Nationalism rose in Europe — and across the world — during the 19th century. This rise occurred primarily as a defensive mechanism against outside forces, such as invasion, colonization, imperialism, and so on. Nationalism helped unify countries and strengthen groups of people in order to avoid domination. Unfortunately, as the web series Crash Course World History demonstrates, this form of nationalism thrives on conflict, hence why ruling under such pressure promotes constant conflict and justification for the actions of nationalistic rulers. Social Darwinism — the prospect that winning in political, economic, or otherwise man-made conflicts makes a group the naturally dominant force — contributed to nationalistic advances within nations, ultimately becoming a motive for conflict from the World Wars to issues evident in today’s world.
While the video looks toward Japan as its main example of nationalism’s growth and dominance in a country, what is discussed can easily apply to studies of Western cultures, as the host readily admits that Germany would be the typical example for the rise of nationalism in general. Using Japan instead only enforces the fact that nationalism was felt as a unifying force across the world as opposed to just within Western society.
Here’s the video discussing nationalism:
Source: Crash Course. “Samurai, Daimyo, Matthew Perry, and Nationalism: Crash Course World History #34.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 13 Sept. 2012. Web. 6 April 2015.