Midterm Essay

Midterm Essay - Jim Stanley Prof Youngblood HIST 114 East...

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Jim Stanley Prof. Youngblood HIST 114: East European Nationalism October 19, 2009 The Evolution of Nationalism in 19 th Century Eastern Europe In the era surrounding the 19 th century, Eastern Europe experienced a gradual evolution of nationalism with certain major events facilitating this development. These events include the Partitions of Poland from 1772 to 1795, the Serb revolutions from 1798 to 1815, the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 to 1849, the Ausgleich of 1867, and the Balkan Wars of 1875-1878, 1912, and 1913. This paper will examine each of these events in the context of how they aid in the understanding of East European nationalism. Before the Partitions of Poland the idea of nationalism was vague at best to the small powers of Eastern Europe. Although all European countries were different, power was primarily decentralized, and rested in the hands of nobles. In Poland the idea of nationalism was so weak that kings were “imported” from other countries to make it easier for the nobility to control the government. The concept of a “nation-state” was practically nonexistent, with most nations being dominated by much larger “great power” empires. By 1920, the idea of nationalism had developed into a European-wide ideology that held that all nations should have a state to themselves, and that the borders of these states were sacred and inviolable. Although these new nation-states demanded that their
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territorial sovereignty be respected, they had no qualms about invading other countries in disputes over their borders. These disputes resulted in a shifting series of alliances which when combined with the willingness of radicals to use violence to achieve their nationalist goals eventually resulted in World War One. The first major event that changed the course of East European nationalism was the partitions of Poland, which occurred from 1772 to 1775. In all there were 3 partitions of Poland, the last of which resulted in the total disappearance of the Polish state. The partitions occurred as a response to the liberal reforms of the Polish government, which the monarchies of Russia, Prussia, and the Hapsburg Empire viewed as a threat to their totalitarian regimes. Each partition took away land from Poland and divided it relatively evenly between its three neighboring empires in order to preserve the regional balance of power. The major effects of the partitions of Poland were to bring the notion of romantic nationalism to prominence, to make Poland a state-less nation, which it would remain until the end of World War One. Romanticism was a school of thought that emerged in the 18th century. It was distinguished by its infatuation with the past, love of nature, and trusting one’s instincts over one’s reason. When combined with nationalism, romanticism advocated the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order, and took examples from the past as to how a nation-state should be organized. The fact that Poland lost its statehood not only set the stage for a nationalist
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2010 for the course HIST 114 taught by Professor Deniseyoungblood during the Summer '09 term at Vermont.

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Midterm Essay - Jim Stanley Prof Youngblood HIST 114 East...

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