Nationalism as the Most Important Cause of German Unification

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Nationalism as the Most Important Cause of German Unification

Nationalism is generally defined as the feeling of loyalty shared by a group of people united by race, language, and culture. It is a stronger belief than patriotism, the sentiment of loyalty towards one’s nation, as it is the belief that shared characteristics of a common people are valuable and need to be preserved by the creation and maintenance of a nation state. In respect to German Unification which was carried out between 1864 and 1871, historians have often described the process as a product of nationalism. However, I believe this was just an element contributing to the eventual unification as other factors such as the role of
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However, this contribution of the nationalist movement was in fact short lived as by 1849, the Frankfurt Parliament became little more than a precarious ‘taking shop’. There were many disagreements between members as whether the ideology of

‘Grossdeutschland’ or ‘Kleindeutschland’ should be implemented and soon the deliberations of the National Assembly did in fact become irrelevant because it lacked the power to resist the growing tide of reaction. Many of the Germanic princes, aware of the power of their still intact armies, started recalling their concessions to the liberals in the winter of 1848-49. All the temporary gains of the nationalist movement were lost and the revolution was in a reality a failure by 1849. However, it is necessary to note that although a serious blow to German nationalism, they did in fact lay the foundation of nation state which persisted in the hearts and minds of liberal-nationalists.

Indeed, despite this drawback for the national cause, the demand for unification revived in the late 1850s as a consequence of industrial and economic development. Therefore, instead of the single force of nationalism, the force of industrialization accompanied by the rapid population growth and

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