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12 Elements of Nationalism Essay Sample

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12 Elements of Nationalism Essay Sample

            Nationalism is defined as “loyalty to an imagined community” (“Answers.com”).  It is called a imagined community because it is not necessarily a country that one is loyal to.  An imagined community does not necessarily involve all of the people in the same location.  There can be some, within the same geographic location, that do not feel loyalty to the community and government of their location.  Nationalism is felt within each person who is loyal to what they claim as their community, or nation.

            Nations begin, not as a country, but as a population of people who have the same goals and beliefs.  In order to form a nation, people must first start by living in the same location.   When people live together, in the same geographical location, they must find a way to live together.  If they have common values and beliefs, such as a common religion and culture, these commonalities give them a sense of togetherness.  As they grow together, from small communities to large nations, they begin to work together in order to be successful.  Power is in numbers; they will accomplish more if they work as one large group than if they break apart.

            Once a nation is created, in order to keep the people loyal, a common government and source of leadership has to be created and agreed upon.  With the creation of their government, they also must agree upon the economy of their nation.  The citizens must know their place in the economy so that everyone contributes to the needs of the nation.  If the citizens of this extended community do not agree upon the leadership, economic patters, and the government of their nation, then they will not feel the sense of belonging, or nationalism.

            When people form a nation, they have to have the same goals, hence they have to want the same things in their future.  The nation must know where they are going; they must know what they want for their future.  They have come from the same place, and have worked together to form their present; now they must work together to create their future.

            With common goals and beliefs, people within a nation should have a common enemy.  If one feels a sense of nationalism, then they will consider an enemy of their nation, an enemy of themselves.

            The twelve elements of a nation show that nations do not pull people together, but that people pull together to create a nation.  It is not a geographic location, or a government, that make people feel the sense of nationalism.  It is the common cultures, goals, and values, that bring people together and make them loyal to each other.

The Formation of the European Union

            In 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was created between France, West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (Eftimie).  This union was created in order to combine steel and coal resources (Eftimie).  One of the main goals of this union was to get France and Germany working together, since their relationship during World War II had been as enemies (Eftimie).  This union would eventually develop into the formal European Union (Eftimie).  The European Union was formally governed by three branches: European Commission as the executive branch, European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union (Eftimie).

            In 1957, members of the ECSC created the Treaty of Rome (“BBC News”).  This created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community Euratom, which planned to unify money systems and nuclear energy programs (“BBC News”).  In 1963, the French President, Charles de Gaulle, refused to allow Britain to join the EEC because he did not feel that their objectives were of a noble cause (“BBC News”).  They were, however, later able to join.

            In the early 1970s, the European Union grew with the admission of Britain (Eftimie).  The United Kingdom, Denmark, Greenland, and Ireland were also allowed to join but Greenland only remained a member for twelve years (Eftimie).  In the late 1970s, Portugal and Spain joined as well (Eftimie).  Greece applied for membership but was not able to join until 1981 (Eftimie).  Many more countries joined the union over the next several years; these countries are Austria, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus,   Romania, and Bulgaria  Romania and Bulgaria .

            The formation of the European Union, although a long time coming, has helped the continent of Europe work together as allies, instead of working against each other as competition.  This union, as long as it remains strong, hopefully will prevent any further world wars.  As long as Europeans work together, as Europeans, then they will not work against each other.

Demise of the Soviet Union

            In 1991, a nation which was once a super power, collapsed and became fifteen separate entities (Cold War Museum).  Much of the world was overjoyed to see the end of yet another totalitarian government (Cold War Museum).  It called for freedom, and end to communism (Cold War Museum).  It showed the world that democracy would always prevail and that capitalism was the way of the future (Cold War Museum).

            In a way, the Soviet Union was set up to fail.  When it became a communist state, there were many groups of people living there that were not of Russian descent  (Cold War Museum).  These people, those that did not relate to the beliefs of the new Communist leadership, never did give up their desire for freedom from it (Cold War Museum).  The Communist government, which began under the Bolsheviks and lasted through Lenin, and Stalin, did not allow for individuality of its people (Cold War Museum).  Instead, the government expected for its people to all have the same beliefs, goals, and values as the Communist regime did (Cold War Museum).  Holding  back individual freedom is something that can never last successfully.  Eventually, people will break free.

            When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader in 1985, he inherited a load of problems (Cold War Museum).  His nation was in disarray, stemming from government and financial problems, as well as the deep-seeded problems that this people felt for being emotionally imprisoned for many years (Cold War Museum).  He enacted policies to try to fix the problems of his nation, but they did not work; he only created a trail of citizens that did not approve of him or have faith in him as their leader (Cold War Museum).  The one thing that he did give them, which backfired, was freedom of speech (Cold War Museum).

            The groups of people who were not of Russian descent were the first to rebel against Gorbachev (Cold War Museum).  Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia were the first to want separation from the Soviet Union’s totalitarian regime (Cold War Museum).  He had given his people freedom of speech when trying to correct other problems, but he began to regret making that decision because he did not like what they had to say (Cold War Museum).  Once these three areas began to demand separation from the Soviet Union, it was like a domino effect (Cold War Museum).  Many more states insisted on seceding (Cold War Museum).

            The Communists within the Soviet Union fought hard to keep it together; they even tried to remove Gorbachev from his duties to see if they could rectify the situation in his place (Cold War Museum).  This attempt failed (Cold War Museum).  It only enraged the people of the Soviet Union and the military (Cold War Museum).

            After several failed attempts to keep the Soviet Union together, there was nothing the Communists could do.  The people had suffered years of oppression and they finally found a way to break free.  There was nothing that would stop them once they began to see that they all had the same goal, to bring down the Soviet Union.  Together, the succeeded in not forming a nation, but breaking one.

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