The power of Nationalism Nationalism is an ideology which is quite hard todefine it, because its definition and the factors are always changing duringthe time, situation and country.
But the basic definition of Nationalism is “Refersto the feeling of political unity or of identity and patriotic sympathy that apeople usually focuses on its own language or culture or on a land that itregards as its own. It also refers to that component of various politicalideologies according to which this feeling is held to be essential to theexistence of a state or to a political movement’s aspirations to statehood” (Bulliet) to simplify this term, Nationalism unifies andbonds people in one group based on sameness. But the mean of Nationalism forunification changed many time during the history: Language, religion, ethnicand state.
It is a powerful ideology because Nationalism can be easily mixed upwith other ideology and it has affected many nations and it also brings manytragic histories too. Nationalism first appeared at British PuritanRevolution, and it spread to the global. It brought many other historical bigevents in the world especially during 20 centuries. French Revolution andAmerican War of Independence were also affected by Nationalism. French peopleunified by 3 ideas: liberty, equality and philanthropy. Americans unified byState.
The Nationalism made them to bond and unify all citizens and it broughthuge power for changing their country or resist from foreign nations. If theydidn’t bond to each other by this notion, then they couldn’t come together as anation. This is an essential characteristic of Nationalism, also it is goodexample to show how nationalism affects people and country. However,Nationalism brings many side effects because it brings exclusive attitudes fromdifferent groups. Those exclusiveness made many victims in world historyespecially when it became extreme.Japan was a countrywhich used nationalism as an ideology with imperialism.
According to SakaiNaoki, after industrialization of Japan, they became a rapidly developed, andthe most powerful country in early 20 centuries in East Asia. However, at thattime, Imperialism and nationalism were big paradigm ideologies in the westernworld and it became big paradigm ideology in Japan. Then, those ideologies justify and encouragenations to invade other countries and colonize them. So eventually Japanattacked Korea, China and Philippines for making Greater East AsiaCo-Prosperity sphere.
Japan’s nationalism is combined with imperialism and it broughtmany hurtful histories in East Asia. (On Japanese Imperial Nationalism, 14.3/4 (2000))Japan followed western countries. Imperialism and Nationalismjustified their conquest and colonized other countries until Japan becameextreme. Japanese believed that their king is god, and Japanese are superiorethnic more than any other Asian people. This was a big reason how Japandreamed to conquer Asia, and started the war against America.
When extremenationalism is permeated to one society, that society’s notions are paralyzed,easy to instigate public and shows harsh actions. During World War II, Japan wasunited by ethnic and religion. But they became ultra-nationalists, andattempted many war-crimes: Nanjing Massacre, human experiment, comfort women. In world history, the 20 centuries were violent and cataclysmicera. Industrialized countries started to colonize other countries and theyjustified their actions by nationalism. Especially, Nazism and Passim gave hugebig changes and tragic especially in Europe. Hitler started to make the Germanempire based on pure Arian race, Mussolini tried to build Roman Empire again.German and Italian citizens believed that their actions were right and fair.
Without any critical sight, Nationalism can be easy to become extreme and it iseasier to instigate the public. Nationalism make that people be morepatriotic, but sometimes, it is paralyzing people’s notions and makes them todo wrong thing like German, Japan and any other country which colonized anyother country. Even though Nationalism gave hurtful history in theworld during 20 centuries, but still Nationalism strongly permeated with manycountries, especially Asia, Middle East, and Africa. After World War II, manycolonized countries greeted independence.
One similar thing in those countriesis that they choose nationalism as their ideology. Colonized countries havehatred to foreign power because they have history about invasion by foreigncountry, plundered, colonized and lost their country. So, they want to becomeindependent. In Middle East, Nationalism is easy to find andstrongly permeated. According to Altuntas and Nezaha, religion can be factor ofnationalism. In Middle East countries like Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria,Saudi-Arabia, sharing same religion culture even they have differentdenomination. Those countries are bonded strongly to deal with Western power inMiddle East.
(418-435) Islam has a unique feature compare with otherreligion: Many Muslims are nationalists because many of Islam countries aretheocracy. Their countries represent their religion, so attack of Islamcountries also means attack of Islam religion and Muslim’s belief. Besides, itis easy to become extreme when people are unified by religion. Terrorism inIslam countries maybe symptom of Ultra-Nationalism like Al-Qaeda, Hamas; thosegroups attempted many terrors. The appearance of those terrorist groups isbecause of foreign interference like Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and GulfWar.
Although Islam countries and cultures are showing that they have a strongnationalism ideology, but Islam countries have different denomination likeSunni and Shia, so they conflict each other and it blocks to unify all of Islamcountry and cause civil wars. During and after the 20 centuries, Asia countries werecolonized by Western Power. I guess because of that, we can find manynationalistic ideologies in Asia society. Especially China is the most powerfulUltra-nationalistic country in the world. According to Tang Wenfang andBenjamin Darr, China has identified many types of nationalism, such as ethnicnationalism, liberal nationalism, state nationalism, pragmatic nationalism,elite nationalism, mass nationalism. Ethnic is strongest factor of theirnationalism. China’s nationalism is mixed with Maxims. Their communistgovernment’s stability and legitimacy is increased because of nationalismideology.
China’s nationalism is using to sustain their communist governmentand to justify their legitimacy (811-826). For thousands of years, China controlled many nearcountries and sustained tribute-relationship with them. Chinese people have hada middle kingdom; China is only one kingdom in the world, and every other countryare barbarian, and nowadays, Many Chinese still think that China is powerful,greatest country in the world, and also China shows exclusive attitude indiplomatic relationship. China is a communist country, and for sustaining theirpolitical power, they keep encouraging nationalism because it helps to suppresspeople’s freedom and independence movement in Tibet or Xinjiang.
Last week, Americanambassador was attacked by Kim Gi Zong. It was really shocking thing to Koreaand United State both. After he stabbed ambassador, he claimed that South Koreaneed to stop the military training and pull out US forces from South Korea.Because of United States, we can’t unify with North Korea (Yonhap).
After KoreaWar, Korea divided by North and South. Actually, Korea already divided bySoviet Union and United States after de-colonization. Even though bothcountries had different ideology, they were one ethnic group, and also, theywere victims of Cold War, but after North Korea attacked South Korea, it ishard to claim North and South Korea should unify by one ethnic, which means,Nationalism has weakened after Korean War in South Korea’s society. Nevertheless,Nationalism is still great strategy for North Korea. They always assert oneslogan ‘among our ethnic’. Ultra-nationalists in South Korea think that we areUnited States colony and we can’t make United Korea until South Korea removes theUnited States from their territory. Nationalism gave powers in Korea afterde-colonization from Japan, but nowadays in South Korea, it brings conflictionsand chaos just like that terror: According to Yonhap, Police found few evidencefrom Kim Gi Zong’s house which he worshiped North Korea.
Of course, most peoplein South Korea disagree with him, and they really concern about damagingrelationship with America. Actually,Korea could exist because of United States because United States gave manyhelps to overcome hardships like become independent from Japan and Korea War.Now, Korea and United States are economically global partner and also militaryalliance. However North Korea uses nationalism to encouraging public opinionsabout Anti-Americanism.
Nationalism ideology have strong power especiallywhen it uses as a good mean. It helps to unify people for one objective, alsomake faithful citizens who love their country. However, if people lose theircontrol, Nationalism easily changed to Ultra-Nationalism, and it bringsexclusive, and extremeness in their society.
During the history Nationalism istwo edge swords; it brings different effects to stronger and weakercountries. For stronger countries, itjustified their actions even it’s not moral but for weaker, Nationalism givehope for independence for themselves. It is hard to define that Nationalism isgood or bad, but one thing I can say is that Nationalism without any control,it paralyzes your thinking and make you just follow public like puppet whatGermany did in Hitler’s government. So, people should take strict precautionwhen Nationalism permeated to their country.
People will whisper to you thatwhatever they are doing is for your great country, but, without any criticalsight, you might become one of the many puppets who are just following thepublic, which is already allured by madness.