What do you mean by nationalism?
Nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries: between participation and aggression; Lecture to the discussion group History of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Bonn on January 24, 1994 / Dieter Langewiesche. - [Electronic ed.]. - Bonn, 1994. - 30 pp. = 65 Kb, text. - (History discussion group; 6). - ISBN 3-86077-270-8
Electronic ed .: Bonn: FES Library, 1999
© Friedrich Ebert Foundation
We Germans have a hard time with our nation. Some carry this term like a flag in front of them or even shout it to themselves. Many - especially on the left - forbid themselves to use it at all because they see the excessive fixation on the nation as a fundamental evil in German history of this century.
In order to ward off abuse, the need is often emphasized to develop a positive concept of nation that combines love for one's own nation with respect for the idiosyncrasies of other nations. In this sense, conceptually a positively understood patriotism is contrasted with a negatively drawn nationalism. It is obvious that such a pair of opposites can perform an important function in political pedagogy.
However, that such a contradiction does not correspond to the historical development, Professor Dr. Dieter Langewiesche from the University of Tübingen elaborated in a well-attended lecture that he gave on January 24, 1994 to the history discussion group of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Nationalism has at all times developed both participatory and aggressive elements - that is the most important thesis of this treaty, which calls into question many habits of thought.
How can such a historically developed thesis be further developed in political education work, how can it be implemented? If this thesis is correct, one should try in the current situation, if this can be influenced directly or indirectly at all, to strengthen the participatory elements of the nationalism thus understood and to push back the aggressive elements as far as possible. At the moment, however, there are still no models of thought and especially strategies that are absolutely necessary to develop. But this goes beyond the mandate and competence of the historian.
Precisely because this lecture shakes many of our common thought patterns, the public discussion of his theses beyond the discussion group on history makes sense and is necessary. The inquiries for this were particularly numerous and sometimes urgent. We are therefore presenting this lecture in print, in a somewhat expanded version, in the hope that it will find wide circulation.
Bonn, April 1994
Dr. Dieter Dowe
*[This is the text of the lecture, supplemented by the passages that were not presented due to lack of time. Only quotations are shown in the notes. The short selection bibliography names some further titles. The studies already cited in the notes are no longer mentioned in the bibliography.]
Nationalism is a creature of modernity. When the foundations of the old European world were shaken by the American and French Revolutions and then completely collapsed in the Napoleonic era, the idea of self-determination was not only part of the new ideal of democracy that has changed the world since then. Nationalism was also part of it. Because from the beginning people tried to realize their new demands in the housing of their own nation. Although the revolutionary ideals demanded universal validity, their central sphere of action was and remained the individual nation. There were always hopes for international solidarity, but the longing for a "spring of nations" was always shattered in the face of the superior power that emanated from the national models.
Politically, however, universalism took a back seat to nationalism. Rather, universalism was regularly reshaped and instrumentalized nationalistically. For wherever national politics were successfully charged with universalism, this served to justify the primacy of one's own nation openly or even veiled. This can already be seen in the revolutionary beginnings of modern nationalism - at the time when a violent revolutionary export from France sought to redeem other peoples from their old masters and old ideas in favor of the new democratic principles. This missionary work, with a universalist flag, but with a nationalist core when it comes specifically to the implementation of the
New ideals went, be it political, economic, cultural or even military - this missionary work, which had set the French Revolution in motion, it was repeated in a different form later in the age of imperialism, when national claims to world validity appeared in universalistic costumes, namely in the guise of cultural ones Superiority.
The new legitimacy of the modern nation, revolutionary in its origin, proved to be unrivaled in comparison to all other models of order, both traditional and future. Anyone who could not fit in with this compulsion to nationalize was lost. This also applies to the three supranational empires that tried to block themselves from the age of nationalism and its desire to participate: the Ottoman, the Habsburg and the Russian. The will for the nation and for the nation-state, inextricably linked with the demand for political and social democratization, weakened them in a slow process until they finally collapsed under the weight of the military failures of World War I.
The new colonial empires, which competed more successfully for the division of the world in the 19th century, were constructed differently than these older supranational empires. They were able to rely on the legitimacy of their nation - based on this their support in their own population and thus their assertiveness. The ruling center of the younger imperialist powers was a modern nation-state, and only as long as this nation-state was strong and could defend its colonial rule, only so long did the empire survive.
This also applies to the Soviet Union. It was more clearly committed than any other modern empire to a universalist ideology that assigned the nation state to the bourgeois-capitalist world with which it would perish. That communist internationalism, in spite of all anti-nationalist assertions, was also placed in the service of a single state has been obvious since the twenties. That he has the will to
It was only possible to suppress it, but not permanently replace it with another type of legitimacy - we have known that recently. The nation-state, it seems, is triumphant here too. And with it his ideology, nationalism.
In retrospect, the history of nationalism's impact is full of contradictions, but its broad lines are clearly recognizable: Originating in the late 18th century as an anti-class, egalitarian liberation ideology, nationalism completely changed the state and social order of Europe over the course of a century , reached worldwide in the wake of the imperialist campaigns of conquest and became a central component of the Europeanization of the world, but again shed its skin on the liberation ideology, de-legitimized the imperialist centers and thus helped to dissolve the colonial empires that he had previously helped create.
This varied, intertwined process of construction and destruction began in Europe. And here it seemed to have come to an end - to a hitherto unimaginably cruel end. In any case, many people understood World War II as the bloody end of the nationalist age. Nationalism and the old form of the nation-state, they believed, are politically and morally discredited and, moreover, militarily and economically outdated. Supranational orders should take their place. Europe again became the main field of experimentation for this. Because in the competition between the West and the East, it was always about who could replace the classic European nation-state with a new development model of universal validity - a future model that should not be less successful economically, culturally, and militarily, than its nationalist predecessor who no longer seemed capable of any sensible policy.
How this competition for the state-owned design of the future will end is open. One can say that without any hint of prognosis that historians are professionally incapable of: The
The outcome is open - contrary to all triumphant statements about the supposed final victory of the liberal social model or even about an end of history under the sign of this victory. The one supranational world of states has collapsed and with it the communist alternative to the traditional national state of European origin. But this collapse has also revealed that the West is pretty much empty-handed in terms of regulatory policy: some money and even more advice are offered, but no already functional supranational regulatory model that could be adopted as a democratic replacement for the compulsory form of the multinational Soviet empire, which has finally lapsed as a dam against its fearfully undesirable renationalization.
The European Union offers no counter-model to the rebirth of nationalism and the old-fashioned nation-state from the ruins of the Soviet world power. Although the EU has taken on numerous classic national competencies, it has so far not been able to displace the nation state as the primary regulatory power in the life of the individual citizen. The sciences that accompany this development process with their research agree that something new is emerging here, without a historical model, but they do not know what will become of it. You haven't even found a new term for this new - a sign of how open the development is.
Only one thing seems certain at the moment: the decline of the supranational Soviet empire made nationalism, which had long been believed dead, again become an absolutely superior creative force. To call this a mere renaissance of nationalism and the nation state, as one can read again and again, is probably not enough. After all, it is not just old nation-states whose national identity could obviously not be destroyed by the supranational Soviet coercive order and their universalist ideology. New nation states are also forming that never existed - earlier in the past, although they are now all based on the
Called history as a legitimation for their nation-state longings. Small and very small groups of the population who previously lived below the threshold of nationality are now discovering themselves as nations and demanding their own nation-state. The 19th century seems to be returning. And with it the strongest social and political force that it has produced: nationalism. And this not somewhere in a distant country of the so-called Third World, to which we are accustomed to also allow the wrong ways of the First World to be caught up, but in Europe - that is, where nationalism developed, developed its different types and finally in the the catastrophic history of the 20th century that he had triggered seemed to have finally perished. So it should be worth asking what roles nationalism has played in the past. I want to try that now. Of course, this can only be done with strict selection. But it is, in my opinion, appropriate, a central excerpt to which I direct my view: the area of tension between the two main poles between which nationalism has developed - participation and aggression.
In assigning these two poles to each other, I have made a central preliminary decision for everything else - a preliminary decision that I would like to draw your attention to: In the picture that I am creating, nationalism comprises both, releases both: participation and aggression. Even if, of course, in different doses in different societies and at different times. There have been and are developments, but they are not straightforward. And no state, no society has clearly participated in straightforward developments from one pole to the other. What is more important are the mixing ratios, the different and changing - this is crucial - the changing approaches to one or the other pole.
Understanding nationalism in this way means not describing it as the dark night side of the nation bathed in bright light. In other words, than it is often done - according to the pattern: nation and
nationalism is good, nationalism is bad, both terminologically strictly separated. Otto Dann recently used this simple equation as the basis for his book "Nation und Nationalismus in Deutschland" - unfortunately the only more recent overall presentation of the history of the German nation that we have. A nation, as he defines it, is "a society that forms a political community of will based on a common historical background. A nation sees itself as a community of solidarity, and it assumes the legal equality of its members. It is dependent on a basic consensus in its political culture. Nations are always oriented towards a certain territory, towards their fatherland. Their most important goal is the independent organization of their living conditions, political self-responsibility (sovereignty) within their territory, their own nation-state. " [Fn1: Otto Dann, Nation und Nationalismus in Deutschland 1770-1990, M nchen 1993, p.12.]
This definition is centered entirely on one pole of our consideration, on participation. The author assigns the other pole, aggression, to nationalism: "We mean by nationalism a political behavior that is not based on the conviction of the equality of all people and nations, that evaluates and treats foreign peoples and nations as inferior. Nationalism emerges as an ideology, as a social behavior and, since the 1880s, as an organized movement. " [Fn 2: Ibid. P. 17.]
So good and bad are clearly separated here. This information from the historian may have a calming effect on the individual and on society as a whole. Because it allows developments in the past and also in the present to be clearly classified. But reality is completely missed by such black and white images. One will have to work with nuances in order to be able to recognize the admixture of aggressiveness even in the emancipatory early phase of European nationalism, as well as the desire for participation even in the bloody nation
nalism that television shows us every day from the former Yugoslavia.
This demand to shed light on the entire span between participation and aggression in all phases and in all manifestations of national movements and national thought and not to conceptually split them up in advance - or perhaps I should better say: they don't conceptual to be broken down into light and dark - this requirement is by no means new. With Theodor Schieder, who, like hardly any other German historian, has dealt with European nationalism after 1945, is nationalism used as a neutral term. He sees it as a "specific integration ideology" [Fn 3: Theodor Schieder, Nationalism and the nation state. Studies on the national problem in modern Europe. Edited by Otto Dann and Hans-Ulrich Wehler, G ttingen 1991, 1992 2, p. 105.Similar formulations can be found in many places. ] is his formulation, which is always aimed at the nation and the nation-state, but itself can appear in very different ways.
In this definition as an ideology of integration, the external demarcation is included as a constitutive characteristic. This is important. Because nation building always takes place as a two-sided process: inward integration, outward demarcation. Both are ambiguous. The outer boundary also has an inside. It consists in welding the nation together as a community of participation and making it capable of acting. The nation recognizes itself in the counter-image, it creates an idea of itself. Self-image through counter-image, not infrequently increased to an enemy image.
But not only the view of the external border, also the will to integrate combines participation with aggression. Historically, the demand for integration has always meant denying full membership in the desired national community to those population groups who are not seen as willing to integrate, or even excluding them permanently if they are considered fundamentally incapable of integration. Nation building as
In historical terms, the integration process must not be narrowed down to participation.Rather, the difficult task of the historian is to see the other pole, the aggression inward as well, in all phases of historical development and to weigh its respective strength in the concrete historical situation. To speak with Reinhart Koselleck: The "flexible epithet 'national'" was semantically open, could be used on the left as well as on the right, but it was always "like a litmus paper" enabling a delineation and delimitation of an attitude test. [Fn 4: From Koselleck's contribution to the extensive article "Volk, Nation" (written by Fritz Gschnitzer, Karl Ferdinand Werner, Bernd Sch nemann and Reinhart Koselleck) in: Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historical lexicon on the political-social language in Germany. Edited by Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleck, Vol. 7, Stuttgart 1992, pp. 141-431, 398.]
That is how it was from the beginning and it has remained so to this day.
It is misleading to sharply delimit an exclusively emancipatory, still innocent national sentiment of the early days from a degenerate nationalism of later times. It is important to work out the changes, the temporary change from a left to a right fighting movement. But a specific mixture of participation and aggression characterizes the appeal to the nation as the ultimate value of social legitimacy at all times.
The rise of the nation to the highest judgment seat for demands for emancipation of any kind is one of the most astonishing developments that have fundamentally reshaped politics and society everywhere since the late 18th century. Whoever wanted to change something appealed to the nation. It was a judge's seat and not infrequently also a place of execution. It could only become this because it did not simply provide a new state-social structure to replace an old, worn-out one that was no longer up-to-date. Rather, the commitment to the nation was anchored in the worlds, models and behavioral norms of the people themselves.
This nationalization of values and ways of life accompanied the process of nation building and was by no means completed with the establishment of nation states. For not all members of a nation were caught up in this process of nationalization to the same extent and at the same time. But in the end hardly anyone could escape. The nation did not grant refuges to which dissenting members could permanently withdraw without being challenged. Because the nation emerged as a value system with a claim to absoluteness. Norbert Elias therefore praised nationalism as "one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful social belief system of the 19th and 20th centuries " [Fn 5: Norbert Elias, Studies about the Germans. Power struggles and habitus development in the 19th and 20th centuries, Frankfurt / M 1990 4, all quotations p. 194-197.] .
In a stimulating essay, Elias, the sociologist looking into history, called nationalism a "belief of an essentially secular nature". He counts it among the "doctrines of faith" which "under certain circumstances gain more and more power over their believers through an automatic process of mutual reinforcement." The "nationalist ethos" is based on a "feeling of solidarity and obligation" towards a "sovereign collective" that organizes itself as a state or intends to do so. The individual identifies with this collective, the nation, in that he seeks to shape the nation according to his own ideas and at the same time forms his self-image according to its image. The "nationalization of ethos and sentiments" [Footnote 6: Ibid. P.200.] As Elias calls this process, in which a national sense of togetherness arises - this nationalization of lifeworlds and behavioral norms took place in all societies that were caught up in the process of modernization in the 19th and 20th centuries.
According to these social-psychological considerations, nationalism always occurs when a society comes under pressure to modernize. Nationalism is therefore not a derailment
otherwise positive development, nationalism rather, according to Elias, "requires a considerable degree of democratization" - as he puts it. However, he adds, democratization "in the sociological, not the political sense of the word" [Footnote 7: Ibid. 196.] .
Society must have started to move, must break free from its traditions and its classifications. This is meant. Nationalism is therefore an ideology that legitimizes the disintegration and destruction of the traditional order and wants to put something new in its place - in terms of the claim that this new, a society with an egalitarian value system, constituted as a state with a collective, i.e. also egalitarian sovereign. That is the reason why nationalism has historically emerged as an ideology of liberation and has been able to work that way again and again to this day, despite all the nationalistic atrocities. Anyone who wanted to make a pact with nationalism had to accept this basic egalitarian attitude.
The Conservatives had to find out too. Conservatism and nationalism were originally opposing poles: persistence and movement. When they got closer to each other, partly merged, in the 19th century, both changed. By becoming nationalistic, conservatism was able to renew itself in a populist way and find a mass response that it had never had before as a traditional ideology. This, too, is an ambiguous process: nationalism, this ideology revolutionary in its origins and in its will to change, has modernized conservatism since the late 19th century and was at the same time usurped by it. That is the often invoked shift from left to right nationalism.
Usurpation of nationalism by conservatism and its nationalist modernization to populism - this reciprocal process produced what is probably the most serious change in the form of politics that Europe had experienced since the revolutions of the 18th century. The old conservatism was just as much a loser as liberalism. New, more agile
Forces exploited the social energies that this dynamic mixture of nationalism and populism unleashed. After the First World War it was mainly the fascist movements.
To dissolve this line of development of nationalism, which I have now drawn out in fast motion from the late 18th century to the period between the two world wars, to bring the ramifications, the secondary paths, the paths also laid out in history but not completed illuminate - the historian naturally feels obliged to weigh up and break open an all too closed overall picture. But now I don't want to pursue this favorite business of my trade. Rather, I would like to ask once more about the constants and only insert the deviating marginally. Because my aim here is to work out participation and aggression, the basic conditions of every nationalism, basic possibilities that we have to face when we grapple with the phenomenon of nationalism in our own presence in the two poles around which I group my considerations want - in their own country and in the perception of foreigners. It would be politically fatal, and it would mean leaving insights from historical and social-scientific analyzes unused if we wanted to reassure ourselves with the comfortable statement that Western Europe, that EU Europe has finally left the nationalism of a phase of degeneracy in European history, is definitely one of them returned to the emancipatory beginnings of the nation and on the way to combine this positive legacy of history with new supranational forms. In the Far East, on the other hand, and on other continents, nationalism has survived, has been living again in its degenerate variant since the collapse of the Soviet empire, and, in a sense, is showing us our own past.
Today we find this explanatory model for the problems of the present in many descriptions of the state and prospects for the future, also in scientific ones, but far more in political ones. who nationalism says, means the dark side. Who the bright counter-image
wants to shine as a role model and development goal, speaks of Nation, Fatherland, patriotism. The results of historical research, however, clearly - in my opinion, resist such a hopeful dichotomy. I want to explain my skeptical view to you by looking at the two poles of participation and aggression, two basic problems in all nation-building processes to date: the role of territory and then again the relationship to strangers.
Every nationalism strives for a nation-state in a certain territory. So far, competing claims of different nationalisms to one area have rarely been resolved peacefully. In the definition that I quoted at the beginning, the nation is self-sufficient limited to its own territory - no image of reality, also no ideal type condensing reality, but a definitional moral appeal. Because in reality it was very often different. The rule here was war if the dispute over the border took place between states, or violent conflict of other kinds if the rivals were not states. In the history of the development of European nation-states, the focus of conflict, territory, only played little or no role where an absolutist princely state was transformed into a nation-state. France is the best-known example of this. The external borders were fixed, at least by and large, if we disregard the smaller but certainly conflict-prone zones on the edge of the undisputed territory of the French nation. In his typology, Theodor Schieder speaks of the integrating nation state. [Fn 8: This typology runs through the entire essay volume (see note 3). His essay "Typology and manifestations of the nation state in Europe" (pp. 65-86) from 1966 and the article "Problems of Nationalism Research" (pp. 102-112) published in 1971 are central Expanded into the 20th century.]
The other two types that he distinguishes - the "unifying nation-state" and the "secessionist national
Country" [Fn 9: Ibid. 110 f.] -, on the other hand, were all war births. Because the territory of these states has always been contested.
Theodor Schieder understands his typology historically and genetically. In the first phase the integrating nation-state of Western Europe, then the unifying nation-state, primarily in Central Europe, and finally the secessionist nation-state, which dismantles the multinational empires: first the Ottoman and the Habsburgs, then the Russian. The dissolution of the imperialist colonial empires could also be included in this third phase.
I will not go further into the considerable problems that Scherer's development perspective raises. Just consider that the formation of the nation states around 1830 - the two successful ones: Belgium and Greece, as well as the unsuccessful one: Poland - consider that these foundations of states were already secessionist, so in Scherer's typology they should actually belong to the third phase. And the two nation-state formations that he sees as the second phase, i.e. the unifying phase, shaped: Italy and Germany, they combine unification and secession. If we were to look beyond Europe, to Latin America, we would have even greater difficulties with a development typology.
I won't go into that any further. It is important to me: Theodor Schierer's typology makes it clear that the majority of all nation-state formations, that is, types two and three, were all about territorial changes. This territorial principle, which is inherent in all nationalisms, has, with rare exceptions, consistently led to serious conflicts. State nations were just as unwilling to make concessions here as cultural or linguistic nations. This common distinction between the state nation as a community of will and the cultural or linguistic nation as a community of origin is quite illuminating for some questions, but not when it comes to the historical analysis of territorial political aggression. In this regard, both sides stood
tion types in nothing. Hardly any of the historical nationalisms succeeded in resolving territorial conflicts peacefully, regardless of which phase they belong to. To distinguish between good nationalism and bad nationalism would be blind to reality. All nation-states that arose in the 19th century up to World War I were born in war - all of them, with one exception: the Norwegian separation from Sweden.
Social science research confirms this sobering record of historical retrospect. In his wide-ranging comparative studies of contemporary ethnic radicalism, for example, Peter Waldmann counts territorial rivalries among the conditions that must exist for violent conflicts to break out from ethnic tensions. [Fn 10: Peter Waldmann, Violent Separatimus. Western European nationality conflicts in a comparative perspective, in: Heinrich August Winkler / Hartmut Kaelble (eds.), Nationalismus, Nationalit ten, Supranationalismus, Stuttgart 1993, pp. 82-107.]
In the goal of any nationalism to maintain or defend its own state, there is a potential for aggression, the explosiveness of which grows with the territorial conglomeration of population groups that see themselves as a nation. These territorial centers of conflict, not a 'good' national or 'degenerate' nationalistic attitude, have determined the course of historical nation-building processes. A quick look at Europe in the middle of the 19th century is enough to see that the bloody territorial struggles that were triggered by the collapse of the Soviet empire are in a tradition that goes back to phases of democratic awakening in Europe - phases that we therefore rightly like to remind people of their attempt to risk democracy. I mean the European revolutions of 1848.
At this peak of democratic creative drive in the 19th century, it was once again demonstrated what the numerous revolutions that shook the European continent before 1848 had already revealed
had: Those who demanded more freedom sought to realize it within the nation state. That is why national movements were always freedom movements at the same time, and vice versa. In the revolutions of 1848, however, it became obvious for the first time how close "Völkerfrühling" and "Völkerhaß" can be. The long-awaited departure for freedom of the peoples threatened to degenerate into a battle of nationalities against each other in 1848. For wherever there were mixed national areas or competing national claims to certain countries, the revolutionary nationalities were reluctant to accept territorial concessions. They did not give in because they wanted to keep peace among themselves, but because the old state authorities did not yet completely subordinate themselves to the new national legitimacy model. The old forces denied the national war for territories that many revolutionaries had hoped for. Democratization of state and society does not automatically lead to a balance between the nations - people were openly confronted with this unexpected experience for the first time in 1848.
This experience had already been hinted at in all the conflicts that raised emotions in the population in the national political competition for certain areas - a sign of the extent to which the process of nationalization of feelings had already progressed. Think, for example, of the struggles over the state separation of Belgium from the Netherlands or the national uproar in Germany and Denmark in the dispute over Schleswig and Holstein or the Rhine crisis of 1840 between France and Germany. These were harbingers of the struggles for national territories that began to reorganize the Habsburg Monarchy in national politics in 1848, triggered numerous, still limited, national wars after the middle of the century, and finally culminated in the First World War.
The multinational Habsburg Monarchy became the battlefield of nationalisms and at the same time a field of experimentation for new models of how to avoid the violent coercion of nation
and break up territory that could enable different nations to coexist in one area. The Austromarxist proposals to organize national groups in mixed situations as personal associations and not as territorial associations are probably the most innovative ideas that were devised here in the "experimental chamber of world history", as Victor Adler called the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. [Fn 11 Quoted from Hans Mommsen, Die Habsburgische Nationalit tenfrage and their attempted solutions in the light of the present, in: ibid. Pp. 108-122,109. ]
As is well known, these ideas were never realized - ideas on how to shed the territorial straitjacket that had hitherto been used by all nationalisms. On the contrary, in the twentieth century the nationalistic principle of territoriality was escalated to large-scale population shifts.I only remember the two Balkan Wars of 1912/13, when more than 800,000 people were forcibly relocated or driven wildly. Our time has finally invented a new term for these violent actions for the national homogenization of areas: ethnical purge. Certainly the violence of such a nationally legitimizing 'population policy' has increased, or at least it seems so, but a comparative balance sheet is still pending. But the principle of 'one state - one territory' was implanted as a leitmotif in all national movements from the very beginning. This principle, it should be emphasized once again, gave rise to almost all European nation-states since the early 19th century as creatures of martial violence. Only Norway and Iceland offer notable exceptions. It is to be hoped that at least some of the nation-states that have recently emerged from the collapsed Soviet empire will be able to maintain their existence without military force.
I emphasize once again: There was no historical line of development here from an innocent early phase of national thought to a later nationalistic degeneration. The willingness to use violence
in the struggle for the claimed territory does not have to decline with advancing democratization. Democracy can defuse territorial conflicts between nations. But according to history, this is not a fixed rule. The fact that democratic upheavals can also result in outbreaks of nationalist violence can be studied in the European revolutions of 1848 as well as in the national reorganizations after the First World War or in the current collapse of the Soviet empire. The same goes for dictatorships. You can stir up nationalist emotions and then turn them into violence politics. There are many historical examples. But we also find examples of dictatorships stopping national conflicts as long as they have the strength to suppress the wishes of their nations. If this refusal to participate falls, the blockade of aggression can also break.
The struggle for national territory is also a struggle for national homogeneity. That is the second problem area that I want to address as the last point: the relationship of a nation to strangers and thus also to itself.
A nation is constituted by self-images and counter-images. In the image of the stranger one gains an image of oneself. And vice versa: the image of the stranger is formed in the self-image. In this respect, every nationalism is always differentiated from what is foreign to the nation. This is largely undisputed in research, regardless of which approach it takes. Four examples:
In his conceptual historical view of German history, Reinhart Koselleck sums up the harsh historical fact that every commitment to the nation always includes exclusion as follows: "'Nation' has become a cultural concept of movement which, despite its universal ideals, has a hard and the exclusion criterion. " [Fn 12: As note 4, p. 387.] All exclusion criteria that have become effective in the 20th century, that
class-specific as well as race-political, are "long-term in the German semantics of the past century." [Fn 13: Ibid. 396 f.] "Exclusion rhetoric" and "civil war rhetoric" - his words - changed, but they were part of a long tradition of national semantics.
The cultural approach, which historians, literary scholars and sociologists have primarily been using for a number of years, also assumes that cultural identity is built up through the construction of cultural boundaries.
In Norbert Elias' socio-psychological interpretation pattern, the reverse side of the exclusion is emphasized: The - according to the author - "love for one's own nation [...] is always also the love for a collective that can be addressed as' we '. What whatever it is, it is also a form of self-love. " [Fn 14: Elias (see note 5), p. 197.]
And finally the English philosopher and anthropologist Ernest Gellner. In his stimulating-provocative book Nations and Nationalism he sees the nationalistic age characterized by, as he says, "social self-worship" and "collective self-worship" in the form of the nation. [Fn 15: Ernest Gellner, Nationalismus und Moderne, Berlin 1991, p. 88 (Nations and Nationalism, Oxford 1983).] For him, the nation is not a given, but a social construction in which the intellectuals are primarily involved. The nationalism they shape creates the nation, not the other way around. In his world history of nationalism, he sees its historical function in adapting society to the conditions of modernity. In place of the earlier complex, small-scale group relationships, there is an "anonymous, impersonal society made up of interchangeable, atomized individuals", held together above all else by a common culture. To enforce this new, de-localized culture is the task of nationalism. He homogenizes them
Society culturally, thereby delimit it from the outside and fix it on the nation state. Because only the state can maintain the highly differentiated, expensive education systems and enforce the commitment of the high culture they create. And only that N / Anational state guarantee his relatives that they alone have access to this new core of social power. Therefore, according to Gellner, the correspondence between culture and state became a "nationalistic imperative" [Footnote 16: Ibid. P.164.] . Anyone who attacks this identity destroys the security of life and the future of the people. Where culture and state do not coincide territorially, in that foreign cultures invade their own nation-state or survive there, this is perceived as a scandal under the dictates of the new nationalist imperative. The nation, no matter how fissured it may be internally, politically or socially, understands it to be a task of collective self-preservation. In Gellner's social anthropological theory of nationalism, the foreign must either be melted down, nationalized, or separated, expelled, driven out. I think that this bitter theory can claim a high degree of historical plausibility. And the present seems to be staged according to this theory.
If we, as historians, look at the individual national histories, then we will certainly have to insist that this distinction from what is foreign, inherent in all nationalisms, has taken on different forms, intolerable and more bearable. Nonetheless, it remains a hard fact: the nation as a community of participation has always created its identity by distinguishing it from what is perceived as alien.
In a Franco-German comparison, this has recently been vividly worked out, especially for the early days, for the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. [Fn 17: Michael Jeismann, The Fatherland of Enemies. Studies on the national self-image in Germany and France 1792-1918, Stuttgart 1992.] The differences between
France and Germany were great at constructing national images of others and of themselves. But everywhere the connection between participation and aggression was at the center of these constructions. John Bull, the symbolic figure of the English nation, also took on anti-French traits around 1800. [Fn 18: Jeannine Sorel, John Bull, in: Raphael Samuel (ed.). Patriotism: The Making and Unmaking of British National Identity, Vol. III: National Fictions, London 1989, pp. 3-25.]
In France, the self-image was universally open and forward-looking. The stranger was the opponent of the revolution - above all outside his own nation, but also inside. The idea of a German nation capable of acting internally and externally, on the other hand, was drawn primarily from images of the past and from opposition to France.
German national history shows how varied the role of the foreign could be. France was given the lead, no doubt. "Nothing good can come from France for other peoples. The French are a rennet that makes every other nationality curdle. And no foreign rule, not even the Turkish, is as devastating as the French." [Footnote 19: Quoted from Dieter Langewiesche, "... to work hard for people and fatherland ..." On the political and social role of gymnasts between 1811 and 1871, in: Ommo Grupe (ed. ), Cultural asset or body cult? Change in sport and sport science, T bingen 1990, pp. 22-61, 26.]
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn wrote this in 1832, when at least parts of the German national movement saw revolutionary France as a comrade-in-arms on the way to more democracy, not the "hereditary enemy".
When German elite nationalism expanded into mass nationalism in the first half of the 19th century, the internal opponents of nationalization moved more into the role of the foreigner. The Republican Democrats, in particular, turned their gaze inward, warning of a national cult of unity that threatened to whitewash domestic differences. "Participate
No national shouting, do not eat French people, avoid the commemorative celebrations of the so-called liberation period, do not join any political-religious associations, prefer to use the money that is asked of you for the restoration of the Middle Ages, for example, to buy and distribute good newspapers and books , Be selective about the public display of sympathy, do not bring toasts and torchlight procession, where the first cheers for political freedom are not raised, do not subscribe, do not illuminate, erect no monuments, [...] in short, withdraw your willingness, participation and support Anyone and anyone who does not start out from freedom and wants to go towards freedom does no work on the triumphal chariot of reaction. " [Fn 20: Karl Heinzen in: Deutsches B rgerbuch f r 1845, quoted by Wolfgang Kaschuba, Volk und Nation: Ethnocentrismus in Geschichte und Gegenwart, in: Winkler / Kaelble (as note 10), p. 65. ]
This German understanding of the nation, which, unlike the French, saw the foreign primarily in the forces of reaction, formulated by the democrat Karl Heinzen in the "German Citizens' Book" in 1845 - it did not prevail. However, this democrat was not alone. A year earlier, in 1844, Arnold Ruge had scoffed at the "hollow Rhine song enthusiasm" of German patriots and also criticized French patriotism, which called for the Rhine border. The "abolition of patriotism in humanism", not to fight the strangers, but the "opponents, wherever they are" - this is what rebuke demanded in his work "Patriotism". [Footnote 21: Arnold Ruge, Der Patriotimus. Edited by Peter Wende, Frankfurt / M 1968, p. 48 f.] He was indignant. Such ideas were not well received, in France as well as in Germany.
In Germany there were a lot of obstacles. In Germany, progress and the state were too closely linked, in spite of all state reaction measures, the federal consciousness and loyalty to the individual royal house too pronounced, the inner social consciousness
Opposites too sharp and the political goals too different. Nationalism took up what already existed. In Germany that meant: the traditional diversity of state and social order. Nationalism was strong enough to put these traditional orders under pressure to justify themselves and to force them on a course of nationalization. But in order to achieve his goal of winning his own nation-state, he had to make pacts with the old authorities. That was not a special case in Germany either. In Italy z. B. was the same.
It was a pact with the militarily most powerful individual state, Prussia in the German case, Piedmont-Sardinia in the Italian case, to enforce the nation-state in a double process of secession and unification - to enforce militarily, because this kind of nation-state establishment, which had to destroy, could be achieved in order to be able to unite, only through war.
Establishing a state through war hardens the image of the enemy, makes it clear. The role of the stranger has now been determined. In Germany and France, mutual enemy image constructions flourished after 1871. They were directed primarily outward, but not only. Above all, the young, as yet unsettled German nation-state and those who defined themselves as a national society - they also looked inward in search of enemies with whom they could consolidate their self-image. Catholics, socialists, Jews, Polish Prussians - the list of 'enemies of the Reich' was long. But it was precisely here that a lot changed. The integrative power of nationalism turned out to be strong enough to break down domestic barriers, albeit not all. They became particularly harsh, in some cases insurmountable, where the image of the foreigner in one's own national territory was colored ethnically and ultimately racially - especially in relation to the Poles and the Jews.
I will not pursue this line of development any further and only emphasize that this was not a special case in Germany either. Rather, the ethnicization of national conflicts remained subdued in Germany
Compared to the national mixed zones of Europe, which even after the dissolution of the multinational empires at the end of World War I did not find a solution to their desire for homogeneous nation states.
The tension between the image of self and the image of others, hardened under nationalism, played a central role in the process of nation-building. Nations grew together in long-term development processes. Economic, political and cultural ties of the most varied kinds were involved. Nationalism took on the task of an ideology of integration. He created the consciousness to belong together, to come from a common past, to have common opponents and to have common goals for the future. The community of the living with the dead and the still unborn, as Ernest Renan called it. But we should not ignore the fact that this nation-building very often, probably even in the vast majority of cases, culminated in wars - interstate wars and civil wars, wars of revolution. All explanatory models that understand nation building exclusively as the emergence of communication communities shy away from this bitter historical insight: the war with the alien inside and outside the territory claimed by the nation as the creator not only of nation states, but also of national identity.
I am not saying that it always has to be this way. Fortunately, history cannot be extrapolated, nor can the future history of nationalism. Between it and the past lies the political will of the present. But one should know the past history in order to be able to assess which forces nationalism unleashed earlier and possibly can also unleash again in its future history. However, it will only be possible to assess this if one refrains from constructing a two-part story in which light and dark, nation and Nationalism, neatly separated before us so that we
can use us safely. We should be certain of the great tasks that nationalism performed in the creation of the modern world. And which ones he continues to fulfill, whether you complain about it or not. But we can only recognize all sides of nationalism if we see it in its entirety. It includes both: participation and aggression.
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© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | October 1999
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