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How did nationalism affect World War I?

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Quick Answer

Some scholars identify nationalism as a major trigger for World War I; the act of assassination against Archduke Ferdinand was an act of nationalist protest by Serbians who opposed Austrian presence in their lands. Austria declared war as a result of this action, kicking off the conflict that grew into the first World War. This nationalism is contrasted by the imperialism that was taking place at the hands of European nations such as Austria within Europe, including Serbia and the Balkans.

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Full Answer

Although World War I involved many more nations and included a variety of other conflicts than an fight between the Austrian government and Serbian nationals, ultimately, this was a war that was kicked off by the radical act of a Serbian nationalist. For example, the United States, Germany, France and Great Britain, including the British territories of Australia and Canada, were all involved with what started as a regional conflict between a nationalist group fighting against the occupying forces of an imperialist government. Arguably, though, nationalist sentiment in other European countries was an undercurrent of the war in general. For example, nationalist sentiment in Germany has been identified as a source of tension between that nation and other European countries, such as Great Britain.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did nationalism contribute to World War I?

    A:

    Nationalism led to arrogance among the citizens of various nations by promoting a sense that people of a particular country were superior to those of other nations and by giving people the impression that they could win any war thanks to their togetherness. Other factors that contributed to causing World War I include imperialism and militarism.

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  • Q:

    What were the effects of nationalism in World War I?

    A:

    Nationalism was one of the major factors in the outbreak of WWI, as nationalistic movements caused deeply rooted conflicts between countries. This lead to a number of alliances between countries designed to protect national interests. When Serbian nationalists in Sarajevo assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, it caused a chain reaction between various alliances that led to the start of the war.

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  • Q:

    Who was in World War I?

    A:

    The major combatants in World War I were the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire versus the Allied Forces of Great Britain, France, the United States, Russia, Italy and Japan. In addition, nearly 20 other countries and several colonies joined the conflict.

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  • Q:

    When was World War I?

    A:

    World War I was fought from July 28, 1914 to Nov. 11, 1918. The war ended with nearly 10 million dead and 20 million wounded. The German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires collapsed, leaving geopolitical divisions that remain as of 2014.

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