Fichte advocated for German nationalism, and in his “Addresses to the German Nation” of 1808, he insisted that Germans should act with a certain personality (of being German), “To have character and to be German undoubtedly mean the same” (63). This particular section of Fichte’s work is unique and interestingly unprecedented, as he is urging his fellow Germans to stand out and be recognized. He wanted to give them a sense of hope and even patriotism.
Primarily appearing rational and logical, asserting Germany’s independence from other nationalities, Fichte’s thoughts rapidly turn dark and unwelcoming when he describes the potential demise of Germany. Fichte stated that “we can avert the downfall of our nation which is being threatened by its fusion with fore...
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...the belief that foreigners were a hindrance to nationality and consequently the unification of Europe. As aforementioned, Acton was severely against the concept of nationalism. The question then becomes, what did nationalism lead to? It quickly led to war. Once certain phrases became apparent in society, such as “foreign contrivances” and “most intolerable of human beings”, they were bound to accelerate in severity. Many years later, Adolf Hitler contrived some of his arguments and beliefs from Fichte.
Fichte, Mazzini and Renan, all being nationalists, in their unclear and rather dissimilar descriptions of nationalism and what a nation-state should be, contributed to the misinterpretation of their texts. Acton was accurate in opposing nationalism, as it ultimately did not provide the liberty that each previous author had hoped for, but in great despair and warfare.
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