Q:

How did nationalism lead to imperialism?

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Quick Answer

Since nationalists believed that their country was better that all others, they wanted to expand it. Imperialism is the practice of maintaining colonies to benefit the mother country.

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Nationalists felt strong loyalty towards their country. They may have even believed that their leader had divine help to conquer all enemies. The people conquered by these nationalist colonists were often called "inferior" or "savages;" that way, leaders could justify taking their land and property.

By 1900, many major countries were competing with each other for colonies. The British Empire covered Canada, India, Australia, parts of Africa and even a small part of South America. The French had parts of Africa, along with Germany. Russia also held Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Finland, Georgia and parts of Asia. Since the rulers of each country thought they deserved to rule the whole world, military spending increased. The countries also made military alliances with each other. The competition for colonies with some countries and alliances with others contributed to the start of World War I in 1914.

Russia's annexation of the Crimea is a more recent example of nationalism and imperialism. However, most countries today are not imperialistic. People still feel nationalism and pride in their country, but they want economic success instead of expansion.

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Related Questions

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    How was imperialism justified?

    A:

    Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, imperialism was justified through the theory of Social Darwinism. This theory sought to apply the theory of biological Darwinism, as proposed by Charles Darwin in "Origin of Species," to human societies. Imperialists justified invading a foreign territory by citing the improvements their culture and innovation had on the occupied territory.

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    How did Napoleon affect Europe?

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    Napoleon's influence on Europe included the spread of nationalism, shifts in world power, major redrawing of political boundaries and the diffusion of Napoleonic ideas of governance. The political climate of Europe following Napoleon's downfall was very different than it had been prior to his rise to power. The political forces and ideologies resulting from the Napoleonic era influenced European politics in the following two centuries, contributing to the World Wars.

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    What is the goal of imperialism?

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    The goal of imperialism is to exercise economic and political control over a dependent territory. Such control is often accomplished through settlement, sovereignty or less direct methods.

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    What are the advantages and disadvantages of imperialism?

    A:

    Imperialism often provides economic benefits and enhances literacy rates, but it also often creates social and economic inequalities and may artificially divide previously peacefully co-existing segments of society. Imperialism is often driven by economic and political motives: nations seeking to grow and expand their economies overtake vulnerable areas where resources and labor are abundant and cheap. With this conquest comes the introduction of new systems of governance, new ideas, and often better education. Traditional customs and practices, however, are often lost and erased in light of the imposition of imperialist forms of government.

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