Nationalism and
Imperialism
-Key Concepts-
I. Nationalism
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Its Cultural Roots
Revival of National
Languages
Special National
Mission
The Decline of
Romantic
Nationalism
Tough-Minded
Realism after 1848
I. Nationalism (cont)
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Tough-Minded Realism
after 1848
--The Cultural and
Intellectual Climate
--State-focused
politics
--The Dominance of
“Realpolitik”—
expedience and power
Creation of the
Modern Nation-State
System, often through
war
II. Germany: A Case Study

Prevailing
Conservatism in
1850
-- “Junkers”
--Romantic vision
of war
--Parliament
rejected the
Military Budget of
1862
II. Germany: A Case Study (cont)

“Realpolitik
Personified”: Otto von
Bismarck (1815-1898)
--Background
--Flexible and
Pragmatic
--Hated Liberalism,
Democracy and
Socialism
--Manipulated
Liberalism and
Socialism to increase
the power of the
Prussian state
II. Germany: A Case Study (cont)
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Steps toward
unification of Germany
--Austro-Prussian War
(1866)
--Battle of Sadowa
--New North German
Confederation
--Franco-Prussian War
(1870-1871)
--Releases
Nationalistic frenzy
--Upsets European
Balance of Power
III. The Power of Competitive
Nationalism
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Competition pursued
in almost all areas of
activity
Each nation refused to
recognize any
interests other than
its own
Each nation was
determined to prove
its inherent historic
superiority
III. The Power of Competitive
Nationalism (cont)
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International
Application of Social
Darwinism
Remaining
Nationalistic “Hot
Spots”
--Russia and the
Crimean War (18531856)
--Sergei Witte and
modernization
--Ireland and Home
Rule
IV. Imperialism
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Anti-imperialist
sentiment before the
1870’s
Mostly economic
penetration before this
point
Assumption: Costs
exceed profits from
colonialism
Colonies would sooner
or later demand
independence
Countries absorbed
with domestic turmoil
IV. Imperialism (cont)
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The Great Age of
Imperialism (18801914)
--Africa
--South Pacific
Islands
--Southeast Asia
--China
--Central Asia
V. Causes of this Imperialistic
Enthusiasm
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Missionary Activity
and the AntiSlavery Movement
--Dr. David
Livingstone
Scientific Curiosity
A New Breed of
Adventurers
--Carl Peters
V. Causes of this Imperialistic
Enthusiasm (cont)
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--Cecil Rhodes
--Boer War (18991902)
International
Prestige through a
Darwinian Struggle
National Security
and Naval Bases
--Alfred T. Mahan
VI. Economic Motivations for
Imperialistic Enthusiasm
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Belief that new
markets must be
found to prevent
financial downturns
--revived mercantilism
Source of Raw
Materials
Target for Excess
Capital
Economic Benefits of
Imperialism were far
less beneficial than
assumed
VI. Economic Motivations (cont)
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European countries did not invest primarily in
colonies
--Only 10% of French investments in their
colonies—only 5% for the Germans
Trade followed the same pattern
--Only 25% of British Trade with its colonies—
only 11% for the French and .4% for the
Germans
European countries did the greatest volume of
business with each other
Most important economic motivation: raw
materials
Economics was thus an illusory stimulus
VII. The Fusion of Nationalism and
Imperialism

Huge Power Gap
between European
and non-European
states
-- “Gunboat
Diplomacy”
--Battle of Omdurman
(1898)
--The Second Opium
War (1856-1860)
VII. The Fusion of Nationalism and
Imperialism (cont)
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European Rivalries
intensified by
imperialism
India: The Pride of
British Imperialism
The Growth of Popular
Imperial Literature
--Rudyard Kipling
--Gunga Din
--Ernest Psichari
VIII. The Fusion of Racism and
Imperialism
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Social Darwinism:
“Fit” versus “Unfit”
Races
“The White Man’s
Burden”
The Benefits of this
“Burden”
--sati
Disrespect and
condescension toward
indigenous peoples
and cultures
VIII. The Fusion of Racism and
Imperialism (cont)
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The Congo Free
State in Africa: A
Personal Fief for
King Leopold II of
Belgium (18841908)
Exploitation of
colonial
possessions
--The Dutch
“Culture System”
IX. Criticism of Imperialism
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The Marxist Critique of
Imperialism
--J.A. Hobson’s
Imperialism (1902)
Need of the Rich to
Drain off Surplus
Capital
Opportunity to Divert
Attention from the
need for Domestic
Reform
IX. Criticism of Imperialism (cont)
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Moral condemnation of
Imperialism
--Joseph Conrad, The
Heart of Darkness
--George Orwell,
Burmese Days (1933)
--British Raj
-- “one long struggle
not to be laughed at.”
Failure of the Western
Liberal Tradition
X. Colonial Responses to Western
Imperialism
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Initial Response:
Attempt to Drive the
Imperialists away
“Traditionalists” who
continue to resist in
any way that they can
“Modernizers” who
learned western ways
in order to later use
them against
imperialists
X. Colonial Responses to Western
Imperialism (cont)
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Example of
Modernizers: Meiji in
Japan
Traditionalists and
Modernizers struggled
first with each other
Imperial Rule was
built on a foundation
of sand
--Ho Chi Minh
--Liberalism,
Nationalism and
Marxist Socialism as
colonial weapons
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Nationalism and Imperialism