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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Nationalism Has Indeed Caused Wars

Palestinians during the surrender of the town of Ramle, in May 1948

I want to answer this Facebook comment by Diane Granger to my article Imagine No Heaven and Lots of War:
I disagree.Nationalism does not cause wars.Money and power cause wars.Those who profit from wars cause wars.Manipulate and blackmail the traitor politicians into wars.
Every war has generally many causes, but it's impossible to deny the evident historical truth that nationalism has been a predominant cause of war.

Right now I'm reading respected historian JM Roberts' History of the World where he describes events in the 1930s' Middle East:
Unfortunately, the Syrian situation soon also showed the disintegrating power of nationalism when the Kurdish people of north Syria revolted against the prospect of submergence in an Arab state.
This Kurdish example also shows that war is not necessarily to be considered as a negative occurrence, as Diane Granger seems to imply judging from the tone of her comment.

National wars, as well as religious wars, might sometimes have been justified.

But we are not entitled to our own facts, only to our own opinions. Among other obvious examples of factors provoking violent conflicts are Jewish and Arab nationalisms.

And Italian nationalism generated many wars of independence in the 19th century.

Besides, nationalism is not a preserve of "the people". What Diane lists, "Money and power ...Those who profit from wars... traitor politicians" may also have nationalist motivations.

One of the main causes of the First World War (if not the main) was Britain, then the greatest world power, not seeing favourably the economic and military ascent of Germany threatening the "sceptred isle"'s top position. That is nationalism too.

Just because one is attracted to nationalism shouldn't make one blind to reality.

Nationalism is and has been both good and bad, justified and excessive, opening people's eyes and sometimes closing them.


  1. Dear Enza,thank you for your response.Perhaps a better question would be what causes Nationalism?As to war I think it is always a negative occurrence.Was the Syrian example about Nationalism or culture?All wars should be avoided though I in part agree that often they are justified.Nationalism is often used as a cause when other factors are the catalysts for wars.How would one define the current war in Syria?It too could be looked upon from a Nationalist perspective when in
    fact it is far from it.Is Hamas fighting a Nationalist war?A war for the preservation of its people?
    The first World war had absolutely nothing to do with Nationalism as I understand it,though of course it is a often used as such.The British being duped into war and the seeds for the second world war sown from the first.Indeed Nationalists are mostly interested in their own peoples and do not look to expand or war with anyone else, we are social idealists.

    Whilst it is true traitor politicians could be Nationalist it is most unlikely.Cui bono ?is my question and the same thread can be found running through almost all wars. Given the trend today throughout Europe,the politicians being entirely unrepresentative of the majority of its peoples,Nationalist parties rising to the challenge.

    For my part Nationalism has opened my eyes wider than I thought possible,the expression of my love for my people,my culture and the fight to preserve and conserve them does not make me a warmonger,quite the opposite in fact.


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