In this week’s reading for Global Society, Eric Hobsbawm explores the nature of nationalism throughout the world. People began to came together to see themselves as one nation. The notion of nationalism began a mainstream idea between 1875 and 1914. People and governments began to buy up this idea that their countries were the end all be all of the world. These ideas would then lead to conflicts between nations; this would be something that governments would use to explore different ways to exploit people’s nationalism. But the people, who did not fit in with these nations or nationalism, would want change from government. Hobsbawn also touches on how the socio-economic gap between the working class and the middle class was big. It was hard to move forward at the time and the super rich and the rich were getting even richer. The exclusive ways of the rich gave them their own class. Membership to this class was having money, they made it impossible for anyone else to be as powerful as them. Women also were trying to fight for equal rights, as he says, “like democratization of politics, a greater degree of equal rights and opportunities for women was implicit in the ideology of the liberal bourgeoisie” (202). This was the beginning of women striving for equal rights and voting was something that was in the near future.
Something new I learned and wanted to talk about, which was discussed about in class but was not able to be fulfilling discussed because of volunteer domination, was why this idea of nationalism became mainstream? I think nationalism was a great thing for governments; it gave them such a tool from keeping power of the people. By telling the citizens of the country that they should believe in it, they gave them ultimate control of these citizens.
One concern I have for the people that were thinking there nationalism was right, why did this only become so big until now? I think people had pride in their countries and area much before this. I would have liked the author to dive in more deeply into the subject. Nationalism today is more important than ever with not having a draft, the government needs people to back up their decisions and feel pride in how they view their homeland.