Question: Write a note on The Greek war of independence.
Answer: An event that mobilized nationalist feelings among the educated elite across Europe was the Greek war of independence. Greece had been part of the Ottoman Empire since the fifteenth century. The growth of revolutionary nationalism in Europe sparked off a struggle for independence amongst the Greeks which began in 1821. Nationalists in Greece got support from other Greeks living in exile and also from many West Europeans who had sympathies for ancient Greek culture.
Question: Write a note on Frankfurt parliament.
Answer: In the German regions a large number of political associations whose members were middle-class professionals, businessmen and prosperous artisans came together in the city of Frankfurt and decided to vote for an all-German National Assembly. On 18 May 1848, 831 elected representatives marched in a festive procession to take their places in the Frankfurt parliament convened in the Church of St Paul. They drafted a constitution for a German nation to be headed by a monarchy subject to a parliament. When the deputies offered the crown on these terms to Fried rich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, he rejected it and joined other monarchs to oppose the elected assembly
Question: What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective identity among the French people?
Answer: From the very beginning, the French revolutionaries introduced various measures and practices that could create a sense of collective identity amongst the French people. The ideas of la Patrice (the fatherland) and le citoyen (the citizen) emphasized the notion of a united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution. A new French flag, the tricolor, was chosen to replace the former royal standard. The Estates General was elected by the body of active citizens and renamed the National Assembly. New hymns were composed, oaths taken and martyrs commemorated, all in the name of the nation. A centralized administrative system was put in place and it formulated uniform laws for all citizens within its territory. Internal customs duties and dues were abolished and a uniform system of weights and measures was adopted. Regional dialects were discouraged and French, as it was spoken and written in Paris, became the common language of the nation.
Question: Who were Marianne and Germania? What was the importance of the way in which they were portrayed?
Answer: Female allegories were invented by artists in the nineteenth century to represent the nation. In France she was christened Marianne, a popular Christian name, which underlined the idea of a people’s nation. Her characteristics were drawn from those of Liberty and the Republic – the red cap, the tricolor, the cockade. Statues of Marianne were erected in public squares to remind the public of the national symbol of unity and to persuade them to identify with it. Marianne images were marked on coins and stamps.
Similarly, Germania became the allegory of the German nation. In visual representations, Germania wears a crown of oak leaves, as the German oak stands for heroism.
Question: Briefly trace the process of German unification.
Answer: Nationalist feelings were widespread among middle-class Germans, who in 1848 tried to unite the different regions of the German confederation into a nation-state governed by an elected parliament. This liberal initiative to nation-building was, however, repressed by the combined forces of the monarchy and the military, supported by the large landowners (called Junkers) of Prussia. From then on, Prussia took on the leadership of the movement for national unification. Its chief minister, Otto von Bismarck, was the architect of this process carried out with the help of the Prussian army and bureaucracy. Three wars over seven years – with Austria, Denmark and France – ended in Prussian victory and completed the process of unification. In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I, was proclaimed German Emperor in a ceremony held at Versailles.
Question: What changes did Napoleon introduce to make the administrative system more efficient in the territories ruled by him?
Answer: Within the wide swathe of territory that came under his control, Napoleon set about introducing many of the reforms that he had already introduced in France. Through a return to monarchy Napoleon had, no doubt, destroyed democracy in France, but in the administrative field he had incorporated revolutionary principles in order to make the whole system more rational and efficient. The Civil Code of 1804 – usually known as the Napoleonic Code – did away with all privileges based on birth, established equality before the law and secured the right to property. This Code was exported to the regions under French control. In the Dutch Republic, in Switzerland, in Italy and Germany, Napoleon simplified administrative divisions, abolished the feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom and manorial dues. In the towns too, guild restrictions were removed. Transport and communication systems were improved. Peasants, artisans, workers and new businessmen enjoyed a new-found freedom. Businessmen and small-scale producers of goods, in particular, began to realize that uniform laws, standardized weights and measures, and a common national currency would facilitate the movement and exchange of goods and capital from one region to another
Question: Explain what is meant by the 1848 revolution of the liberals. What were the political, social and economic ideas supported by the liberals?
Answer: Since the French Revolution, liberalism had stood for the end of autocracy and clerical privileges, a constitution and representative government through parliament. Nineteenth-century liberals also stressed the inviolability of private property. The memory of the French Revolution nonetheless continued to inspire liberals. One of the major issues taken up by the liberal-nationalists, who criticized the new conservative order, was freedom of the press.
Parallel to the revolts of the poor, unemployed and starving peasants and workers in many European countries in the year 1848, a revolution led by the educated middle classes was under way. Events of February 1848 in France had brought about the abdication of the monarch and a republic based on universal male suffrage had been proclaimed. In other parts of Europe where independent nation-states did not yet exist – such as Germany, Italy, Poland, the Austro-Hungarian Empire – men and women of the liberal middle classes combined their demands for constitutionalism with national unification. They took advantage of the growing popular unrest to push their demands for the creation of a nation-state on parliamentary principles – a constitution, freedom of the press and freedom of association.
Question: How was the history of nationalism in Britain unlike the rest of Europe?
Answer: In Britain the formation of the nation-state was not the result of a sudden upheaval or revolution. It was the result of a long-drawn-out process. There was no British nation prior to the eighteenth century. The primary identities of the people who inhabited the British Isles were ethnic ones – such as English, Welsh, Scot or Irish. All of these ethnic groups had their own cultural and political traditions. But as the English nation steadily grew in wealth, importance and power, it was able to extend its influence over the other nations of the islands. The English parliament, which had seized power from the monarchy in 1688 at the end of a protracted conflict, was the instrument through which a nation-state, with England at its center, came to be forged. The Act of Union (1707) between England and Scotland that resulted in the formation of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’ meant, in effect, that England was able to impose its influence on Scotland. The British parliament was henceforth dominated by its English members. The growth of a British identity meant that Scotland’s distinctive culture and political institutions were systematically suppressed. The Catholic clans that inhabited the Scottish Highlands suffered terrible repression whenever they attempted to assert their independence. The Scottish Highlanders were forbidden to speak their Gaelic language or wear their national dress, and large numbers were forcibly driven out of their homeland
Question: Why did nationalist tensions emerge in the Balkans?
Answer: The most serious source of nationalist tension in Europe after 1871 was the area called the Balkans. The Balkans was a region of geographical and ethnic variation comprising modern-day Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro whose inhabitants were broadly known as the Slavs. A large part of the Balkans was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. The spread of the ideas of romantic nationalism in the Balkans together with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire made this region very explosive. All through the nineteenth century the Ottoman Empire had sought to strengthen itself through modernization and internal reforms but with very little success. One by one, its European subject nationalities broke away from its control and declared independence. The Balkan peoples based their claims for independence or political rights on nationality and used history to prove that they had once been independent but had subsequently been subjugated by foreign powers. Hence the rebellious nationalities in the Balkans thought of their struggles as attempts to win back their long-lost independence.