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How did nationalism fuel the conflict in Europe?

Nationalism fuelled conflict in Europe by intensifying internal divisions and promoting aggressive foreign policies.

Nationalism, a political ideology that emphasises loyalty, devotion, or allegiance to a nation or nation-state, played a significant role in fuelling conflict in Europe. It did so by exacerbating internal divisions and encouraging aggressive foreign policies. The rise of nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries was a powerful force that often led to tension and conflict between nations.

In many European countries, nationalism led to internal divisions that created conflict. For instance, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, various ethnic groups such as the Serbs, Croats, and Czechs, fuelled by nationalist sentiments, sought greater autonomy or independence. This led to internal strife and tension within the empire, weakening it and making it more susceptible to external pressures. Similarly, in the Ottoman Empire, nationalist movements among the Armenians, Greeks, and Arabs led to internal conflict and the eventual disintegration of the empire.

Nationalism also encouraged aggressive foreign policies, which often led to conflict. For example, in Germany, the rise of nationalism under Kaiser Wilhelm II led to a more aggressive foreign policy, including a naval arms race with Britain and a more confrontational stance towards Russia and France. This heightened tensions and contributed to the outbreak of World War I. Similarly, in Italy, nationalist sentiments under Mussolini led to the invasion of Ethiopia and Albania, contributing to the tensions that led to World War II.

Moreover, nationalism often led to a zero-sum game mentality, where one nation's gain was seen as another's loss. This made international cooperation difficult and often led to conflict. For instance, nationalist sentiments in France and Germany over the disputed territories of Alsace and Lorraine contributed to the Franco-Prussian War and continued to be a source of tension leading up to World War I.

In conclusion, nationalism fuelled conflict in Europe by intensifying internal divisions and promoting aggressive foreign policies. The rise of nationalism was a powerful force that often led to tension and conflict between nations, contributing to the outbreak of both World Wars.

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