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Q5. How did the rise of extreme nationalism contribute to imperialistic expansions?


the later part of 19th century was a period of intense nationalism. Germany and Italy had just succeeded in becoming unified nations. Nationalism in the late 19th century came to be associated with chauvinism.

Nationalist intellectuals in all European powers argued that national greatness meant seizing colonial territory.

Once the scramble for colonies began, failure to enter the race was perceived as a sign of weakness, totally unacceptable to an aspiring great power. Many nations developed myth of their superiority over other people. Each country felt that she too must have colonies to increase her own prestige and power

Writers and speakers in England, France and Germany promoted the idea of imperialism and took great pride in calling their territories as “empires”

Germany’s expansion under Hitler was also based on the belief that German national culture was inherently superior than others. by the end of the 19th century colonialism like nationalism developed into a mass cult. Colonies were symbols of national greatness and nationalists of every economic class were proud of them.

Soviet union’s policy to ‘liberate’ the peoples of Eastern Europe and the Third World, and USA’s “protecting Freedom” are also examples of imperialism driven by moral and ideological concerns.

Initially, colonies were acquired to get cheap raw material and market to sell finished products but then Imperialist countries started acquiring places for their military or strategic importance also. For example, England established naval bases and coaling stations at Port Said, Aden, Hong Kong, Singapore and Cyprus – not to protect England but to protect its conquered lands and trade routes to India from her rival nations. The rival nations installed similar bases elsewhere to protect their colonies and trade routes from England. Thus, if you acquired one colony, you had to acquire other colonies to protect the first colony => leading to a chain reaction and race for grabbing more and more colonies.

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