Nationalism is a strong belief involving a special identification of a given group of individuals with a certain nation. It has two perspectives. The first is the primordialist perspective that explains nationalism as a reflection of ancient evolutionary tendency of human beings to properly organize into a clear and distinct grouping based on the birth affinity. The other perspective is called modernist perspective. It views nationalism as a recent phenomenon that calls for the structural conditions of modern society so as to exist in the modern world (Anderson, 2000). The spread of nationalism in the 20th century had many positive impacts on the economy and overall wellbeing of the European citizens, which will be analyzed in this paper.
Nationalism was a major factor of growth in Europe as it made diversified economic contributions. Nationalism had great positive impacts on Europe since it led to positive development in Europe. There was a wave of romantic nationalism in Europe, which had many transformations that spread across the countries of this continent (Anderson, 2000). In the 20th century, nationalism enabled the global understanding that Europe really was as a continent. This did help Europe to fully adapt to the global processes that were then taking place faster.
Nationalism helped Europe identify it weak points so that it could gain at a better competitive position in the world. This development can be associated with the internal structural system, and it was facilitated by the resentment of an existing ethnic group. Nationalism also included other communities that consisted of foreign powers, which are also deemed to be beneficial to the Europe continent (Tu%u0111man, 1981). It was seen as a great source of Europe development, notwithstanding the global factors which played a major role in enriching the nationalism in the 20th century. In Europe, nationalism had a positive impact on the national community, which has enabled it to overtake its competitors globally.
Nationalism also played an important role in bringing down communism in Europe. It is an economic system whereby means of production are owned and controlled by the central state and ownership of personal property is also restricted by the state. Communism allows the government to think and decide what the people can have instead of what they actually want. It owns and controls most businesses in the economy; hence, it has lot of negative effects (Tu%u0111man, 1981). The citizens do not take part in the process of setting the prices of major products; instead, the government sets the price for these products. There is a loss of personal freedom and human beings are treated like machines.
Thanks to the rise of nationalism, there was a transition from communism to democracy, which led to the full collapse of the Europe communism system. There were many contradicting issues relating to the nature of post-communism in the Eastern Europe that required many explanations. There are two approaches that can be used to explain this. The first is that there were claims that resurrected civil society triumphed over the totalitarianism. According to another theory, Eastern Europe’s propensity for the irrationalism and also the political behavior, which was based on the ethnic exclusion, eventually led to the collapse of the communist regime. Yet, post-communism in Europe had its unique nature. The intrinsic nature of the Eastern Europe’s transformation requires much explanation in relation to the role of nationalism in Europe as a whole.
The elimination of communism in Europe had many great benefits as the democracy led to positive impacts since the individuals were now brought together as a group notwithstanding their tribal and ethnic differences (Zimmer, 2003). The nation started to be regarded as a great principal catalyst for the political variations, and nationalism became the major legitimizing principle of the emerging East European states. Nationalism brought down communism and created a suitable space for democracy to take effect in Europe. However, nationalism works differently in different socio-political conditions. It is also different in economically prosperous countries of Europe. Yet, nationalism was one of the factors that affected the overall prospects of the liberal democracy in Europe.
Another major role of nationalism in Europe in the 20th century was that there was a great political unity by then. Nationalism encouraged people to live as a common group, which brough to the end individual ethnic groups and tribal rivalry (Zimmer, 2003). Nationalism ensured that there was no tribalism in Europe. All people believed that there were great benefits from the life in common groups. They were, thus, encouraged to live in unity and peace with each other paying no attention to the origin and nationality. These discriminations were eliminated since nationalism focused a lot on mutual understanding of all individuals. The final result was that the political system was also affected in that the political leaders became more united. A political leader started adopting an international treaty not only because of the benevolent stance but also because he believed that the treaty would benefit the nation as a whole and also increase the nation’s prestige. This led to political freedom in Europe (Zimmer, 2003).
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There were many political leaders from different nationalities. This diversity of the origin of the leaders increased the global understanding that had many political impacts. The political systems also encouraged the continuation of nationalism as that they had seen its positive contributions. The citizens were also mobilized and educated on their role in encouraging the political strength of Europe. A free and open political system that took the views of citizens was created. Citizens could easily give their comments in regard to the political set-up. This led to political unity as there was a proper understanding between the politicians and the citizens.
The role of nationalism can also be explained in terms of the spread of international trade. Europe was in good terms with the other nations who worked in harmony to establish a better economically empowered nation. This facilitated international trade that favored Europe growth and development. There was an increase in employment since the international trade in the 20th century created many job opportunities (Zimmer, 2003). These jobs aimed at eliminating the many crises that were associated with the high rate of unemployment. The trade also established a ready market for the European agricultural and industrial products. This increased the export to other nations, increasing the net domestic product significantly. It also led to the rise of foreign earning.
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The trade had much positive contributions to the economy of Europe as a whole. There was an increase in the taxation levels. Much tax was collected, which enabled the development of the economy. The exports and imports were taxed, and this increased the total tax revenue in Europe. The revenue was used to finance many important activities, including the basic roles of the state in providing security and other basic services such as education and health. Nationalism was also viewed as a major source of the increase in the European total savings. It was believed that, in the 20th century, nationalism encouraged citizens to increase their savings in order to cater for the future and unforeseen circumstances.
There was an exchange of knowledge and technology due to the trade. Europe acquired a lot of new skills and qualified personnel. All these were employed in the industry to produce more quality products and services. The exchange facilitated the transfer of resources from other nations that were less efficient, which boosted the European economy that was able to produce more exports; hence, there was an increase in the foreign earnings and the net national output (Zimmer, 2003). Besides, the rate of socializing increased. As a result, Europe was able to interact with people from different nations, which led to intermarriages. This helped improve the European way of advancing in its trade and other sectors. The overall impact was an increase in equality in the distribution of national resources. Many of these positive contributions could only be attributed to the spread of nationalism in Europe. It, thus, boosted the economy and placed Europe at a better position globally.
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Nationalism also led to the creation of common interest among the people of Europe in the 20th century. This is so since it encouraged the employees to have a common interest in the companies and the nation as a whole. Nationalism played this vital role since employees in the work place were encouraged to share their personal issues. It allowed employees to have a better sense of value, which resulted into their better motivation. They understood that they were highly valued in the organization, thus they put more efforts in their routine chores. Nationalism, thus, improved the productivity of employees, which led to the increases in the national European domestic products in the 20th century. In its turn, it increased the output that was exported to increase the foreign earnings. Thus, the development of these common interests had a great impact on the international trade.
What is more, nationalism leads to peace. This is possible due to the presence of a national anthem, a national flag, and other national symbols in Europe. These symbols are seen as the major sources of peace in Europe as they play vital roles in the economy. All citizens are required by law to respect these symbols, which represent peace in Europe. Any individual who violates these rules is liable and punishable in the court of law (Lichtheim, 1972). When people see these symbols, deep emotions are aroused in them. Due to these symbols, there are rare cases of war, and this is so due to nationalism. People greatly respect their countries and avoid doing anything that might jeopardize their nation. This has been facilitated by the fact that the country’s peace is of great relevance as per their constitution. The Napoleonic wars were also calmed down due to the presence of these symbols. Though they might be viewed as having less impact on this, the overall result is obvious.
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In addition, teamwork was enhanced by nationalism in Europe. Nationalism in Europe put a lot of emphasis on collective identity. It encouraged people to work as a team for mutual benefits or to benefit the nation as a whole. In Europe, the integral nationalism identified the country’s important functions similar to the organic unit (Lichtheim, 1972). Thus, the country had a set social hierarchy that promoted cooperation between the varying social classes aiming at meeting the common political targets. Nationalism encouraged the European citizens to work together in order to increase productivity. In fact, there was a high increase in final output due to the teamwork in Europe. Individuals worked in harmony with each other in order to increase their daily earnings. They ensured that they maximized on their output in the industries where the piece-rate method of compensation was applied. The resultant impact was that the European economy was also boosted. Therefore, nationalism led to growth and development of the economy since the teamwork boosted had positive consequences on the overall output. Its impact cannot be ignored since the political leaders and the overall government greatly benefited from nationalism. They still advocate for it continued adoption and, thus, it will not be easily neglected in Europe.
Nationalism also had many impacts on the art and culture in Europe. According to the German philosopher Johann Gottfried, the German culture was created by the common people through folk songs, folk poetry, and folk dances, which had great projections upon the true spirit of the European nation. This art and culture, which were developed thanks to nationalism, were equally relevant in Europe. This was due to the cultural enrichment that was motivated by the nationalism development in Europe. It also led to the raise of liberty and equality through the unification of the different regions into a single nation-state. This unification was beneficial to the economy. Many cultures were unified, which eliminated the tribal crashes that were evident in Europe (Lichtheim, 1972).
There was a new definition for nationalism that determined the new government role in the economy. The liberal nationalism advocated for the individual rights and equality of each person before the law (Lichtheim, 1972). Nationalism also led to equality in the human rights and eliminated gender biasness. The legal equality did not necessarily stand for the right to vote, but, at the time, the rights were exclusively reserved for the all property-owning men. There was, thus, the freedom to own personal property in the 20th century in Europe. Women were allowed to own property and also take position in the political positions. They started gaining the equal rights. Europeans, thus, started to eliminate the gender biasness. And this was contributed by nationalism as the European government, being influenced by the nationalist ideas, put much effort to accelerate this. The political parties encouraged and stressed on the need to respect the basic human rights in Europe.
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Thus, taking everything above mentioned into consideration, it becomes obvious that nationalism had a great influence on Europe in the 20th century. The European government greatly benefited from nationalism. The citizens also viewed the overall process as beneficial in that it brought about peace and teamwork among them. This also led to creation of employment opportunities, which improved the living standards. There was an increase in taxation levels, which assisted the central government in its daily operations aimed at ensuring the welfare of its citizens. Generally, the state benefited from the prevailing peace that was boosted by nationalism through the national flag and other symbols. Women were also given the chance to participate in economic and political activities. The common interests and teamwork among citizens brought about by nationalism increased the manpower, which led to the development of the European economy.