Chapter 1: The Rise of Nationalism in Europe

Facts that Matter

1.      During the nineteenth century, nationalism emerged as a force which brought about sweeping changes in the political and mental world of Europe and resulted in emergence of the nation-state.

2.      Frederic Sorrieu, a French artist, visualised his dream of a world made up of ‘democratic and social Republics’, and presented it to the world and promoted the spirit of nationalism.

3.      Ernst Renan, a French philosopher, gave the new definition of a nation.

4.      The first clear expression of nationalism came with the French Revolution in 1789 in France.

5.      The political and constitutional changes came to be seen. For example,

— Transfer of sovereignty from the monarchs to French citizens.

— A sense of collective identity amongst the French people was created through various measures and practices.

6.      Napoleon incorporated revolutionary principles in order to make the whole system more rational and efficient.

7.      The Civil Code of 1804 usually known as the Napoleonic Code was introduced. Simplification of administrative divisions, improvement in transport and communication systems, removal of guild restrictions, standardisation of weights and measures and

Introduction of common currency were major changes in the system. The right to property was also secured.

8.      But increased taxation, censorship, forced conscription into the French armies required to conquer the rest of Europe, outweighed the advantages of the administrative changes.

9.      Nationalism and the idea of the nation-state were achieved. Common things were regional divisions, ownership of estates and town-houses. Industrialisation began in France and parts of the German states during the nineteenth century. New social groups came into being: a working-class population, and middle classes (industrialists, businessmen, professionals).

10.  Slowly and steadily ideas of national unity among the educated, liberal middle classes gained popularity which led to the abolition of aristocratic privileges.

11.  The ideology of liberalism emerged which ended the state interference in the economic life of society. Freedom of markets was achieved and state-imposed restrictions on the movement of goods and capital were abolished. Napoleon’s administrative measures were altered.

12.  On 18 May 1848, in the Frankfurt Parliament, a constitution was drafted and freedom of the press and freedom of association were established.

13.  Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire and Belgium gained independence from the Netherlands.

14.  Giuseppe Mazzini formed Young Italy to establish a unitary Italian Republic.

15.  Liberal middle classes emerged with the demands for constitutionalism with national unification.

16.  In 1815, Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria collectively defeated Napoleon and to make a settlement the Treaty of Vienna of 1815 was signed. According to the provisions of this treaty, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power, France lost the territories it had annexed under Napoleon and a series of states were set up on the boundaries of France to prevent French expansion in future.

17.  Belgium was set up in the north and Genoa was added to Piedmont in the south. Prussia was given important new territories on its western frontiers, while Austria was given control of northern Italy. Russia was given part of Poland while Prussia was given a portion of Saxony.

18.  During the years following 1815, the fear of repression drove many liberal-nationalists underground.

19.  Secret societies sprang up in many European states to train revolutionaries and spread their ideas.

20.  The Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini became a member of the secret society of the Carbonari.

21.  He subsequently founded two more underground societies—Young Italy in Marseilles, and Young Europe in Berne. The members of these societies were like-minded young men from Poland, France, Italy and German States.

22.  The period between 1830–1848 is symbolised with the age of revolutions. Revolution started in several regions of Europe such as the Italian and German states, the provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Ireland and Poland. The first upheaval took place in France in July 1830. The Bourbon kings were now overthrown by liberal revolutionaries. Louis Philippe was made a constitutional monarch. Belgium got separated from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Greek war of independence started in 1821. Finally, the Treaty of Constantinople of 1832 recognised Greece as an independent nation.

23.  Culture played a vital role in creating the idea of the nation through art and poetry, stories and music. It helped to express and arouse nationalist feelings.

24.  The 1830s were years of great economic hardship in Europe. The first half of the nineteenth century saw an enormous increase in population all over Europe which gave rise to unemployment. Population from rural areas migrated to the cities to live in overcrowded slums.

25.  Small producers in towns were often faced with stiff competition from imports of cheap machine-made goods from England, where industrialisation was more advanced than on the continent. This was especially so in textile production, which was carried out mainly in homes or small workshops and was only partly mechanised.

26.  In those regions of Europe where the aristocracy still enjoyed power, peasants struggled under the burden of feudal dues and obligations.

27.  The rise of food prices or a year of bad harvest led to widespread pauperism in town and country.

28.  Food shortages and widespread unemployment brought the population of Paris out on the roads.

29.  As a result of all these developments, barricades were erected and Louis Philippe was forced to flee. A National Assembly proclaimed a republic, granted suffrage to all adult males above 21, and guaranteed the right to work.

30.  Cotton weaving was the most widespread occupation. Still the economic conditions of the workers were miserable. There were very less jobs and they were underpaid. In hope of a positive change, on 4 June, 1845, a large crowd of weavers revolted against their contractor demanding higher wages. But they were treated harshly and forcefully sent back homes.

31.  In the year 1848, a revolution led by the liberals (educated middle classes) also took place. They made demands for constitutionalism with national unification. In the German regions a large number of political associations came together in the city of Frankfurt and decided to vote for an all-German National Assembly. A Constitution for a German nation was drafted which was to be headed by monarchy subject to a Parliament.

32.  Germany was divided into many states. In 1848, the German confederation and Prussia began organising themselves into a German state.

33.  Three wars—Danish War, Austro-Prussian War and Franco-Prussian War—were fought which ended in Prussian victory and completed the process of unification of Germany in 1871. The Prussian King Kaiser William I was proclaimed German Emperor.

34.  Like Germany, Italy, too had a long history of political fragmentation. Italians were scattered over several dynastic states as well as the multi-national Habsburg Empire.

35.  During the middle of the nineteenth century, Italy was divided into seven states, of which only one, Sardinia-Piedmont, was ruled by an Italian princely house. The unification process was led by three revolutionaries—Giuseppe Mazzini, Count Camillo de Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

36.  Giuseppe Mazzini during the 1830s sought to put together a coherent programme for a unitary Italian Republic. He organised a new political society called Young Italy.

37.  The failure of revolutionary uprisings both in 1831 and 1848 meant that the responsibility now fell on Sardinia-Piedmont under its ruler King Victor Emmanuel II to unify the Italian states through war.

38.  Count de Cavour now led the movement to unify the regions of Italy. Through a tactful diplomatic alliance with France engineered by Cavour, Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in defeating the Austrian forces in 1859.

39.  Apart from regular troops, a large number of armed volunteers under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the fray. In 1860, they marched into South Italy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and succeeded in winning the support of the local peasants in order to drive out the Spanish rulers.

40.  In 1861, the process of the unification of Italy completed and Victor Emmanuel-II was proclaimed king of the United Italy.

41.  The history of nationalism in Britain was different from the rest of Europe. Before the eighteenth century there was no British nation. The people of different identities comprised of English, Welsh, Scot or Irish lived in the British Isles.

42.  The Act of Union of 1707 between England and Scotland resulted in the formation of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’. This led to the demolition of Scotland’s distinctive culture and political institutions. Ireland was forcibly included into the United Kingdom in 1801.

43.  This amalgamation led to the growth of a new, powerful nation—‘British nation’. The symbols of the new Britain—the British Flag (Union Jack), the national anthem (God Save Our Noble King), the English language—were actively promoted and the older nations survived only as subordinate partners in this union.

44.  Nationalist tensions emerged in the Balkans states. The Balkans consisted of regions of modern day Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro and their inhabitants were broadly known as Slavs. A large part of the Balkans was under the control of the Ottoman Empire.

45.  When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, it initiated nationalism in the Balkans states. Gradually, its European subject-nationalities broke away from its control and declared independence.

46.  In the race of expanding their territories and imposing their supremacy on each other, Slavic nationalities quickly got into severe clashes and the Balkan area became an area of intense conflict.

47.  It also became the scene of big power rivalry. This finally led to a series of wars in the region which culminated into the First World War that took place in 1914.


                                                                 Fig. 1.1 Nationalism in Europe

Words that Matter

1.      Nation-state: The region in which the majority of its citizens, and not only its rulers, came to develop a sense of common identity and shared history or descent.

2.      Plebiscite: A direct vote which gave power to the people of a region to accept or reject a proposal.

3.      Absolutist: A government or system of rule without restraints on the power exercised.

4.      Utopian: An imaginary ideal society which principally doesn’t exist.

5.      Suffrage: The right to vote.

6.      Conservatism: A political philosophy that stressed the importance of tradition, established institutions and customs, and preferred gradual development to quick change.

7.      Feminist: Awareness of women’s rights and interests based on the belief of the social, political and economic equality of genders.

8.      Ethnic: The people of different identities living together sharing common racial, tribal, or cultural origin or background.

9.      Allegory: Expression of idea or thought through a person or a thing.

10.  British nation: This amalgamation of different identities comprised of English, Welsh, Scot or Irish lived in the British Isles.


1. 1714: George-I became the king of Great Britain.

2. 1715: Louis XV became the king of France.

3. 1740-1748: The War of the Austrian Succession.

4. 1756-1763: The Seven Years War.

5. 1776: The American Declaration of Independence.

6. 1789: The French Revolution occurred.

7. 1797: Napoleon invaded Italy; Napoleonic wars began.

8. 1814: The First Treaty of Paris: established a lenient peace with France.

9. 1814-1815: Fall of Napoleon; the Vienna Peace Settlement; Napoleon escaped from Elba, gathered a new army, but was defeated at Waterloo.

10. 1821: Greek struggle for independence began.

11. 1832: Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire.

12. 1831: Giuseppe Mazzini established Young Italy.

13. 1859-1861: The unification of Italy.

14. 1849-1878: The reign of Victor Emmanuel-II of Piedmont-Sardinia.

15. 1852: Camillo Cavour became the premier of Sardinia-Piedmont.

16. 1859: Piedmont and France defeated Austria; Piedmont annexed Lombardy.

17. 1861: The Kingdom of Italy was announced; Victor Emmanuel-II of Piedmont- Sardinia became king of Italy.

18. 1870: After France declared war on Prussia, Italy annexed Rome.

19. 1866-1871: The unification of Germany.

20. 1861-1888: Reign of King William-I of Prussia.

21. 1867: Prussia created the North German Confederation.

22. 1870-1871: Franco-Prussian War.

23. 1871: The German Empire was formed; Germany annexed Alsace and Lorraine.

24. 1848: The Revolutions of 1848.

25. 1905: Slav nationalism gathered force in the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires.



1. What was the Napoleonic Code usually known as?

(a) The Napoleonic Code of 1808                              (b) The Civil Code of 1809

(c) The Civil Code of 1804                                         (d) Johann Gottfried Harder

2. Who was called ‘Bismarck of Italy’?

(a) Mazzini                                                                  (b) Garibaldi

(c) Cavour                                                                   (d) Johann Gottfried Herder

3. In the Frankfurt parliament, a constitution was drafted on which date?

(a) 8 May, 1848                                                           (b) 18 May, 1848

(c) 18 June, 1840                                                         (d) 11 August, 1848

4. In which year was Treaty of Vienna signed?

(a) 1811                                                                       (b) 1810

(c) 1815                                                                       (d) 1812

5. Unification of Germany took place between which period?

(a) 1860 to 1871                                                          (b) 1870 to 1871

(c) 1856 to 1871                                                          (d) 1866 to 1871

6. What was the significance of ‘Broken Chains’?

(a) Being freed                                                            (b) Heroism

(c) Readiness to fight                                                  (d) Willingness to make peace

7. What did Das Volk stand for?

(a) Democracy                                                             (b) Factory workers

(c) Common people                                                     (d) Slum dwellers

8. What does La patrie mean?

(a) The citizen                                                             (b) The motherland

(c) The fatherland                                                       (d) The country

9. What did Germania symbolise?

(a) French nation                                                         (b) German nation

(c) British nation                                                         (d) None of the above

10. Who was Frederic Sorrien?

(a) A French philosopher                                            (b) A French leader

(c) A French artist                                                       (d) A French cartoonist

11. What were the large landowners of Prussia known as?

(a) Kulaks                                                                    (b) Pykars

(c) Mahantas                                                               (d) Junkers

12. Name the artist who painted the image of Germania.

(a) Frederic Sorrien                                                     (b) Philip Veit

(c) Ernst Renan                                                           (d) None of the above

13. What does the German oak stand for?

(a) Heroism                                                                 (b) Potriotism

(c) Liberalism                                                              (d) Socialism

14. Who described Mazzini as ‘the most dangerous enemy of our social order’?

(a) Ernest Renan                                                         (b) Louis Philippe

(c) Napoleon Bonaparte                                              (d) Metternich

15. The weavers of Silesia led a revolt in 1845 against whom?

(a) Wealthy people                                                      (b) Contractors

(c) Social workers                                                       (d) Farmers

16. Young Italy, a secret society was formed by

(a) Mazzini                                                                  (b) Metternich

(c) Wilhelm Wolff                                                       (d) Bismarck


Ans. 1—(c) 2—(b) 3—(b) 4—(c) 5—(d) 6—(a) 7—(c) 8—(c) 9—(b) 10—(c) 11—(d) 12—(b)

13—(a) 14—(d) 15—(b) 16—(a)



1.      What was the major change that occurred in the political and constitutional scenario due to French Revolution in Europe?

2.      What did the French revolutionaries aim for?

3.      What was the significance of the treaty of Constantinople in Greek history?

4.      Name the group of countries that collectively defeated Napoleon.

5.      What did the conservatives want?

6.      What does the term ‘absolutist’ refer to?

7.      What is the national anthem of Britain?

8.      What was Zollverein?

9.      What do you know about young Italy?

10.  What did the German sword stand for?

11.  Name the countries which participated in the Vienna congress of 1815.

12.  What did the symbol of olive branch around the sword mean?

13.  Who was described as the ‘most dangerous enemy to our social order’ and by whom?

14.  Who hosted the congress of Vienna?

15.  Why were female allegories invented by the French artists?

16.  Who was Johann Gottfried Herder? What did he claim?

17.  Who was Ottoman Bismarck?

18.  What is a nation state?

19.  Name the three revolutionaries of Italy who led the unification of the country.

20.  What does a blind folded woman carrying a pair of weighing scales, symbolise?

21.  What did the ideas of La patrie and Le citoyen signify in the French Revolution?

22.  What was the main function of the Prussian Zollverein?

23.  Who was proclaimed the German Emperor after its unification?

24.  What do you know about the Act of Union, 1707?




1.      Describe the events of French Revolution which had influenced the people belonging to other parts of Europe.    (CBSE 2015)

2.      What role did Giuseppe Garibaldi play in the unification of Italy?

3.      The 1830s were years of great economic hardship in Europe. Explain.


Describe in brief the great economic hardships during the 1830s in Europe.             (CBSE 2010)

4.      Though conservative forces were able to suppress liberal movements in 1848, they could not restore the old order. How?

5.      Briefly write a note on the process of German unification.

6.      What were the Provisions of the Treaty of Vienna of 1815?


Describe in brief any four features of the Vienna Treaty of 1815.                 (CBSE 2009, 2011)

7.      In the areas conquered in Europe by Napoleon, explain the reactions of the local population to the French rule.

8.      Enumerate any three features of the conservative regimes set up in Europe following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815?     (CBSE 2011)

9.      Describe the impact of ‘The Revolution of the Liberals’ in 1848 in Europe.

10.  Who were the Grimm Brothers and how did they contribute to the rise of nationalism in Europe?


How did the Grimm Brothers contribute to the Nation building of Germany?

11.  What did Metternick mean to say when he remarked, ‘When France sneeze, the rest of Europe catches cold’?

12.  The Habsburg Empire was a patchwork of many different regions and peoples. Elucidate this statement.         (VIMP)

13.  Mention any three measures adopted by the French revolutionaries to create a sense of collective identity among the French People.         (CBSE 2013)




1.      Describe the process of unification of Germany.

2.      Describe the evolution and execution of the process of Italian unification.


Briefly trace the process of the unification of Italy.   [CBSE 2011, AI CBSE 2012, 2013]

3.      Give a brief description of the revolt led by the Silesian weavers in 1845.    (HOTS)

4.      “Napoleon had, no doubt, destroyed democracy in France, but in the administrative field he had incorporated revolutionary principles in order to make the whole system more rational and efficient.” Support the statement.     (AI CBSE 2012)


Explain any three features of Napoleon code.         (CBSE 2010)


Explain any four provisions of the Napoleon civil code, 1804.     (CBSE 2008, 2010, 2011)


Explain the revolutionary principles incorporated by Napoleon in the administration of France during his regime.      (CBSE, 2011)

5.      What did the concept of liberal nationalism politically emphasise during the 19th century Europe?     (CBSE 2010)

6.      Explain liberalism in political and economic fields prevailing in Europe in the 19th century.       (CBSE 2008, 2011)


“The most serious source of nationalist tension in Europe after 1871 was the area of Balkans”. Justify                     (CBSE 2008)


Why was Balkans after 1871 the most serious source of nationalist tension in Europe? Explain four reasons.    [CBSE 2008(F)]


“The Balkan issue was one of the major factors responsible for The First World War.” Explain by giving examples.                   (CBSE 2012)


7.      What is meant by Balkan? Why did it turn into perennial sources of tension and proved the battlefield of the First World War?           (CBSE 2012)

8.      Explain the role of languages in developing the nationalist sentiments in Europe.    (CBSE 2011)

9.      Give a brief account of political fragmentation of Italy.                                [CBSE 2008(C)]

10.  “The 1830s were years of great economic hardships in Europe”. Support the statement with four examples.          [CBSE 2012(F)]

11.  Giuseppe Mazzimi and the Chief Minister Cavour have played a major role in unification of Italy. Justify the statement.           [AI CBSE 2013(C)]


     V.            TEST YOUR SKILLS


1.      How did the artists of the 18th and 19th centuries visualise a nation? Illustrate with an example.

2.      What were the changes that came into existence after the English parliament took over in the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1688?

3.      Explain the term ‘liberal nationalism’. How did the growth of ‘liberalism’ help in promoting ‘economic nationalism’?

4.      Describe the stages of German unification.

5.      How did the United Kingdom of Great Britain come into being?

6.      How did Ireland suffer due to British dominance?

7.      Describe the events which led to disbanding the German assembly in 1848.

8.      How did women organise themselves to seek political equality and how far did they succeed?

9.      How and what led to the emergence of a new conservatism after 1815?

10.  Through a focus on any two countries, explain how nations developed over the 19th century.

11.  What were the factors that led to the rise of nationalism in Europe?