
With politics in ancient Greece and Rome, revolts were a common theme against political leaders. Leaders had to persuade the people to side with one another by using the gods as a determining factor. If the Oracle of Delphi predicted that Zeus would accompany an army in battle, then more people may side with this army. As the Athenians, in the late 5th century, struggled to secure their sovereignty from the assaults of the Spartans and their allies, we find signs that the Athenians were increasingly interested and appropriating or reviving traditional symbols of power (Munn, 2006).Facades were created to glorify one god over the other, which enhanced feelings of nationalism and gave one army confidence over the other. Nationalism in Greece divided these countries into city states. In Rome and Greece monuments displayed a good economy and could also spread fear to opposing countries.
When nationalism is confined or threatened, wars may ensue. This is evident and can be attributed to causes of war in civilized societies. In almost every war both sides may feel that their actions are necessary to identify themselves. Being proud to be a citizen can assist in development of countries and can also invoke war if threatened. Warfare is caused by many things like territorial disputes, jealousy, politics, but when nationality becomes endangered then it may be a justified war.
Munn, Mark Henderson (2006).Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia: A Study of Sovereignty in Ancient Religion. University of California Press Berkeley, CA, USA
Rich, John Shipley, Graham (1995).War and Society in the Greek World.Routledge London, GBR
Harris, Erika (2009).Nationalism: Theories and Cases.Edinburgh University Press Edinburgh, GBR
Wilson, Christopher (2009). Representing National Identity and Memory in the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians Retrieved from Jestor http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jsah.2009.68.2.224
Ensor, R.C.K (1939). “Mein Kampf” and Europe. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1931-1939) Retrieved from Jestor http://www.jstor.org/stable/3019298
Fleche, Andre M. (2012).Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War and the Age of Nationalist Conflict University of North Carolina Press Chapel Hill, NC,