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

Essay on 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).


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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