Nationalism Europe 1815-1848

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Explain the beginnings of the spread of nationalism in Europe from 1815 to 1848.

When the Great Powers (Britain, Prussia, Austria, Russia, and France) met in Vienna in 1815, they were attempting to establish a lasting peace and a balance of power in Europe. After ten years of revolution in France and sixteen years of Napoleonic Wars the representatives wanted to prevent any more upheaval. One of their solutions was a proposal to restore kings to their thrones ( a concept called "legitimacy") wherever possible, to redraw political boundaries to pre-Napoleonic days, to establish buffer zones around France, and to appoint the Prime Minister of Austria, Metternich, as the keeper of the peace. Despite the agreement of these politicians, however, there were groups of political activists in many countries, inspired by the American and French revolutions, inspired by Enlightenment philosophy, and inspired by the success of Napoleon's nationalist army, who were demanding their own independent nations. These included Hungarians who wanted independence from Austria, Greeks who wanted independence from the Ottoman empire, Germans who wanted to unify and become one country, Italians who wanted unification, and others (in France for example) who wanted to overthrow the monarchy and replace it with a democratic republic. Keeping all these groups under surveillance and control would prove to be more than Metternich could handle.

In the 1820's, a movement for independence in Greece became open warfare against the Ottoman Empire. This would be Metternich's first big test. If he sided with the Greeks it would weaken the Ottoman Empire and cause a power vacuum which would disrupt the balance of power. If he sided with the Ottomans it would reinforce their strength, but betray his fellow Europeans in Greece. Each of the Great Powers had to take a position, and they did not agree. Russia wanted to maintain good relations with the Ottomans so they could...
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