Nationalism can have a significant impact on politics. National refers to pride in a person’s country. It can also refer to the desire of a group of people to be independent. We have seen the impacts of nationalism in several ways throughout history.
In the 1920s, Adolf Hitler used the concept of nationalism to help get political power. Hitler urged the German people to support him to get revenge for the harsh terms of the Versailles Treaty on Germany. Hitler believed the Versailles Treaty singled out Germany as the main culprit in World War I. He felt that was an unfair treatment of Germany. He also promised to help Germany deal with its severe economic problems in order to get the country back on its feet.
Benito Mussolini used nationalism to get political power. He felt Italy didn’t get enough land from the terms of the Versailles Treaty. He talked about how Italians shouldn’t be mistreated. He also pledged that he would return Italy to the glory days of the Roman Empire.
Nationalism led to events that created conflicts. Before World War I began, there were Serbians living in the empire of Austria-Hungary. They wanted to be ruled by Serbia, not by Austria-Hungary. A plot was developed that led to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the next King of Austria-Hungary. The desire of the Serbians to be ruled by Serbians helped lead to the start of World War I.
In today’s world, we are hearing some of the candidates that are running for the presidency talk about making the United States great again. This, too, is a form of nationalism since it suggests we aren’t as good as we were in the past. It suggests they will do things if they are elected to make us a proud country again. Nationalism has had an effect on politics throughout history.