Since the early nineteenth century, nationalism has evolved from a means of self-determination
for a people and freedom
by dictators like Napoleon
into a source of mistrust and violence against 'outsiders'. Conservatism
, being a reactionary
movement, used nationalism to discredit the left
. They claimed that the only way to truly serve your "Duties...to Humanity" is through your Country, for "The individual is too weak, and Humanity
too vast" (Mazinni, doc. 7B,p. 225). Therefore, the anti-nationalist left is not serving its "Duties...to Humanity" but is instead being selfish and stubborn. Nationalism evokes emotions that there is some sort of common bond of a people, and if you do not feel this common bond then you do not belong there and you are not serving your fellow German
, or Frenchman
The extent to which nationalism contributes to violence can be seen in the two World Wars. It was nationalist sentiment that led an assassin to murder the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Although the responses of other nations were not nationalistic, the spark of the First World War can be attributed to nationalism. The Second World War is more clearly and definitely linked to nationalism. In Germany, the ultra-nationalist Nazi Party had come into power with the assertion that they must include all ethnic Germans within the Fatherland even if that meant war. They also must 'cleanse' the German 'race' by eliminating 'non-German' elements from their midst. Such thought contributed heavily to the breakout of war when Germany invaded Poland in 1939.
Three ideas, though not the only ideas, about the future of nationalism are:
- Nationalism is necessary in order to serve your duty to humanity, but once this duty is being served across the world, nationalism will no longer be necessary.
- Nationalism is slowly disappearing in an increasingly global world, and will soon disappear altogether.
- A significant number of people can be bound in love only if there are still people they can hate.
When one looks at the world today, one sees an ever-increasing 'globalization' effect. Transportation is becoming easier, communication is faster than ever before, and economies are more linked and dependent on one another than in the past. McDonalds and blue jeans are seen all over the world. The Communist Manifesto states that "national differences...between peoples are daily more and more vanishing." Indeed this is so in many cases. One must not forget, however, that there does seem, as Freud wrote, to be a desire of people to need somebody to "...receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness." Samuel Huntington, in his article "Clash of Civilizations", claimed that the future of nationalism was somewhere between these two extremes presented by Freud and Marx. He believed that instead of most violent conflict being drawn along nationalistic lines, that the most violent conflict would be on lines between civilizations. These civilizations are the highest possible level by which one can culturally separate people. Some of these civilizations today are the West (Europe and North America), Islam (Mainly the Middle East), Christian Orthodox (Russia), Japan, and several others. This hypothesis signals an end to nationalism, as Marx and Engels pointed out, and the continuation of aggression between peoples as Freud pointed out. So, none of these is perhaps totally right, but various aspects of each are indeed true and will continue to be so.