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What role did nationalism and imperialism play in the road to World War I?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Imperialism had a large role in paving the road to World War I because the dual monarchy of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire ruled over a large number of different ethnic groups. The territories of these ethnic groups had been annexed, overpowered and incorporated into the Austrian empire as had the Hungarian empire. It was the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867 that initiated a split monarchy with one part ruled by German Austria and the other by the ethnically Hungarian empire of Hungary, though bot parts were still united under the Austrian empire in the person of German Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other ethnic groups (Italians, Romanians and Slavic Serbs, Bosnians, Croats, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Slovaks and Slovenes) had no authority or self-rule or say in political or domestic affairs, although the Croats of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia had some degree of autonomous self-rule. It was the force of imperialism that brought ethnic groups and their kingdoms...

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