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09/01/2008
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documents in English
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case study
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14 pages
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German vs. Italian nationalism

  1. Introduction.
  2. The French Revolution as a model of inspiration.
  3. Other aspects of Napoleon's rule.
  4. A dual strain of nationalism.
  5. Vienna territorial arrangements in both Italy and Germany.
  6. The great Italian revolutionary, Mazzini.
  7. The geographic spread of where and to what extent constitution was granted.
  8. The formation of economic unions.
  9. The lack of a general popularization of ideas.
  10. Two fundamental weaknesses of nationalism.
  11. Tuscany as an examples of how nationalism became radical.
  12. Reliance on external developments.
  13. Conclusion.

Indeed, in tracing the development of nationalism in the early 19th century, we are confronted with the inherent weaknesses of division, particularism and mass indifference; dubious motives of ‘nationalists’ and oft-yieldless attempts to surmount forces of repression- to the point that it is questionable at some stages, if genuine nationalism even existed at all. Nationalism is essentially the belief that people who share a common language, culture or history should be brought together to form a nation-state; the desire of a community to assert its independence and uniqueness from another. Since in Italy and Germany we refer to integrated nationalism, the desire for unification would then invariably be a prerequisite of a nationalist. In the spirit of discussion, we shall not assume the most stringent definitions of a nationalist- this implies not discrediting one wholly based on what type of unity was craved.

[...] The fact that particularism, the antithesis to the idea of a single nation, remained such a veritable thorn in the flesh indicated that nationalism still had a way to go in really infusing the population’s mindsets. This brings us to the next stumbling block: the lack of a general popularization of ideas. The middle class liberals had always faced a difficulty in reaching out to the urban artisans and peasant majority, failing enormously in any attempts (if at all) to make the nationalist platform popular and accessible to the masses. [...]


[...] In a sense, perhaps Italian nationalism seemed to have received more encouragement from Napoleon than German nationalism did, because it was more in Napoleon’s political interest to do so for the former. Italian was promoted as a national language- an attempt to justify Napoleon’s presence and mitigate hostility towards his rule. In Germany where Napoleonic rule was shorter, there was no such promotion of nationalist thinking; instead Napoleon was more intent on “sidetracking the German spirit”. Hence, by 1815 there was the emergence of two kinds of nationalism: liberalism nationalism and romantic nationalism. [...]


[...] It is interesting to note that, eventually it is the moderate Norths of Piedmont and Prussia that take the lead in the unification of Italy and Germany- perhaps an indication that the achievements at the end of Italian and German unification were of a moderate nature. There were non-political causes that led to the rise of nationalism, the most significant of which was economic. Cynically speaking, nationalism demonstrated at times to be so spurred on by economic factors, that the true nature and motivations of some nationalist movements can be thrown into doubt. [...]

...

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