Nationalism refers to the devotion for

one's own nation's interests over those

of all other nations. It was an

important factor in the development of

Europe. In the 19th century, a wave of

romantic nationalism swept the European

continent, transforming its countries.

Some newly formed countries, such as

Germany, Italy and Romania were formed

by uniting various regional states with

a common "national identity". Others,

such as Greece, Poland and Bulgaria,

were formed BY winning their

independence. More concisely,

nationalism better defined these


The French Revolution paved the way for

the modern nation-state and also played

a key role in the birth of nationalism.

Across Europe radical intellectuals,

influenced by Napoleon and the

Napoleonic Code the instrument for the

political transformation of Europe.

Revolutionary armies carried the slogan

of "liberty, equality and brotherhood"

and ideas of liberalism and national

self-determinism. National awakening

also grew out of an intellectual

reaction to the Enlightenment that

emphasized national identity and

developed a romantic view of cultural

self-expression through nationhood. The

key exponent of the modern idea of the

nation-state was the German G. W.

Friedrich Hegel. He argued that a sense

of nationality was the cement that held

modern societies together in the age

when dynastic and religious allegiance

was in decline. In 1815, at the end of

the Napoleonic wars, the major powers of

Europe tried to restore the old dynastic

system as far as possible, ignoring the

principle of nationality in favour of

"legitimism", the assertion of

traditional claims to royal authority.

With most of Europe's peoples still

loyal to their local province or city,

nationalism was confined to small groups

of intellectuals and political radicals.

Furthermore, political repression,

symbolized by the Carlsbad Decrees

published in Austria in 1819, pushed

nationalist agitation underground.


1815, Congress of Vienna
1821-29, Greek War of Independence
against the Ottoman Empire
1830-31, Belgian Revolution
1830-31, Revolution in Poland and
1846, Uprising in Greater Poland
1848, Nationalist revolts in Hungary,
Italy and Germany.
1859-61, Italy unified.
1863, Polish national revolt.
1866-71, Germany unified.
1867, Hungary granted autonomy.
1867, Irish Fenian uprising
1878, Congress of Berlin: Serbia,
Romania and Montenegro granted

1804–15, Serbian Revolution against the

Ottoman Empire

independence, after they won the war

against the Ottoman Empire.

1908, Bulgaria becomes independent.

1912, Albanian national awakening

Albania becomes independent.

The struggle for independence

A strong resentment of what came to be

regarded as foreign rule began to

develop. In Ireland, Italy, Belgium,

Greece, Poland, Hungary and Norway local

hostility to alien dynastic authority

started to take the form of nationalist

agitation. First Serbian uprising in

1804. marked the beginning of Serbian

revolution and first national revolution

in Ottoman Empire. After that eight-year

war against Ottoman rule led to an

independent Greek state; Belgium

obtained independence from the

Netherlands. Over the next two decades

nationalism developed a more powerful

voice, spurred by nationalist writers

championing the cause of nationalist

self-determination. In 1848, revolutions
broke out across Europe, sparked by a

severe famine and economic crisis and

mounting popular demand for political

change. In Italy Giuseppe Mazzini used

the opportunity to encourage a war

mission: "A people destined to achieve

great things for the welfare of humanity

must one day or other be constituted a


In Hungary, Lajos Kossuth led a national

revolt against Austrian rule; in

Transylvania, Avram Iancu led of the

nationalist revolts in 1848 were

successful, any more than the two

attempts to win Polish independence from

Russian rule in 1831 and 1846 had been.

Conservative forces proved too strong,

while the majority of the populations

little understood the meaning of

national struggle. But the 1848 crisis

had given nationalism its first full

public airing, and in the thirty years

that followed no fewer than seven new

national states were created in Europe.

This was partly the result of the

recognition by conservative forces that

the old order could not continue in its

existing form. Conservative reformers

such as Cavour and Bismarck made common

cause with liberal political modernizers

to create a consensus for the creation

of conservative nation-states in Italy

and Germany. In the Habsburg empire a

compromise was reached with Hungarian

nationalists in 1867 granting them a

virtually independent state. In the

Balkans the Serbian example had inspired

other national awakenings. Native

history and culture were rediscovered

and appropriated for the national

struggle. Following a conflict between

Russia and Turkey, the Great Powers met

at Berlin in 1878 and granted

independence to Romania, Serbia and
Montenegro and a limited autonomy to

Nationalism's growth and export 

The invention of a symbolic national

identity became the concern of racial,

ethnic or linguistic groups throughout

Europe as they struggled to come to

terms with the rise of mass politics,

the decline of the traditional social

elites, popular discrimination and

xenophobia. Within the Habsburg empire

the different peoples developed a more

mass-based, violent and exclusive form

of nationalism. This developed even

among the Germans and Magyars, who

actually benefited from the

power-structure of the empire. On the

European periphery, especially in
Ireland and Norway, campaigns for

national independence became more

strident. In 1905 Norway won

independence from Sweden, but attempts

to grant Ireland the kind of autonomy

enjoyed by Hungary foundered on the

national divisions on the island between

the Catholic and Protestant populations.

The Polish attempts to win independence

from Russia had previously proved to be

unsuccessful, with Poland being the only

country in Europe whose autonomy was

gradually limited rather than expanded

throughout the 19th century, as a

punishment for the failed uprisings; in

1831 Poland lost its status as a

formally independent state and was

merged into Russia as a real union

country and in 1867 she became nothing

more than just another Russian province.

Faced with internal and external

resistance to assimilation, as well as

increased xenophobic anti-Semitism,

radical demands began to develop among

the stateless Jewish population of

eastern and central Europe for their own

national home and refuge. In 1897,

inspired by the Hungarian-born Jewish

nationalist Theodor Herzl, the First

Zionist Congress was held in Basle, and

declared their national 'home' should be

in Palestine. By the end of the period,

the ideals of European nationalism had

been exported worldwide and were now

beginning to develop, and both compete

and threaten the empires ruled by

colonial European nation-states.

Revolutionary organizations

Serbian revolutionary organizations

Greek revolutionary organizations

Albanian revolutionary organizations

Internal Macedonian Revolutionary

See also 
Cultural identity
Ethnic autonomous regions
French Revolution
Identity politics
Intercultural competence
Irish nationalism
National flag
National liberation movements
National personification
National romanticism
Society of the United Irishmen