The development of the common sense of identity among the diverse citizens of Europe had paved influence to give rise to nationalism, a strong force that gradually transformed the old status quo of the entire continent. Europe wasn’t seemed as it is today, it had gone through a lot of process and Germany which was consist of many kingdoms, hence, didn’t begin as a single nation.
There were important strong forces that aroused nationalism towards German unification. Napoleon Bonaparte began to unite the German principalities and abolished the control of the Holy Roman Empire. He tried to impose French ethos and cultures among these conquered people making them more devoted and patriotic to their own – German national sentiment begun. After Napoleonic Wars, there were suppressions of liberalistic ideologies which intensified the revolutionary admiration of the people against the conservative regime especially, in the central part of the continent.
“Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” these enlightenment ideals manifested by the French became the rallying cry among the masses of Europe which further the growth of nationalism.1 However, it should be noted also that the gradual changes of nationalism in Europe eliminated the association of revolts and democracy in the process of unifying the Germanic Kingdoms as nation’s states was united through the combined forces of military and monarchy.
Furthermore, The Zollverein or tariff union which established free trade within the German States taught the Germans the value of co – operation. By adding strong economic bond to the racial and cultural bonds already in existence, it prepared way for political unity – economic nationalism.
The German Confederation, with a Germanic population that often spoke the same languages, although it had different nationalistic identities and different cultures, it was persuaded by leaders to become unified. Despite all the contradictions, a Junker, who later became known as the “Iron Chancellor” and considered as to be the founder of modern Germany named Otto Von Bismarck with his diplomatic skills, pushed his peaceful strategies to achieve European hegemony for Germany.
Otto Von Bismarck was born on April 1, 1815 in the Germanic State of Schonhaus; he finished law at the University of Berlin and in 1862, upon his return, became Prime Minister in Prussia which remained the strongest state of politically fragmented Germany.2 It was no doubt how Bismarck became the dominant figure and made a significant role in the unification of Germanic Kingdoms as a single nation.
Here is a video on The Rise of nationalism in Europe
- 2 Jansen, Christian (2011), "The Formation of German Nationalism, 1740-1850," in: Helmut Walser Smith (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 234-259; here: p. 239-240.
- The German Opposition to Hitler, Michael C. Thomsett (1997) p7
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