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Nations and Nationalism

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Introduction

Nations & nationalism. Discuss. In this essay I will discuss the "nation", but also consider an idea which is intrinsically linked to the concept of a "nation", nationalism. The idea of a nation has been one present in human kind since the first communities; however the prevalence of nationalism exploded in the economic intensity of the Industrial revolution. It was not until the end of the Second World War that this severe philosophy started to abate, replaced by Stalin's warped concept of Communism, the Soviet Union. A definition of nation must include the presence of unifying factors which bind people to form a distinct community. However by identifying what makes us the same, we highlight what separates us. Whether this is a good thing relies on your views of nationalism. ...read more.

Middle

However, it was not until the 1940's that this "Gro�deutsches Reich" was realised. This example highlights the fact that nations are not constrained by political boundaries. Perhaps the most complex of examples is the Jewish nation. A race to themselves, they are culturally different to any other. With their own languages, alphabets, laws and religion their culture is one of the richest on the planet. However they have migrated across the globe and, until the Holocaust, their numbers were counted in nearly every country in Europe. Despite thousands of years of persecution their nation has survived. Nationalistic sentiment is one of the main reasons for their persecution, they have been kicked out of countries in the interests of "national security", however, nationalism can be said to be one of the driving forces behind their survival. ...read more.

Conclusion

They use nationalism as an irrational base of support for their policies. People would do more to change these regimes if they were not clouded by emotionally-charged feelings of nationalism. Nationalism also causes ethnic violence through its narrative of racial superiority. This aspect of nationalism has caused numerous genocides, including but not limited to the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and the atrocities in Rwanda, Japanese violence against the Chinese and the abysmal treatment of the United States' Native American population. Conversely, nationalism has been a potent force for self-determination in colonial territories. The oft misunderstood Vietnamese independence movement, as well as the majority of African liberation movements of the 40's and 50's relied on the idea of a nation to mobilise their people against a foreign, exploitative power. The same can be said of India and Indonesia, however once independence was achieved, both these countries saw a fracturing of nationalistic ideals which prevents nationalistic impulses from being used to condone violence. ...read more.

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