“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, is when hate for people other than your own comes first” stated by Charles De Gaulle. Nationalism refers to the thoughts or beliefs held about the nation by its people and how their collective consciousness acknowledges the importance of the nation. It involves the promotion of national interests and the goal of gaining or maintaining the homeland. Throughout history, nationalism has been perceived as a positive force which creates a sense of unity for people of a nation. In certain cases this is true but, some argue that it leads to deplorable cases of ultranationalism, which can lead nations to committing crimes against humanity. A similar perspective of nationalism is show in the source provided. In summary, the source provided says that although nationalism has helped oppressed peoples, it more often than not leads to atrocious acts committed by nations. The source may be referring to acts of genocide or possibly segregation. It also believes that nationalism is no longer needed in the world we live in today. The source has a critical perspective of nationalism and would most likely support internationalism – the idea that all members of the global community accept responsibility for the challenges that face the world and must search together for solutions. It is no secret that nationalism has accomplished great things in history like the discovery of the Americas. Although it has done some good in the world, the bad outweighs the good by a large margin. For this reason, the perspective of the source should be embraced due to its tendency create contending loyalties, the ultranationalism which can emerge from nationalism, and why internationalism is a much better alternative to nationalism.
One of the aspects of nationalism are the contending loyalties that are created. Nationalism forces an individual to choose an identity out of the many they possess. It can easily divide the people of a nation and create internal conflict and issues within the nation. A historical example of this would be the conscription which involved Canada and Britain. Canada does not fully have independence as they are still a constitutional monarchy. Back in WWI, Canada had used conscription to send soldiers to fight in the war for the Queen of England. Many were opposed to the idea of sacrificing their life for a Queen they do not like. This opinion was very popular among the French majority of Quebec. While most of them loved Canada and would die for their country, they were opposed to conscription for England. They also did not want to serve another country their ancestors have called enemies for centuries. This lead to some protests and lots of anger in the French people of Quebec. This would be an example of contending loyalties as the French were forced to choose their loyalties. There are plenty of cases like these that come with the concept of nationalism. Instead of having to choose one identity, individuals should be allowed to embraced all identities they posses.
A major consequence of nationalism is how relatively easy it is for it to evolve into ultranationalism. It is the act of loving a nation to the point of denying faults and any wrongdoing along with an offensive mindset to these matters. It also often goes hand-in-hand with racism and segregation. It is what influenced horrible acts to be committed in the historical context and with some contemporary examples. A historical example of this would be the Nazis taking over Germany before and during WWII. To better explain how this happen, it is important that you get some background information. After WWI, the Germany was in ruins and were forced to pay reparations payments to countries. They were in great trouble and needed a strong leader to become a secure country with economic stability. This is where Hitler comes into the equation. Hitler gained popularity by saying he will not pay reparation payments to the countries. He scapegoated Jews as foreigners who invaded the nation and took away jobs. When he rose to power, the Nazis created a genocide of Jewish people, which is often referred to as the Holocaust. Over six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. They were shot, beat up, and sent to concentration camps. By the end of WWII, only a third of the Jewish population under German rule remained alive. Although Jews were the most affected, other groups like Jehovah witnesses were killed as well. The Nazis infiltrated the education system and used propaganda to spread their ideas throughout Germany. They had done all these things to attempt in restoring the Aryan race, which are people of German and Nordic decent. The Nazis committed crimes against humanity in an attempt to fulfill their national interests and ultranationalistic views. A more contemporary example of ultranationalism involves the Rwandan genocide in the late 90s. The events of the Rwandan genocide can all be linked back to early colonialism and the Scramble for Africa. There are two major ethnic groups in Rwanda: the Tutsis and the Hutus. The Tutsis resembled the colonists in some ways and were a higher social status than the Hutus. After many years of this, the Hutus thought this was the last straw and called for an ethnic cleansing of the Tutsis. This message was spread over radios, newspapers, television – it was everywhere. In the end, over 800, 000 Tutsis were murdered at the hands of the Hutus. This genocide is an example of ultranationalism and what it can lead to. In fact, this whole conflict could have been avoided if nations did not pursue the idea of nationalism which led to colonization and the eventual deaths of millions of people. Both examples show why nationalism is an idea that should no longer be embraced in today’s world.
The concept of internationalism is most commonly expressed as an appreciation for the diverse cultures in the world and the desire to solve problems that face the world. The world is global village which came to be due to globalization. We are all connected to people across the globe whether we are aware of it or not. Nations accomplish much more when they embrace multilateralism on issues. Nations could also achieve national interests more efficiently and get to the top of Maslow’s hierachy faster when working together. There are a multitude of examples that prove that pursuing internationalism instead of nationalism is better for a country. The first one would be the United Nations. The United Nations strives to achieve global peace and security in the world. They also do other things like protect important historical sites on the earth. A country who is looking to achieve peace and security should look to the UN. They help create treaties and find solutions that will help avoid war or conflict. If a nation strives to achieve economic prosperity they should look to the World Trade Organization. It is an organization that does its best to break down trade barriers and create free trade. This improves relationships with nations and encourages positive relations which also helps keep peace and security. There are plenty of organizations like these that facilitate the participation of internationalism. In the modern world, it is important that we help humanity as a whole instead of just helping ourselves.
Although nationalism has many different definitions. It has proven to be malicious to those affected. It is a concept that causes destruction instead of uniting a nation. It is not possible to say nationalism is good and it benefits the world when far too many tragedies have been associated with the concept. As seen in the ultranationalistic views of Nazi Germany and the ethnic cleansing of the Tutsis in Rwanda, nationalism causes awful things to happen when it prevails. We should instead look to internationalism because nationalism creates contending loyalties and lets ultranationalism take over. As said by Albert Einstein,”Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”