Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chapter 9: Nietzsche, Prophet of the Twentieth-Century

(this post is for extra credit)

In the picture section of Age of Empire (in the middle of the book), Hobsbawm says that Friedrich Nietzsche was the “prophet of the era of war, barbarism, and fascism;” I could not say it any better. Nietzsche was born in Germany in 1844 and died, fittingly, in the first year of the twentieth century—the century of "war, barbarism, and fascism".

The composer Richard Wagner heavily influenced Nietzsche, and it is almost possible to hear Wagner’s music in the background while reading titles such as Thus Spoke Zarathustra and The Antichrist. Nietzsche is perhaps one of the most influential thinkers of the turn of the century, and he is also one of the most understood. His ideas of morality and individualism were groundbreaking, for example, “The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth: `I, the state, am the people.'... Everything about it is false; it bites with stolen teeth,” (Thus Spoke Zarathustra). This quote makes it evident that Nietzsche was thoroughly against popular democracy and socialism, as well as nationalism and imperialism.

Nietzsche was an activist of individualism, and this is where he becomes misinterpreted. His “will to power” and idea of the Ubermensch (superhuman) have been interpreted by tainted readers such as the Germans in the First World War and the Nazis in the Second as militaristic and anti-Semitic. Thus, when one reads Nietzsche, listens to Wagner, and looks at a painting by Hablik—doing all of this with a national-imperial-militaristic perspective—one will be pushed to go on a Grail-hunting journey or inclined to Blitz across enemy lines in an effort to gain territory for the Second or Third Reich to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries.

-Stefan Larson

Friday, October 16, 2009


In this week’s reading of Age of Empire, Eric Hobsbawn focuses on the creation of nationalism. Nationalism was established through the countries accepting and proomoting a democratic society. Although the united countries under this democracy was not the cause of nationalism. The countries instead had a liberal view under the democracy the each wanted and this liberal view began to cause unanticipated tension both inside and outside the county. People began to develop a strong sense of pride for their country, and began to identify themselves with their nation. However, some took their pride to the extreme and used it as a way to defend its country which in turn caused struggle between certain groups within the countries and people began to clash. I viewed nationalism, at this time to be a concept of saving grace. People identified witht their country and felt a strong sense of pride and belonging which really gave their country hope during war times.
I find it interesting that people at this time was very vocal in how they wanted the government and their country to be ran. Although they came to an agreement that they wanted a democracy, they were all dominantly liberal in terms of their view.
My question is how did nationalism directly aid the countries during war times?


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.

Nationalism, Democratization, and the Bourgeoisie

In the 19th and into the 20th century, several interrelated social, political, and psychological transformations were taking place. As one-by-one countries began steering their ways toward more democratic governments, nationalism -- as a result, it seems -- became extremely popular. It was contagious among homogeneous groups and politicians and leaders took advantage of that. People were identifying themselves as citizens of countries, as members of communities with geographical borders that were something to be proud of. This pride and important sense of duty that came with it gave leaders leverage for recruiting soldiers and support for campaigns. In it's principle and practice, democracy lead to this kind of emotional relationship between individual and state because individuals can suddenly make the decisions for the state: the democratic state is supposed to be a state for the people by the people. It was favorable for people to identify with their country when they felt like they had a hand in it.

While democracy was fostering nationalism (or vice versa?), it was enfranchising more and more classes. The equalizing effect of this threatened the bourgeoisie's enjoyment of the political power their money and social power had afforded. Though residentially they began marking themselves off from the rest, the petite insisted on identifying themselves with them. The luxury of leisure amongst the bourgeoisie, which they could enjoy while not having to work thanks to inheritance and interest) became an identifying characteristic that popularized it for the petite and brought about the tradition of sports.

I find it really interesting that nationalism is so closely tied with democracy, but the relationship still isn't entirely clear. In some countries nationalism seemed to actually precede democratic rule. Why is that? The world had become more communicative by this point and more commoners were literate and could learn the sentiments of people in other nations, so perhaps getting a sense of others' pride in their countries, people elsewhere thought they should feel that same sort of pride, but couldn't if they had no part in their government, which then mobilized them to democratize.


“With an immense zest. . .they begin shopping. . .they plunge into it as one plunges into a career; as a class they talk, think and dream possessions.” This was quote from H.G. Wells in 1909 describing the new middle class, known as the ‘Bourgeoisie.’ Hobsbawm goes on to say that it wasn’t until the late 19th century that this class began to be physically comfortable, decorated with solid objects, possessing a copious amounts of textile goods, and partaking in the consumption of fine cuisines. Hobbs sites another quote by William James to describe this new kind of society. It states, “In its widest possible sense. . .a man’s Self is the sum-total of what he can call his, not only his body and his psychic powers, but his clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his lands and horses and yacht and bank account.” This quote helps to illustrate that this class was primarily concerned with material possessions. Although these passages were written to describe the people of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, I found the descriptions to fit modern day society very well. Today, people are very concerned with their material possessions and often go to great lengths to secure these, even when they don’t have the means to do so. People obtain and max out multiple credit cards, mortgage their homes, and get loans to pay for what they can’t on their own. This over-reliance on credit has left many people in massive debt, bankrupt, and is even causing some to lose their homes. More specifically, it has landed America in what is now referred to as the mortgage and credit crisis. Do you think it was these early standards established in the late 19th century that created peoples obsession with material goods and caused many to get in too deep, or do you believe America’s current obsession with material goods was brought on by some other ideals and standards that deserve their own categorization?

Blog 6: Nationalism v. Anarchism

This week Hobsbawn discusses the nature and development of the bourgeoisie, as well as the idea and power of nationalism. The nationalism aspect was what intrigued me the most. It is interesting to me that an ideology that was once used as a powerful tool in the French Revolution and liberalism. As it became a more widespread idea, governments manipulated it to become a way of spreading national propaganda and foster unity with in the nation. It is said to see how quickly a positive idea can turn into a weapon. Hobsbawn discusses how poly-ethnic states were divided by the burst of nationalism on the scene. Nationalism was used as a twisted into a tool of discrimination and racism. As it developed farther it had not only the potential for hating other nations, but for hating individual cultures and subcultures within their own nation.
Nationalism is not all bad. It can unify a country under a common goal. It can empower a national government. Nationalism has even torn down tyrannical governments. Something I don’t understand even though it isn’t in the text is anarchism. I don’t understand its purpose. A society based in chaos cannot survive. According to some scholars, individuals are natural ruled by their needs and desires. Without restriction of those needs and desires individuals are unable to rationally satisfy any of them. We establish systems of government in order to protect ourselves. Government represents a tradeoff. We trade some of our individual rights for the best chance as satisfying most of our needs. What is anarchy’s purpose? How is it effect? If everyone believed in anarchy wouldn’t our entire system collapse?

Blog 6 - Nationalism

    As I continue to read The Age of Empire by Eric Hobsbawn, I am becoming more intrigued by the topics presented and the method at which it was presented. This week of reading was very interesting. In chapter 6, Hobsbawn discussed nations and nationalism. With the rise of democracy, nationalism played a key role within the development and sustainability of it. There was a positive correlation between the rise in democratization and the rise of nationalism. Nationalism popularized from 1880 to 1914. During this time period, nationalism evolved to include both right wing and left wing politicians. An important aspect of nationalism was that it related to democracy and education. Because of these factors, it helped nationalism become mainstream. Since people were being educated and it was becoming ever so popular, people were becoming a lot more interested in pride. People began to identify themselves with their nation and individual patriotism evolved again.

    What is nationalism? According to Hobsbawn, the readiness of people to identify themselves emotionally with their nation and be politically mobilized as citizen of a country. People were mobilized by way of elections. The countries used elections to give citizens the buzz of being a impact to society. By way of that, the person would be able to effectively participate in the countries affair and politics. When the people become involved it would be easier for the country to mobilize in time of trouble and stress. Why is nationalism important? Nationalism is important because it was important for every nation to have their people have a sense of national pride. It would be easier for countries to recruit soldiers, defend themselves, and advance in technology. Despite all the nationalism, tensions arose with various countries.

    As previously stated, nationalism became favored because of ties with democracy and education. Democracy and nationalism had a very specially relationship. The idea of democracy allowed the people to utilize their freedoms and right. Also, education was important as well. Education informed people about their country and heritage.

    The end of the Eighteenth century had seen revolutions in the name of freedom and equality in the New World as well as in France. While the new United States continued to wend its way Westward under basically democratic principles, France's revolution essentially replace a rotten hereditary monarchy for militarism, under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte. At the beginning of the century, Germany was not a united nation, but a conglomeration of duchies and principalities, perhaps with a common purpose, and a common language and culture, but separated politically.

        As previously stated, nationalism became favored because of ties with democracy and education. Democracy and nationalism had a very specially relationship. The idea of democracy allowed the people to utilize their freedoms and right. Also, education was important as well. Education informed people about their country and heritage. One final question: Did nationalism really been incorporated in Basketball and education. What the importance of emotional in Nationalism?

Age of Empire 3

This weeks reading was a direct result of last week's. With rise of the working class, nationalism followed. The working class was growing and getting stronger and the upper class were not the only people in power anymore. With the masses gaining more and more say in the countries politics, unification began to form. This unification caused nationalism. Everyone was beginning to have pride in their country because for the first time they were dictating their own lives. However, this immense pride also had the effect of a xenophobic population. Immigration was frowned upon and outsiders were the new second class citizen. No longer were people open to new people, they just wanted to focus on their own solid country. This really blocked off any chance of expansion or globalization. A good thing did come out of the national pride of the country. Education and Technology boomed and were taking off in advancements.
With the change in society, also came change with women. For centuries women's only role in life was to stay at home and have children, but not anymore. They were leaving their homes in search for jobs and roles in their local towns and politics. This new turn for women really made a huge impact on their future. Birthrates were substantially lower, so women had more time to do things for themselves, not just stay at home and watch the babies just pop out of them. Women began marrying later in life because they wanted to pursue their goals and then settle down. This social change brought the beginning of a fight though- women's suffrage. This was around the time that they were truly fighting for their right to have a say in government and what was going on around them. Although the result took some time, without these strong ladies to begin the surge, our life today might be extremely different.

The Age of Empire - Blog 3

With the rise of democracy, nationalism took a major role. It was also changed from its original form into something much more potent. Nationalism came to be identified with the political right instead of the left, the promotion of an independent sovereign state for any and all nations, complete autonomy for those nations, and the definition of a nation based on ethnicity and language. Many nations were created at this time based on a group of people who were able to commonly identify through a spoken language. Governments took on a much more central role in citizens’ lives through mailmen, policemen, teachers, and railway workers. Schools also became the preferred method of inculcating children with traits of nationalism. Religion and nationalism became linked in order to more strongly promote political action. At this time, the bourgeoisie and middle classes also learned how to spend and live in comfort. This caused the lines between the classes to blur greatly. The middle class was no longer as simple to define, which caused numerous clashes, but the major criterion was eventually determined to be formal education. This large class of bourgeoisie quickly grew to think of itself as elite, although with the expansion of education, it became harder to differentiate it from its inferiors. Thus private schools developed to train citizens to be leaders. Membership of the bourgeoisie was also inherited, which vastly increased the numbers of the class. This class indentified itself through various means such as education, lifestyle, and disassociation from the working class by joining the political right. Interestingly enough, one way that people were able to flaunt their wealth was by enabling the women and children to participate in non-profit activities, which actually aided the emancipation of women and promoted philanthropic ventures. Women began to have fewer children, the use of birth control increased, and more women became part of the work force. Women also took on a more managerial role within the family while working- and middle-class women finally earned wages. Women suffragists became more prevalent as women took on a more prominent role in the economy. Education for women also increased, social conventions became looser, styles of dress were less restrictive, women’s sensuality was more recognized, and women were noted to have aspirations. It is necessary to remember, however, that this nearly exclusively applied to women of the middle and upper classes. In fact, feminist groups were very concentrated and many women did not even support them, although voting for women and women’s sexual freedom were very important topics. The largest problem was the question of what would happen to the nuclear family if women were emancipated.

I thought it was extremely interesting that nations had previously not been defined by ethnicity or language. As Hobsbawm stated, “We are now so used to an ethnic-linguistic definition of nations that we forget that this was, essentially, invented in the later nineteenth century” (146). I cannot imagine any other way of determining a nation. Geography does not seem like it would be enough to keep people from moving to other areas because it would not give them a tie to their “homeland.” I suppose my view is merely a reflection of being inundated with nationalistic ideas from a young age. I also found it intriguing that the development of homogenized and standardized language had its origin in nationalism.

Although Hobsbawm actually went into a fair amount of detail with this, I still think it would have been interesting if he had expounded on how social inferiority was the main cause of devotion to patriotism. As the gap between the rich and the poor grew, the middle class was left without a distinct identification. It was kind of like how the Third World term developed to indiscriminately include all of the countries not a part of the Eastern or Western Bloc. Hobsbawm’s explanation of the respect that nationalism could gain a middle class person is very interesting. I would have liked to know how this affected Nazi Germany. It seems to me that since nationalism and patriotism were able to unite and elevate the middle class so much, that that could have been why so many Nazis let that power go to their heads. Hobsbawm could have further expanded to how this feeling of power and control affected other nations.

Nationalism, Democracy...and Awesome?

This week, we discussed the topic of nationalism.  More specifically, we talked about how nationalism ties directly into things such as democracy, education, and war.  (Just so we all have the right idea on nationalism, this is not it: )  It seems that nationalism and democracy in particular are connected.  The rising wave of nationalism coincides exactly with new systems of government or a greatly expanded franchise leading to a large number of first time voters.  Many of these voters were not educated and tended to be rural farmers.  Through no fault of their own, they tended to not be the most informed on matters of state and government.  Therefore, they became easy targets for campaigns based around whipping new voters into a nationalist frenzy, driven to the polls by fear of those who are different and a belief that their nation was better than all others to around it, and they should see their country rise to greatness (or restore former glory, or maintain its strength, etc).  This tactic was very, very successful, and led to a string of electoral victories across Europe for right wing nationalists.  This led to an upswing of nationalism across the continent, leading to an increased call for (and an increase in) territorial expansion and colonialism.  This obviously created a need for an increase in armaments for all nations.  The combination of all of these factors, stoked by the nationalist fervor of each populace (which had been, in turn, stirred by government officials as candidates for office) led, inevitably, to armed conflict between nations.  This is because, as several sources (according to nationalism, unlike patriotism, implies a hatred (or aggression, at least) towards other countries.  At a minimum, it causes rivalries, as seen here: and here: and at most it can lead to wars such as the Franco- Prussian War and World War One.  Nationalism arose as a tool to win votes and exploit new voters by appealing to their base instincts in order to win elections, and it often led to bloodshed and hatred between countries.  I do have a question to pose however.  We’ve discussed nationalism and unification and independence, but how do you feel about nationalism and patriotic feelings when not directed at the system governing you ( for an example of nationalism not directed to the nation in charge).  Is this still nationalism and patriotism?  Is it only one of the two?  Is it something else entirely?

Chapter 6

In this week’s readings, Hobsbawn discussed the come up of nationalism and the role change of women in society. Nationalism first began to rise at the end of the 19th century. Following the rise of the working class, politics was not solely run by upper class individuals. With other class’s voice being heard, people began to identify with their nation, causing nationalism. A lot of the early nationalism was centered on radical and liberal movements of the French Revolution.

With nationalism came advances in technology and education. The focus on education, lead to more people being able to read and write. This was very important in terms of communication and literature.

As I mentioned before Hobsbawn talked about the changing role of women in this time period. Women no longer were just seen as stay at home moms, who cooked, cleaned and left the money making to men. Women got jobs of their own and took on a totally role in society. With these changes came other changes, such as the decline in birth rates. Women weren’t marrying as early, most likely because they had more control of their lives. Women also fought for rights. One of the main rights fought for, was the right to vote.

I found the section interesting about women’s role change in society, because I have a hard time visualizing a society where women don’t have the freedom or rights that they have now. So it is cool to me to read about how these changes came about.

-Justin Lovett

Nationalism and the Rise of Women

This weeks readings in The Age of Empire by Eric Hobsbawm started off by talking about the rise of nationalism, “one major by-product of democratization” (142). Nationalism appeared and grew between 1880 and 1914. It was during this period that people began identifying with their nation specifically in places like Germany and Italy. Nationalism worked its way into politics by affiliating itself with the political right and with patriotism. Nations changed during this period, and nations were formed. People began “to define a nation in terms of ethnicity and especially in terms of language” (144). Although nations formed around language, many chose to move to America, start a new life, and learn English “as a matter of necessity or convenience” (147). Hobsbawm then moves to talk about the “new woman.” The lives of women changed around the period of the rise of nationalism, they were now marring later and having fewer children due to the increase in life expectancy. Women were also beginning to enter the work force. While in the past there had been a few women working, they were by far rare and brilliant. During this time period, the number of laboring women grew significantly, although not for the best. Women worked because of industrialization and out of necessity to support their families because of economic revolution. Women with younger children also needed someone at home, so many could not enter the industrial world. Families still needed money, so many women began doing jobs within their houses so they could take care of their kids and help support the family financially. Women’s rights were increasing, and eventually women pushed and gained emancipation. Hobsbawms statement that “a century after Napoleon, the Rights of Man of the French revolution had been extended to women” was one of the most interesting and moving in the entire book (217). This weeks readings overall were about the rise of nationalism and the creation of the new woman.

The second part of chapter six begins with stating that some resisted the spread of nationalism. I thought it interesting that people did not go with the flow and desire to identify with their nation. There were people such as in the United Kingdom who refused to identify with England as a whole and continued speaking Welch. While I do not understand people who speak French, living in France, choosing to identify with France as a whole, I can understand Welshmen desiring not to loose their identity.

I also found it interesting that people were now finally deciding to have fewer children. Hobsbawm states that people in cities were “stimulated by the desire for a higher standard of living” (194). I am wondering why you think people finally decided to have fewer children and start marrying later. Why now did people desire a better life? While “conditions of life change, and even the pattern of women’s existence does not remain the same through generations” what made this change occur so quickly (195)?

blog 6

Nationalism is connected with the rise of democracy however it is not necessarily the reason for it. It connected because people of a democracy connect with their government and has proud goals, which comes along with loving your nation. Therefore, when there was a rise is democracy, there was also a rise in nationalism. During this time of democratization and nationalism there was a serious change in the balance in good relations with people. Nationalism made people want to represent their own selves so there was lots of a tension between minorities and Jews etc.

Now a days I think there are a few important parts of nationalism even though technically it probably shouldn’t be a part democracy. I think it is important for people to not only feel connected to their government but also to their country. Language can connect people to one another and their country.

The more governments democratized; unfortunately the more classes of people were disenfranchised. However, before democracy they never had the right to vote to begin with so maybe this is still an okay upgrade. However, as time went on those classes regained back their rights and eventually even women were granted the right to vote. With this the importance of education grew. With all of these new changes the bourgeoisie slunk farther and farther out of their time of domination.

---Dorothy Smith "Bunny"

Nationalism Goes Mainstream

In this week’s reading of Age of Empire, Eric Hobsbawn focuses on the creation of nationalism and in his words, “the new woman.” While nationalism was established through countries embracing a democratic society and living a life of democratization, it was certainly not the only cause of it. This liberal view quickly became a part of each country, and slowly but surely began to cause unanticipated tension both within and outside the county. People began to develop a strong sense of pride for their country, and began to identify themselves with their nation, which in some eyes is a good thing. However, some took their pride as a right to “protect” their country, which consequently caused a few heads to clash more than once. To add to the tension, this idea of nationalism also introduced a hot topic this is still debated today – immigration.

Nationalism ended up being an extreme “morale booster,” if you will, during these times. Because everyone was identifying themselves with their nation, and taking a passionate pride in the nation they belonged to, this inevitably helped the country in time of war. Having everyone be accepting and supportive of war, obviously sets the tone of the media. With the media reporting positive things about the war, this contributed to the success of the war. This idea is known as “mainstream.”

What I would have liked Hobsbawn to expound upon, if possible, is how nationalism directly affected immigration? I know that it caused immigration, but what exact role did it play? Comments are welcome.

Nationalism and Education

In this week’s reading Hobsbawm discusses nationalism, the bourgeoisie and women’s evolving role. This period of history represents rapid changes across society, specifically in three areas, the newly nationalistic mindsets of the public, the reorganization of class structure and the dramatic changes in gender roles. Nationalism exploded during this time period, spread through urbanization, political parties and the “Us versus Them” mentality used to promote war. The rise of the middle class “Bourgeoisie” is also a critical theme of the socio-economic development of the 20th century. The downtrodden poor, and the newly wealthy classes would repeatedly come into conflict with each other, and the ruling class, across the world. Additionally, family structure and traditional roles were transformed when women were finally allowed increased rights, which, while limited, dramatically affected their roles in society.

Our class discussion on education definitely got me thinking about how education affected the lower classes during the twentieth century. The restrictions on child labor, and the introduction of compulsory education affected an entire generation of youth, whose situations were so different from their parents’. Its practically impossible to compare the lives of a father who labored in the factory from childhood, to the son, who at least went to elementary school before entering the workforce. This young generation was more literate, and therefore more enlightened, and far more politically active. This generation lead the transformation the social, economic and political landscapes of the 20th century.

I also considered nationalism in today's classrooms. I went through school listening to the national anthem every morning, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance without a second thought. Until one day in which my history teacher had us stop after our daily ritual and think about what we were actually saying when we say “I pledge allegiance, to the flag of the United States of America…” When we say these words we promise loyalty and devotion to the U.S. and promise to fulfill all of our duties to our country, even if that means laying down our lives defending it. And American children make this promise every day, from the first day of first grade to the last day of senior year, often without a second thought. It's so easy for these pieces of nationalism to become completely habitual, to the point where you can probably only say the Pledge if your running on autopilot. And nationalism isn’t just in the first couple minutes of class, it dominates curriculum in history. We discussed how students should be well versed in their own nation’s history, but at the same time, we cannot neglect the rest of the world’s history, especially in today’s globalized society. Just something to think about, as technology connects even the farthest corners of the globe, our world gets “smaller” while our educations must get bigger, and broader with every year.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chapter 6 Nationalism

One important result of the rise of the working class was the rise of nationalism in politics. The word nationalism first appeared in the end of the nineteenth century to describe groups of right wing ideologists in France and Italy, who were opposed to any kind of foreigners, liberals or socialists and in favor of aggressive expansion of their own state. Nationalism was based in the readiness of a people to identify with their nation, and to be politically mobilized. This was a readiness that was politically exploited by the leaders of these states. They called it “patriotism”, and used it to establish others as some kind of traitor or alien. This kind of patriotism was a somewhat new phenomenon, as most nationalism in the early nineteenth century had identified with the liberal and radical movements of the French revolution.

This new kind of nationalism could be seen as a mutation within the new nationalism, which would have major effects on the twentieth century. The first major mutation was nationalism being taken over by the political right. The second was the assumption that national self determination could be available to any group of people or states that happened to call themselves a “nation”. What was most important at this time was not how much support for the cause achieves at the time, but rather, the transformations that that took place which redefined nationalism. Another important development was the creation of the idea of the “nation-state”. The state not only made the nation, but needed to make the nation.

What made nationalism so successful was the leaps in technology, communication, education, and literacy. Schooling increased in most every European nation, and so did literacy and awareness as a result. The national, state organized education led to the institution of the national language. A unity among language was yet another factor that contributed to nationalism and nationalist identity.

It is quite undeniable that the outbreak of war in 1914 produced genuine outburst of mass patriotism in the main belligerent nations. The nationalism of the Irish Fenians would have never existed had they not identified with the Catholic Irish. The Russian revolution would not have been possible if the people had not been moved by the idea of this new kind of super patriotism. All of these were the result of nationalism’s effect upon the common man, the force behind each nation.

One thing I found exceptionally interesting about the reading was the sheer power of a united nationalist core of a country. It seemed that when united under nationalism, almost anything was possible, from a practical and needed small change to a radical change like a revolution. This harnessed energy was not always positive. It led to massive waves of anti-Semitism in central and Eastern Europe.

What led to nationalism’s decline? It seems as if it’s not as easy to garner the working classes’ attention and focus it on such a radical cause. It takes, time and will only work on a moderate cause, and many times, no support can be gathered at all.

Woman and Nationalism

This week’s reading and class discussion surrounds the idea of the creation of nationalism through democratization and the growth of women in the western culture. Nationalism was the liberal view and then became a part of everyone. Not only was there pride for ones country but they would fight to protect their nation. Nationalism created tension between states because every person wanted to protect their nation. That is how strong nationalism got, and some still have the same feelings today. Some people that did not agree with the way there state was running immigration. Nationalism created immigration, which created even more tension between states.
The readings this week also incorporated the rise to power women have gone through to get to where we are today. The low birth rate according to Hobsbawm is several factors; people are having children older, women need to work, and/or the use of contraceptives during those times.
Nationalism became mainstream, because there is more at stake to fight for when being the country you live in. One reason why nationalism was important to mainstream is for war. When war is declared a large band acceptance is needed for the success of the world. The war needs acceptance which leads to the idea that the mainstream media will pick it up. If a war has wide spread acceptance than that will directly correlates with the media attention it gets. If there is wide acceptance than the chance of good media to come out is higher than if there was low acceptance to a war. Iraq war for example, we went in there with little support from not only we the people but other counties. The Iraq war did not have good media coverage. Therefore, the greater the acceptance of a conflict or war the better media stance you get.
I do agree with Hobsbawm on the issue of low birth rate in developed or developing nations. As more developed a country gets the more technology and education a country has. More technology means a higher demand for workers, so women are able to start to work. Education of money and children hinders the want to have children. Women want more than just to stay home and be inferior to men. Education also leads to better medical care in the developed countries which gives us contraceptives. You no longer have to get pregnant at such a young age, but you can work, educate yourself, and with the ability of contraceptive to determine the best time to have children.


In Chapter 6 of Hobsbawm, the author discusses the rise of nationalism. The word nationalism was first associated with far-right idealists who favored expansion of their states and contrasted the liberalist and socialist movements of the time. The rise of democracy enabled nationalism, as elections provided the opportunity to mobilize people who saw nationalism as primary. Often, members of the far right would adopt “patriotism” and “nationalism” as their standards and paint everyone outside of the party as a traitor of the nation. This nationalistic movement contrasted the nationalism from earlier in the century, which had identified more with liberal and radical movements rooted in the tradition of the French Revolution. This new form of nationalism was defined by its integration into politics, its application outside of the traditional definitions of nations, the desire to achieve complete autonomy for the state, and the definition of a nation in terms of language and ethnicity. Along with the development of political association with nationalism was the increased importance of education. “From the state’s point of view, the school had a further and essential advantage: it could teach all children how to be good subjects and citizens” (150). Nationalism continued to spread, mostly through the lower middle class, and culminated with mobilization of citizen armies at the outset of World War I. This march to war proved “the necessity of patriotism for governments operating in democratic societies and its force” (164). Governments were able to form these armies on a nationalist basis because they successfully engrained in their people that the cause of the state was the cause of the people themselves.

Through the reading and our discussions in class, it is obvious that nationalism was closely tied to democracy, education and war. Democracy helped to advance the causes of nationalism because of the opportunities that elections provided for nationalist factions to gain control. Ironically, many “nationalist” parties used this power to quickly thwart democracy and other nation-states (Nazi Germany for example). Government was also involved in the tie between education and nationalism, as governing members saw schools as a primary way to instill national pride in its youth. This is certainly something that remains today, as most countries primarily teach the history of only their country. Even within the United States, nationalism and education runs beyond just American history. In many Southern schools, what the North terms the Civil War is still titled The War of Northern Aggression. While obviously the United States have been reunited, there was a time when the Confederate States of America formed their own nation, and there are still nationalistic feelings rooted in that tradition. The relation to war is an interesting one, as it is debatable as to whether war created nationalism or nationalism created war. It is probably a combination of the two, though I believe it is more the latter. Nations have always been battling to establish supremacy, and while the nationalist cause was not politically mobilized to the extent it was in the late nineteenth century, it was still evident in Greek and Roman societies. This imperialistic aspect of nationalism has remained intact, even today. The United States is heavily involved in several countries, trying to implant a democratic ideal based on the American example. My question stems from this, as I wonder if nationalism will ever fade to be replaced by a truly global society or if the world will always be divided by “national” lines?

Women In History: Not Just Sunshine and Roses (And Birth Control)

Major props to Eric Hobsbawn for actually deeming it fit to mention that women were actually involved in the history of humanity. Most male (and even female) historians tend to forget that.

Hobsbawn does a pretty good job talking about women, although his discussion about the increasing rights and freedoms of women in a global context lends a somewhat limited way of analyzing the real "women's history of the world."

For example, he mentions how women's work usually took place in the household (p196), but he doesn't really attempt to dig into the details of how women really worked in the household. In the history of mankind, a woman's "household work" never ceased. While men's work was usually contained within daylight hours (farming), women (even women who worked in the fields too) often worked long hours into the night, cleaning, preparing, preserving and storing food, sewing and knitting clothes, tending to the fire, heating water for baths, cleaning the house, caring for the children, etc.

Men, on the other hand, worked in the fields. Hobsbawn calls this "breadwinning." While men certainly "won" the "bread," by planting and harvesting the grain, women chopped up the grain, ground it, milled it, mixed it, milled it, kneaded the dough, prepared the oven, tended the coals, and baked the bread. But yes, men were the breadwinners.

I'm still not hatin' on Hobsbawn too much. The mere fact that he devoted a full chapter to women is wonderful, five steps above the historian norm. But it's still a relatively male-centric discussion.

Hobsbawn talks about the great strides women were making in the 1800s, which they were. He did, however, neglect some unfortunate, terrifying, brutal side effects of these strides:

Yes, the often-unmentioned witch-hunts. The more power women gained in the Western World, the more scared the men-in-power got of women. In particular, they were scared of single, independent women, which was pretty much every the scariest thing possible in the mind of the average insecure-male-politician-making-sexist-laws to overcompensate-for-the-fact-that-women-don't-find-him-attractive (is there a word in German for that?).

History books like to gloss over the witch-hunt phenomenon in the same way American history books like to gloss over the fact that this country was built on the back of slaughtered redskins. I remember in elementary school and high school they garnered a brief mention but only in the context of "weird shit happened in Puritan 1700s-1800s America like witch-hunts, no one knows why, people were just dumber back then"*

*not actual phrasing

But I think it's maybe worth mentioning that the rise in persecuting and killing independent single women such as spinsters and widows by accusing them of "witches" over the course of history has a very direct positive correlation with the rise in women gaining equality, independence and power in a men's world.

But I guess it's allowed for Hobsbawn not to mention these things, since he is merely talking about global trends and modernization, not the persecution of women during globalization and every other time. It was a tiny bit sexist of him to spend so much time writing about the apparently most worrisome aspect of the first proto-feminist movement, which was that women stopped having men's babies. But I forgave him for that because of the following passage:

"If emancipation meant emergence from the private and often separate sphere of the family, household and personal relations to which women had so long been confined, could they, how could they, retain those parts of their femininity which were not simply roles imposed on them by males in a world designed for males? In other words, how could women compete as women in a public sphere formed by and in terms suited to a differently designed sex?" (217)

Wow. I have not in my life read a better, more clear and succinct description of the precise problem facing women in the workforce (both professional and blue-collar) both in the late-19th century and today.

And it's pretty much impossible. As a professional woman you can take the Hillary "kinda manly but intelligent-as-hell" Clinton approach or you can take the Sarah "I may be kinda dumb but damn do I look good in wire-rimmed glasses, a well-combed updo and a suitjacket" Palin approach, either way you're going to get relentlessly mocked. You can earn 75 cents for every dollar a man with your exact schooling, competence, and experience will make. And you're still going to be expected to put on makeup and wear high heels and have shiny, well-styled hair at the office every day and come home to cook dinner and have babies. Thank you, Eric Hobsbawn, for drawing our attention to this.

-katie dempsey

Rise of Nationalism

The rise of Nationalism came about from 1880 to 1914 with a reformation for what was typicaly associated with nationality. Nationalists sought to keep socialist and liberals out along with aggressive expansion of state. The rise of democracy allowed a shift in nationalism to a term for any group seeking form its own independent state, which amassed a shockingly high amount. The perfect time for nationalists, people who identify themselves emotionally with “their” nation’ and to be politically mobilized in which could be politically exploited,” as I will show later. Thus Nationalism became a political force. Nationalism in this era had four characteristics. The first characteristic is nationalism and patriotism became associated with political movements. Second and third was national self determination and full state independence. The last characteristic is a nation tended to be characterized by ethnicity and by larger part language. Why did rise of nationalism become necessary?
Nationalism was used in a high degree to stop revolutionary agitations. They government needed a way to unify the state into a “nation-state.” This was done a variety of ways such as turning civilians into police, firefighters, postmen, and more. Essentially acting as ever watching eyes for the government as communities evolved from “villages and kin, perish and barrio, gild, and con-fraternity” this allowed the government a way to counter subjects non loyal to the state. Monarchies even went as far as to adopt this new sense of “Nationalism” by exchange of royal family members and adoption of their nationality to appear closer to their ruled subjects. This allowed for less internal turmoil. This is not the only reason nationalism became essential as economic advancements in technology and education came about.
Secondly, the technology in this era coupled with education, at least literacy created a fruitful economy. Oral communication started to breakdown as an influx of migration took place. Education met loyalty as it taught students how to be respectful citizens and subjects of the state. Thinking back to my orginal question what made nationalism necessary, ones view point may be it provided a way to unify everyone, with schooling, and more specifically an official public language. There were however, several unofficial languages which could not compete with the official language, so there was no government to stop “private life.” Nationalism provided more than just educational as it served as way to assimilate several cultures.
Nationalism also became necessary in a way to assimilate cultures. Assimilation did not come without prejudices of skin color and “culture friction.” Nationalist reformed “nationality” so to speak as a network of personal relations, at least regarding migrants. It served as a way to allow new migrants to adapt to life in the new world through means of nationality ties such as Irish, or Germanic.
It is clear throughout the reading of Chapter Six, Nationalism has many meanings and regards from ideology of nationalist movements to a broader appeal of Nationalisms. Nationalism came about from Democracy as a way to solidify a state into a “nation-state.” Three prime reasons nationalism was necessary was one to quell Revolutionary agitations through means of civilian government workers. The economic advancement in technology and education led to an official public language. The third reason is assimilation of different cultures into one nation by allowance of private life aspects to carry on in a new environment. Nationalism was made necessary for a unifying bond between state and nation to occur. My question to anyone is had nationalism not “blew up” in this era what may have replaced it?

Age of Empire 6-8

This week’s reading discussed the rise of nationalism and the emerging role of women. Hosbawm explains that there was a dramatic leap in nationalism from 1880-1914, the ideology of nationalism completely changed. Before, it was associated with liberal and radical movements and this new definition of nationalism encompassed a number of new factors. For example, there was a tendency to define a nation in terms of ethnicity and language, and/or any group that claimed themselves to be a nation.  He also explains that in the 20th century, nationalism was now the creation of people that could read and write and no longer of those that spoke. It became a definition of territory when there were mass migrations during the 20th century. Second, Hosbawm talks about the changing role of women during this time.  The major aspect that he talks about is the declining birth rates.  He attributes this change to women marrying later and by more of them staying unmarried, or by some means of birth control. In addition to the decline in birth rates, women were taking on more jobs in the public sphere due to the economic revolution.

I thought it was interesting how much birth control transformed family life. Since, families were getting smaller there was more resources available to the children and the hope of doing better than their parents was now a possibility for them. In addition, birth control gave women more of a chance of entering the workforce. 

blog - 6

I have found Hobsbawm’s readings to get more interesting as I read further into the text with each new chapter. Chapter 6, which discussed the rise of democracy leading to increased nationalism, I found to be very interesting. Hobsbawm reminds us early in the chapter that the definition of nationalism has changed over time. Earlier, nationalism referred to radicals (i.e. during the French revolution). Overtime, nationalism began to refer to the drive of countries to expand their borders. This expansion and spread of culture brought about pride in one’s country – yielding the nationalism we know today.
Nationalism became a way for people to feel either emotionally or politically connected to their countries. Yet, not all people felt the same amount of pride which transpired into nationalism . Nationalism started off primarily as a middle-class movement. Neither peasants nor those considered upper-class were affected by nationalism. Peasants had no pride in a country that limited their opportunities, and the upper class already felt as though they had a say in politics enough that they didn’t need to show their support for a country that they were the ‘backbone’ of. Increased levels of Nationalism lead to the start of patriotism, and increased levels of patriotism. Patriotism became almost vital for countries going into war. It also became necessary for government employees, both of which have been increasing in importance throughout the 20th century.
Overall, would you consider nationalism to have affected our world positively or negatively? It has brought about great inventions and evokes strong feeling, yet has proved to be the cause of devastating wars.


I especially enjoyed reading chapter 8. I love to read about how women came into power. The traditional roles of women as a mother and housewife were not necessarily bad roles. Where would we all be with out our motherly figure in our lives? It's just at this time this was the only roles women were allowed to have. This is it was bad.

At this time in history Hobsbawn talks about how women's roles in society changed from one end of the spectrum to the other. Women went from almost no rights at all to fighting for the right to vote. Hobsbawn talks a lot about decline of birth rates. Women's changing roles in society had a lot to do with this. Instead of marrying in their teens, women were marrying at a later age. Marrying later in life gave women more time to discover themselves as individuals. Instead of going from under daddy's rule straight to the obedient wife, they were able to express themselves as individuals and find their feminist power. This also helped lead to women not even marrying at all and just staying single. Women were also be able to use a form of birth control now. More women were also going out into the workforce. Instead of staying in and being the homemaker and housewife women were going out making money for the household as well. This wasn't all positive though. Women were exploited in their jobs. Women wanted the right to vote, so they took action, they were no longer quiet. The Feminist movement was on and moving forward.

Being a woman myself makes me happy to learn about these things in history. These women of this era took the good with the bad and pushed through these discriminatory barriers of this time and helped put women where we are now.

Birth Rates... or something of the sort

The changing of birth rates throughout the Age of Empire is incredibly interesting to me. I think it is such a rarity that the birth rates and mortality rates simultaneously declined in 'industrializing' countries. How these two could could decrease, at the same time, is a statistical anomaly, as well as a highly important cog in the machine of the future. Current birth rates (in so called industrialized states) are commonplace, so much that large families are the rarity in this day and age. Interestingly enough, barely 100 years ago, this was not the case. Commonplace in society has been shaped in little under 100 years, and it's rather miraculous.

Even more interesting is that third world countries will soon begin this decline in birth rates as well as (hopefully) mortality rates. This could actually lead to a stabilized world population. If you think in very hopeful terms, and ones that are just one possible way the future could pan out, this stabilization of world population could ultimately lead to a more peaceful world. I, personally, believe that basic problems, such as shelter, food, and basic rights, or lack of either really, are the fundamental basis of all complicated problems in our world.

Ultimately, everything is interconnected. So even if you don't agree that our world's problems are based off of hunger, you could easily see the connection between it and other problems. If we had a stabilized world population, we have the potential to obtain a production rate actually equivalent to our consumption rate. This is hopeful, and ideological, but none-the-less a possibility. I hope that in our world it is something we strive for, especially as globalization continues to become a rising expectation among people. We can eventually aim to solve stable global-problems through global-means.

What do you think of this hopeful fantasy for the world?

Chapter 8: A New Woman

This chapter talks about how there was a decline in fertility and death rates in the West. The reason for the low birth rates was because the ideas of marriage were changing rapidly; women were getting married later as opposed to the ideas that women were to marry at a young age to start their lives, women were not marrying at all and women had discovered means of birth control. Also, during this time was a change in women's work- more women were getting jobs because of the economic revolution.
It's interesting to think how the topics of marriage and women in work have changed today. The sociological definitions of marriage have changed drastically; while during the nineteenth century many families were defined as "two children, a husband who worked and a wife who did the house work" now in the 21st century there are many definitions of what a family is: single parents, same sex parents, biracial families, etc. Also within that spectrum, women have changed their views in the industrial society and are both working and working at home, however there are now also men who stay home and care for the children and home.
On a completely different topic- the chapter mentioned that a reason for a decline in birth rates was because families wanted to raise their social statuses and income, and large families deterred that dream. For some gosh awful reason, all the hype in today's popular culture, there is an interest in the rise of large families (i.e. Jon and Kate plus 8 and the Duggers). It's almost a reverse ideal in this instance; families of the nineteenth century wanted to save their income by having a small family, but these families of the twenty-first century are making large amounts of money by exploiting their very large families....I hate reality T.V. and how so many people care for them..hah, just a side note.


Chapter 8 looks at the drastic change in woman’s place in society during this era.  Hobsbawm places a lot of importance on the decline in birth rates.  He thought there were a few different causes: women marrying later in life (more were marrying in their late twenties), more women staying single for life (and this assumes no illegitimate children), or some kind of birth control being used.  All of these reasons are signs of modernization and women taking on a different role in society, no longer clinging to the role of mother and wife.  Of course, this decline of birth rates was not seen in third world countries where women maintained their role as wife and mother, or did not have access to birth control. 

Also, women were allowed into the work place.  Now they started to take on jobs outside of the home, further displacing them from their previous role as caretaker.  Hobsbawm makes sure to depict both the development of women, and also display their exploitation.  Both women and children were exploited for labor at this time, sadly. 

Finally Hobsbawm ends the chapter with the feminist movement, discussions of sexual liberation and birth control, and the push for the right to vote for women.  All of these were controversial issues, and it is amazing to me that women went from a place of virtually no rights to the forefront of the discussions of the day.  I simply wonder why it took so long, and why women were granted a voice (or just listened to) in this era as opposed to before.

--Arielle Parris

Commentary 6 - Hobsbawm Ch. 6-8

Hobsbawm focused on three major themes of late nineteenth, early twentieth century history, separated into three chapters. Chapter six details nationalism, chapter seven discusses the bourgeois, and chapter eight is about the role of the women and the emergence of feminism. All three themes have a heavy impact on global history, but the topic of nationalism struck me as most interesting; therefore, I chose to discuss only this topic for commentary six’s blog post.

An interesting point Hobsbawm mentions early in the chapter was that the term “nationalism” changed meaning as history progressed. In the nineteenth century, the word denoted liberal radicals, particularly during the French Revolution, to describe all politics regarding a national matter. As politics democratized, and the working-class had a larger voice, a new definition of nationalism materialized. Nationalism now described the ideology of attaining an identity as a nation, which created a collective sense of patriotism within these nation-states.

Politic nationalism, according to Hobsbawm, transpired from four separate happenings. Firstly, a new global desire for a national identity surfaced. Second, a collective belief that any group that self-proclaimed to be a nation was applicable to national self-determinism. Third, independence was considered vital in attaining the ability for national self-determinism. Lastly, it was a natural inclination to group nations by way of ethnicity, race, religion, and language.

This brings up the concept of linguistic nationalism; “the creation of people who wrote and read, not of people who spoke (p147).” Language easily grouped regions of people into nations because a family’s mother-tongue was so stagnant and concrete in nature. Hobsbawm obviously finds linguistic nationalism to be an enormous impact in twentieth century history. How would Hobsbawm respond to the twenty-first century Latin America desire to create a national identity through the sacrifice or simplification of language, as in the linguistic genocide?

AoE Commentary 3

This week's readings [Chapters 6-8] tied nicely together and I really felt a causal relationship as I read the material. Chapter 6 discusses nationalism - its origins and consequences. Nationalism started off as a small thing that was essentially idealogical. However, the spread of democracy and the mobilization of the masses set the stage for the spread of nationalism. The spread of nationalism is similar to the increased association of the masses to different socialist and labor parties, and the later may have bred the earlier. Although it could earlier be considered an ideology, nationalism had physical - and violent - consequences. WWI and WWII are great historical examples of the ruin that nationalism and ultra ethnocentrism can bring. Earlier examples include the issues with factions in Iraq [Kurds, Sunni and Shi'a]. Like all the news with the masses with the rise of democracy, nationalism was also carried out by the middle classes and the minorities, as they were the ones who were discriminated against and/or did not have their interests attended to. Continuing with the discussion of changes that were deeply affecting society, Hobsbawm discusses the changes the Bourgeoisie incurred. As industrialization spread, many of this group were more in the reach of the aspirations of the belle epoque. Althougth the bourgeoisie led comfortable lives and were surrounded my all the things they needed and more, the defining factor was having a suburban house and a garden. This one quality was coveted and paradoxically, it was always associated with bourgeoisie ideally, but not in reality. When looking at some of the pictures in this chapter it was some times difficult for me to differentiate between the "petty bourgeoisie" and the middle classes. Finally, in Chapter 8, Hobsbawm discusses the changes in another "minority" or oppressed group - women. I found his comparison of the journey of the Rights of Man to the fight for women's rights to be very interesting as I had never thought of this comparison before. Technology and advancement had empowered women by them having fewer children. Family and marriage were the main roles and throttles for women before. However, with the empowerment of being able to control these things [later marriage, birth control], women were able to take significant control over their lives. As with anything else, these changes started initially only in the upper classes.

After studying WWI and WWII extensively last year, I was very interested by Hobsbawm discussion of nationalism in chapter 6. The many facets of the movement and the changes in the types of nationalism and its consequences was enlightening in terms of nationalism's role in starting these two wars as well as many other "problems" later.

One thing I am unclear about is why nationalism couldn't be used to rally everybody in the nation like it did in the subnational factions? If it united subgroups in a particular country, why couldn't nationalism be used to rally the country as a whole? I almost feel like there should be a world called ethnicity-ism, if this is the case.

Nationalism is an Imperialism

I especially enjoyed reading chapter six of Age of Empire. I thought it was a good representation of the imperialist attitudes that many nations had in the period between (and especially after) 1875-1914. In chapter six, Hobsbawm highlights some key features of nationalism; they are, "flag waving", patriotism (nation- or race-identification), a national language, and a national education.

It seems to me that Hobsbawm's logic is that patriotism is a result of a nurtured education where the nation is taught as something to be held in high esteem; Hobsbawm gives the example of the United States, where he (correctly in my opinion) says that the flag was worshiped and pledged-to every day in schoolhouses across the country. A national-universal language only helps this process to patriotism because if everyone speaks alike, everyone is alike (so the logic goes). We can see language barriers in today's world in nations like India, Switzerland, and Belgium, but also in our own country where people in different regions of the country have different accents (in Texas they are Texans first, American's second).

Democracy and political involvement are also key components in the nationalism equation. If the once-alienated classes have the right to vote (i.e. were recently granted suffrage), then they are more likely to be politically active within the nation's political process instead of working around it through revolution. Thus, the once politically isolated will become a part of the true nation, and they will begin to call themselves part of the nation, which leads to patriotism. Patriotism leads to nationalism, nationalism leads to imperialism, and imperialism leads to World War One (see esp. graphics on pages 350 & 351).

"Nationalism... attacks democracy, demolishes anti-clericalism, fights socialism and undermines pacifism, humanitarianism and internationalism. ...It declares the programme of liberalism finished (Alfred Rocco, 1914). I think Hobsbawm uses this quote to show that nationalism treads over democracy (fair government by the people), is all-powerful, ends welfare-state-mentality, and easily shrugs-off pacifism and constraint. Again, I would say that Hobsbawm's chapter six is perhaps the most important chapter thus far, because it is a very important connection to The Age of Empire, and even our world today.

Immanuel Kant, in his [Towards a] Perpetual Peace, writes, "the civil constitution of every state should be republican." In the Age of Empire, most of the countries Hobsbawm looks at were republican or were in the process of becoming more republican. What, then, was the cause of the lack of peace between countries, as it was not lack of republicanism?

-Stefan Larson

Hobsbawm on Nationalism

This week in our readings and in lecture the birth and spread of nationalism is explained. Hobsbawm makes many points on the events, social movements and other reasons for the rise of nationalism and its spread through politics and society. He explains how it began as a term to describe far right winged politicians in France and Italy, but had many different meanings and uses. One problem with explaining the history of nationalism is a question of semantics. When a topic comes up and there are different semantic meanings and uses it is hard to discuss, but Hobsbawm does a good job explaining the different uses in different areas and countries. Also, along with semantics come written and spoken languages that are a great part of nationalism. Although, areas and territories that saw and see mass migration and emigration have difficulty relating to a particular language and a particular ethnicity. Ethnic nationalism is another form that has been around for awhile that is difficult to describe as well. Hobsbawm bring up a good point about immigrants to the United States that would use U.S. money and speak English did not plan on giving up their native tongue or their cultural histories. From these ethnic groups the argument of its use in politics arose. Either way, nationalism is deeply entwined in politics, specifically democracy.
I think Hobsbawm bring up a lot of good points about nationalism. One thing he said that was interesting was “When the future President Masaryk signed the agreement which was to create a state uniting Czechs and Slovaks (Czechoslovakia) he did so in Pittsburgh, for the mass basis of an organized Slovak nationalism was to be found in Pennsylvania rather than in Slovakia” (154). Not only does he bring up Pittsburgh which makes it a great point, but it shows how the United States nationalism developed.
There are many questions I wonder about. Some of them like how is language important to the concept of nation and the quotes that we would have covered in class if people wouldn’t ramble about irrelevant facts and simply got to the point. Nonetheless, I think language is a huge concept for the development of a nation and nationalism. I also think that the education system is also linked to nationalism. One question I would ask is as we move to this more global world, when could we possible see nationalism decline or disappear, and when will people realize that we are all in this together?