Europe on the Brink of Change at the Turn of the 20th Century

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Europe on the Brink of Change at the Turn of the 20th Century By the turn of the 20th century Europe had undergone massive changes which had eventually pushed it into war. The main forces behind these changes were 1. Nationalism 2. Militarism 3. Imperialism 4. Socialism 5. Alliances 6. Unification These ideas and systems threatened the balance of power which caused a major war to break out. Nationalism is the feeling of loyalty shared by a group of people united by same language, race and culture; to express their loyalty to their nation, they attempt to unite themselves into a larger nation state with aspiration for independence. The Ottoman Empire was the first to feel the effects of nationalism when in 1828 Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. Metternich, the Austrian Ambassador commented on what he thought would happen after Greece became independent, "The day the Sultan's throne collapses, the empire itself will break up into several parts." During the 1800's nationalism took hold among people who shared a common language, history, or culture. Such people began to view themselves as members a national group or nation. By 1848 nationalist feelings had erupted throughout Europe and people began to demand their political freedom. Nationalism led to the creation of two new powers - Italy and Germany - through the uniting of many small states. On the other hand, nationalism weakened the eastern European empires of Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Ottoman Turkey. Those empires ruled many national groups that wanted independence. The leaders of the Austrian empir... ... middle of paper ... ... on the way to becoming one of the super powers in Europe. Kaiser William II envied Britain for it militia. This led to militarism; German increased their navy by building warships, so Britain increased theirs. This built up the tension among all the great powers of Europe. The main reason for Europe being on the brink of change at the turn of the 20th century is that countries that had been enemies decided to forget their differences and to unite. These changes have shaped Europe into a place where countries can all work together (United Nations). Bibliography Dictionary, Oxford Press (1992). H. Lord - The Origins of the War of 1870 (1966). M. Howard - The Franco-Prussian War (1981). A. Farmer - An Introduction to Modern European History (1890-1990) J. M. Roberts - Europe 1880-1945 (Second edition)
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