German nationalism

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The Reichsadler ("imperial eagle") from the coat of arms of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany, dated 1304. The Reichsadler is the predecessor of the Bundesadler, the heraldic animal of today's national emblem of (Germany). Reichsadler Manesse.png
The Reichsadler ("imperial eagle") from the coat of arms of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany, dated 1304. The Reichsadler is the predecessor of the Bundesadler , the heraldic animal of today's national emblem of (Germany).

German nationalism is the nationalist idea that Germans are a nation, promotes the unity of Germans and German-speakers into a nation state, and emphasizes and takes pride in the national identity of Germans. The earliest origins of German nationalism began with the birth of romantic nationalism during the Napoleonic Wars when Pan-Germanism started to rise. Advocacy of a German nation-state began to become an important political force in response to the invasion of German territories by France under Napoleon.

Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.

Nation state Political term for a state that is based around a nation

A nation state is a state in which the great majority shares the same culture and is conscious of it. The nation state is an ideal in which cultural boundaries match up with political ones. According to one definition, "a nation state is a sovereign state of which most of its subjects are united also by factors which defined a nation such as language or common descent." It is a more precise concept than "country", since a country does not need to have a predominant ethnic group.

National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one state or to one nation. It is the sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, language and politics. National identity may refer to the subjective feeling one shares with a group of people about a nation, regardless of one's legal citizenship status. National identity is viewed in psychological terms as "an awareness of difference", a "feeling and recognition of 'we' and 'they'".


In the 19th century Germans debated the German Question over whether the German nation state should comprise a "Lesser Germany" that excluded Austria or a "Greater Germany" that included Austria. [1] The faction led by Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck succeeded in forging a Lesser Germany. [1]

German Question Mid-19th century debate about unification of Germany

"The German Question" was a debate in the 19th century, especially during the Revolutions of 1848, over the best way to achieve the unification of Germany. From 1815 to 1866, about 37 independent German-speaking states existed within the German Confederation. The Großdeutsche Lösung favored unifying all German-speaking peoples under one state, and was promoted by the Austrian Empire and its supporters. The Kleindeutsche Lösung sought only to unify the northern German states and did not include Austria; this proposal was favored by the Kingdom of Prussia.

The term Lesser Germany relates essentially to Germany without Austria. In the 19th century, a part of the Austrian Empire belonged to the German Confederation. In the revolutionary era of 1848-1850, it was discussed whether Austria or a part of Austria could belong to a new German federal state. In 1867-1871, the 'Lesser Germany' became reality: a federal state under leadership of Prussia and without Austria. After that, the term lost its significance because since then 'Germany' is usually identified as this Lesser Germany.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

Aggressive German nationalism and territorial expansion was a key factor leading to both World Wars. Prior to World War I, Germany had established a colonial empire in hopes of rivaling Britain and France. In the 1930s, the Nazis came to power and sought to create a Greater Germanic Reich, emphasizing ethnic German identity and German greatness to the exclusion of all others, eventually leading to the extermination of Jews, Poles, Romani, and other people deemed Untermenschen (subhumans) in the Holocaust during World War II.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

German colonial empire

The German colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, dependencies and territories of Imperial Germany. Unified in the early 1870's, the chancellor of this time period was Otto von Bismarck. Short-lived attempts of colonization by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but crucial colonial efforts only began in 1884 with the Scramble for Africa. Claiming much of the left-over colonies in the Scramble for Africa, Germany managed to build the third largest colonial empire after the British and French, at the time. Germany lost control when World War I began in 1914 and its colonies were seized by its enemies in the first weeks of the war. However some military units held out for a while longer: German South West Africa surrendered in 1915, Kamerun in 1916 and German East Africa at the end of the war, the defenders of which having been engaged in a guerrilla war with British and colonial forces, as well as the Portuguese. Germany's colonial empire was officially confiscated with the Treaty of Versailles after Germany's defeat in the war and the various units became League of Nations mandates under the supervision of one of the victorious powers. The German Colonial empire officially existed until 1919. Plans to regain their lost colonial possessions persisted through WW2, some people at the time suspecting that was the goal of the Third Reich all along. Despite not being around for a very long time, Germanys colonial ventures changed the places and people they came into contact with. The Germans participated in medicinal and scientific research in Africa, as well as attempting to build up an infrastructure there.

Nazi Party Fascist political party in Germany (1920-1945)

The National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920.

After the defeat of Nazi Germany, the country was divided into East and West Germany in the opening acts of the Cold War, and each state retained a sense of German identity and held reunification as a goal, albeit in different contexts. The creation of the European Union was in part an effort to harness German identity to a European identity. West Germany underwent its economic miracle following the war, which led to the creation of guest worker program; many of these workers ended up settling in Germany which has led to tensions around questions of national and cultural identity, especially with regard to Turks who settled in Germany.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

East Germany Former communist country, 1949-1990

East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic, was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", and the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.

West Germany Federal Republic of Germany in the years 1949–1990

West Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, and referred to by historians as the Bonn Republic, was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the western portion of Germany was part of the Western bloc during the Cold War. It was created during the Allied occupation of Germany in 1949 after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Its capital was the city of Bonn.

German reunification was achieved in 1990 following Die Wende ; an event that caused some alarm both inside and outside Germany. Germany has emerged as a power inside Europe and in the world; its role in the European debt crisis and in the European migrant crisis have led to criticism of German authoritarian abuse of its power, especially with regard to the Greek debt crisis, and raised questions within and without Germany as to Germany's role in the world.

German reunification process in 1990 in which East and West Germany once again became one country

The German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz (constitution) Article 23. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity, celebrated on 3 October. Following German reunification, Berlin was once again designated as the capital of united Germany.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Die Wende</i>

Die Wende is a German term that has come to signify the complete process of change from the rule of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and a centrally planned economy to the revival of parliamentary democracy and a market economy in the German Democratic Republic around 1989 and 1990. It encompasses several processes and events which later have become synonymous with the overall process. These processes and events are:

European debt crisis Multi-year debt crisis in multiple EU countries, since late 2009

The European debt crisis is a multi-year debt crisis that has been taking place in the European Union since the end of 2009. Several eurozone member states were unable to repay or refinance their government debt or to bail out over-indebted banks under their national supervision without the assistance of third parties like other eurozone countries, the European Central Bank (ECB), or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Due to post-1945 repudiation of the Nazi regime and its atrocities, German nationalism has been generally viewed in the country as taboo [2] and people within Germany have struggled to find ways to acknowledge its past but take pride in its past and present accomplishments; the German question has never been fully resolved in this regard. A wave of national pride swept the country when it hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Far-right parties that stress German national identity and pride have existed since the end of World War II but have never governed.

2006 FIFA World Cup 18th FIFA World Cup, held in Germany in 2006

The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in July 2000. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six populated continents participated in the qualification process which began in September 2003. Thirty-one teams qualified from this process, along with the host nation, Germany, for the finals tournament. It was the second time that Germany staged the competition, and the tenth time that it was held in Europe.

The far-right in Germany quickly re-organised itself after the fall of Nazi Germany and the dissolution of the Nazi Party in 1945. However, the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), founded in 1964 and the only neo-Nazi political party remaining, won their first state representations in the Saxony state election, 2004, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election, 2006 and the 2014 European Parliament election.


Defining a German nation

This map published in Zurich in 1548 defines "the German Nation" based on its traditions, customs and language. Germania Teutschland at eRara.jpg
This map published in Zürich in 1548 defines "the German Nation" based on its traditions, customs and language.

Defining a German nation based on internal characteristics presented difficulties. Since the start of the Reformation in the 16th century, the German lands had been divided between Catholics and Lutherans and linguistic diversity was large as well. Today, the Swabian, Bavarian, Saxon and Cologne dialects in their most pure forms are estimated to be 40% mutually intelligible with more modern Standard German, meaning that in a conversation between a native speaker of any of these dialects and a person who speaks only standard German, the latter will be able to understand slightly less than half of what is being said without any prior knowledge of the dialect, a situation which is likely to have been similar or greater in the 19th century. [4]

Nationalism among the Germans first developed not among the general populace but among the intellectual elites of various German states. The early German nationalist Friedrich Karl von Moser, writing in the mid 18th century, remarked that, compared with "the British, Swiss, Dutch and Swedes", the Germans lacked a "national way of thinking". [5] However, the cultural elites themselves faced difficulties in defining the German nation, often resorting to broad and vague concepts: the Germans as a "Sprachnation" (a people unified by the same language), a "Kulturnation" (a people unified by the same culture) or an "Erinnerungsgemeinschaft" (a community of remembrance, i.e. sharing a common history). [5] Johann Gottlieb Fichte  – considered the founding father of German nationalism [6]  – devoted the 4th of his Addresses to the German Nation (1808) to defining the German nation and did so in a very broad manner. In his view, there existed a dichotomy between the people of Germanic descent. There were those who had left their fatherland (which Fichte considered to be Germany) during the time of the Migration Period and had become either assimilated or heavily influenced by Roman language, culture and customs, and those who stayed in their native lands and continued to hold on to their own culture. [7]

Later German nationalists were able to define their nation more precisely, especially following the rise of Prussia and formation of the German Empire in 1871 which gave the majority of the German-speakers in Europe a common political, economic and educational framework. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, some German nationalist added elements of racial ideology, ultimately culminating in the Nuremberg Laws, sections of which sought to determine by law and genetics who was to be considered German. [8]

19th century

Johann Gottfried Herder, the founder of the concept of nationalism itself, although he did not support its program. Herder by Kugelgen.jpg
Johann Gottfried Herder, the founder of the concept of nationalism itself, although he did not support its program.

It was not until the concept of nationalism itself was developed by German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder that German nationalism began. [9] German nationalism was Romantic in nature and was based upon the principles of collective self-determination, territorial unification and cultural identity, and a political and cultural programme to achieve those ends. [10] The German Romantic nationalism derived from the Enlightenment era philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau's and French Revolutionary philosopher Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès' ideas of naturalism and that legitimate nations must have been conceived in the state of nature. This emphasis on the naturalness of ethno-linguistic nations continued to be upheld by the early-19th-century Romantic German nationalists Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Ernst Moritz Arndt, and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, who all were proponents of Pan-Germanism. [11]

The invasion of the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) by Napoleon's French Empire and its subsequent dissolution brought about a German liberal nationalism as advocated primarily by the German middle-class bourgeoisie who advocated the creation of a modern German nation-state based upon liberal democracy, constitutionalism, representation, and popular sovereignty while opposing absolutism. [12] Fichte in particular brought German nationalism forward as a response to the French occupation of German territories in his Addresses to the German Nation (1808), evoking a sense of German distinctiveness in language, tradition, and literature that composed a common identity. [13]

After the defeat of France in the Napoleonic Wars at the Congress of Vienna, German nationalists tried but failed to establish Germany as a nation-state, instead the German Confederation was created that was a loose collection of independent German states that lacked strong federal institutions. [12] Economic integration between the German states was achieved by the creation of the Zollverein ("Custom Union") of Germany in 1818 that existed until 1866. [12] The move to create the Zollverein was led by Prussia and the Zollverein was dominated by Prussia, causing resentment and tension between Austria and Prussia. [12]

Revolutions of 1848 to German Unification of 1871

Depiction of the session of the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848. Frankfurt Nationalversammlung 1848.jpg
Depiction of the session of the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848.
Germania, painting by Philipp Veit, 1848. Image Germania (painting).jpg
Germania, painting by Philipp Veit, 1848.

The Revolutions of 1848 led to revolution in various German states. [12] Nationalists did seize power in a number of German states and an all-German parliament was created in Frankfurt in May 1848. [12] The Frankfurt Parliament attempted to create a national constitution for all German states but rivalry between Prussian and Austrian interests resulted in proponents of the parliament advocating a "small German" solution (a monarchical German nation-state without Austria) with the imperial crown of Germany being granted to the King of Prussia. [12] The King of Prussia refused the offer and efforts to create a leftist German nation-state faltered and collapsed. [14]

In the aftermath of the failed attempt to establish a liberal German nation-state, rivalry between Prussia and Austria intensified under the agenda of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck who blocked all attempts by Austria to join the Zollverein. [1] A division developed among German nationalists, with one group led by the Prussians that supported a "Lesser Germany" that excluded Austria and another group that supported a "Greater Germany" that included Austria. [1] The Prussians sought a Lesser Germany to allow Prussia to assert hegemony over Germany that would not be guaranteed in a Greater Germany. [1] This was a major propaganda point later asserted by Hitler.

By the late 1850s German nationalists emphasized military solutions. The mood was fed by hatred of the French, a fear of Russia, a rejection of the 1815 Vienna settlement, and a cult of patriotic hero-warriors. War seemed to be a desirable means of speeding up change and progress. Nationalists thrilled to the image of the entire people in arms. Bismarck harnessed the national movement's martial pride and desire for unity and glory to weaken the political threat the liberal opposition posed to Prussia's conservatism. [15]

Prussia achieved hegemony over Germany in the "wars of unification": the Second Schleswig War (1864), the Austro-Prussian War (which effectively excluded Austria from Germany) (1866), and the Franco-Prussian War (1870). [1] A German nation-state was founded in 1871 called the German Empire as a Lesser Germany with the King of Prussia taking the throne of German Emperor (Deutscher Kaiser) and Bismarck becoming Chancellor of Germany. [1]

1871 to World War I, 1914–1918

Unlike the prior German nationalism of 1848 that was based upon liberal values, the German nationalism utilized by supporters of the German Empire was based upon Prussian authoritarianism, and was conservative, reactionary, anti-Catholic, anti-liberal and anti-socialist in nature. [16] The German Empire's supporters advocated a Germany based upon Prussian and Protestant cultural dominance. [17] This German nationalism focused on German identity based upon the historical crusading Teutonic Order. [18] These nationalists supported a German national identity claimed to be based on Bismarck's ideals that included Teutonic values of willpower, loyalty, honesty, and perseverance. [19]

The Catholic-Protestant divide in Germany at times created extreme tension and hostility between Catholic and Protestant Germans after 1871, such as in response to the policy of Kulturkampf in Prussia by German Chancellor and Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, that sought to dismantle Catholic culture in Prussia, that provoked outrage amongst Germany's Catholics and resulted in the rise of the pro-Catholic Centre Party and the Bavarian People's Party. [20]

There have been rival nationalists within Germany, particularly Bavarian nationalists who claim that the terms that Bavaria entered into Germany in 1871 were controversial and have claimed the German government has long intruded into the domestic affairs of Bavaria. [21]

German nationalists in the German Empire who advocated a Greater Germany during the Bismarck era focused on overcoming dissidence by Protestant Germans to the inclusion of Catholic Germans in the state by creating the Los von Rom! ("Away from Rome!") movement that advocated assimilation of Catholic Germans to Protestantism. [22] During the time of the German Empire, a third faction of German nationalists (especially in the Austrian parts of the Austria-Hungary Empire) advocated a strong desire for a Greater Germany but, unlike earlier concepts, led by Prussia instead of Austria; they were known as Alldeutsche .

Social Darwinism, messianism, and racialism began to become themes used by German nationalists after 1871 based on the concepts of a people's community ( Volksgemeinschaft ). [23]

Colonial empire

An important element of German nationalism as promoted by the government and intellectual elite was the emphasis on Germany asserting itself as a world economic and military power, aimed at competing with France and the British Empire for world power. German colonial rule in Africa 1884–1914 was an expression of nationalism and moral superiority that was justified by constructing employing an image of the natives as "Other". This approach highlighted racist views of mankind. German colonization was characterized by the use of repressive violence in the name of ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’, concepts that had their origins in the Enlightenment. Germany's cultural-missionary project boasted that its colonial programs were humanitarian and educational endeavors. Furthermore, the wide acceptance among intellectuals of social Darwinism justified Germany's right to acquire colonial territories as a matter of the ‘survival of the fittest’, according to historian Michael Schubert. [24] [25]

Interwar period, 1918–1933

Germany after the Treaty of Versailles:
Administered by the League of Nations
Annexed or transferred to neighboring countries by the treaty, or later via plebiscite and League of Nation action
Weimar Germany German losses after WWI.svg
Germany after the Treaty of Versailles:
  Administered by the League of Nations
  Annexed or transferred to neighboring countries by the treaty, or later via plebiscite and League of Nation action

The government established after WWI, the Weimar republic, established a law of nationality that was based on pre-unification notions of the German volk as an ethno-racial group defined more by heredity than modern notions of citizenship; the laws were intended to include Germans who had immigrated and to exclude immigrant groups. These laws remained the basis of German citizenship laws until after reunification. [26]

The government and economy of the Weimar republic was weak; Germans were dissatisfied with the government, the punitive conditions of war reparations and territorial losses of the Treaty of Versailles as well as the effects of hyperinflation. [2] [2] Economic, social, and political cleavages fragmented Germany's society. [2] Eventually the Weimar Republic collapsed under these pressures and the political maneuverings of leading German officials and politicians. [2]

Nazi Germany, 1933–1945

Boundaries of the planned "Greater Germanic Reich" Greater Germanic Reich.png
Boundaries of the planned "Greater Germanic Reich"

The Nazi Party (NSDAP), led by Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, believed in an extreme form of German nationalism. The first point of the Nazi 25-point programme was that "We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination". Hitler, an Austrian-German by birth, began to develop his strong patriotic German nationalist views from a very young age. He was greatly influenced by many other Austrian pan-German nationalists in Austria-Hungary, notably Georg Ritter von Schönerer and Karl Lueger. Hitler's pan-German ideas envisioned a Greater German Reich which was to include the Austrian Germans, Sudeten Germans and other ethnic Germans. The annexing of Austria (Anschluss) and the Sudetenland (annexing of Sudetenland) completed Nazi Germany's desire to the German nationalism of the German Volksdeutsche (people/folk).

1945 to the present

After WWII, the German nation was divided in two states, West Germany and East Germany, and some former German territories east of the Oder–Neisse line were made part of Poland. The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany which served as the constitution for West Germany was conceived and written as a provisional document, with the hope of reuniting East and West Germany in mind. [26]

The formation of the European Economic Community, and latterly the European Union, was driven in part by forces inside and outside Germany that sought to embed Germany identity more deeply in a broader European identity, in a kind of "collaborative nationalism". [27] :32 [28]

The reunification of Germany became a central theme in West German politics, and was made a central tenet of the East German Socialist Unity Party of Germany, albeit in the context of a Marxist vision of history in which the government of West Germany would be swept away in a proletarian revolution. [26]

The question of Germans and former German territory in Poland, as well as the status of Königsberg as part of Russia, remained hard, with people in West Germany advocating to take that territory back through the 1960s. [26] East Germany confirmed the border with Poland in 1950, while West Germany, after a period of refusal, finally accepted the border (with reservations) in 1970. [29]

The desire of the German people to be one nation again remained strong, but was accompanied by a feeling of hopelessness through the 1970s and into the 1980s; Die Wende, when it arrived in the late 1980s driven by the East German people, came as a surprise, leading to the 1990 elections which put a government in place that negotiated the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany and reunited East and West Germany, and the process of inner reunification began. [26]

The reunification was opposed in several quarters both inside and outside Germany, including Margaret Thatcher, Jürgen Habermas, and Günter Grass, out of fear of that a united Germany might resume its aggression toward other countries. Just prior to reunification West Germany had gone through a national debate, called Historikerstreit, over how to regard its Nazi past, with one side claiming that there was nothing specifically German about Nazism, and that the German people should let go its shame over the past and look forward, proud of its national identity, and others holding that Nazism grew out of German identity and the nation needed to remain responsible for its past and guard carefully against any recrudescence of Nazism. This debate did not give comfort to those concerned about whether a reunited Germany might be a danger to other countries, nor did the rise of skinhead neo-nazi groups in the former East Germany, as exemplified by riots in Hoyerswerda in 1991. [26] [30] An identity-based nationalist backlash arose after unification as people reached backward to answer "the German question", leading to violence by four Neo-Nazi/far-right parties which were all banned by Germany's Federal Constitutional Court after committing or inciting violence: the Nationalist Front, National Offensive, German Alternative, and the Kamaradenbund. [27] :44

One of the key questions for the reunified government, was how to define a German citizen. The laws inherited from the Weimar republic that based citizenship on heredity had been taken to their extreme by the Nazis and were unpalatable and fed the ideology of German far-right nationalist parties like the National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP) which was founded in 1964 from other far-right groups. [31] [32] Additionally, West Germany had received large numbers of immigrants (especially Turks), membership in the European Union meant that people could move more or less freely across national borders within Europe, and due to its declining birthrate even united Germany needed to receive about 300,000 immigrants per year in order to maintain its workforce. [26] (Germany had been importing workers ever since its post-war "economic miracle" through its Gastarbeiter program. [33] ) The Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union government that was elected throughout the 1990s did not change the laws, but around 2000 a new coalition led by the Social Democratic Party of Germany came to power and made changes to the law defining who was a German based on jus soli rather than jus sanguinis . [26]

The issue of how to address its Turkish population has remained a difficult issue in Germany; many Turks have not integrated and have formed a parallel society inside Germany, and issues of using education or legal penalties to drive integration have roiled Germany from time to time, and issues of what a "German" is, accompany debates about "the Turkish question". [34] [35] [36] [37]

Pride in being German remained a difficult issue; one of the surprises of the 2006 FIFA World Cup which was held in Germany, were widespread displays of national pride by Germans, which seemed to take even the Germans themselves by surprise and cautious delight. [38] [39]

Germany's role in managing the European debt crisis, especially with regard to the Greek government-debt crisis, led to criticism from some quarters, especially within Greece, of Germany wielding its power in a harsh and authoritarian way that was reminiscent of its authoritarian past and identity. [40] [41] [42]

Tensions over the European debt crisis and the European migrant crisis and the rise of right-wing populism sharpened questions of German identity around 2010. The Alternative for Germany party was created in 2013 as a backlash against further European integration and bailouts of other countries during the European debt crisis; from its founding to 2017 the party took on nationalist and populist stances, rejecting German guilt over the Nazi era and calling for Germans to take pride in their history and accomplishments. [43] [44] [45] In the 2014 European Parliament election, the NDP won their first ever seat in the European Parliament. [46]

German nationalism in Austria

After the Revolutions of 1848/49, in which the liberal nationalistic revolutionaries advocated the Greater German solution, the Austrian defeat in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) with the effect that Austria was now excluded from Germany, and increasing ethnic conflicts in the Habsburg Monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a German national movement evolved in Austria. Led by the radical German nationalist and anti-semite Georg von Schönerer, organisations like the Pan-German Society demanded the link-up of all German-speaking territories of the Danube Monarchy to the German Empire, and decidedly rejected Austrian patriotism. [47] Schönerer's völkisch and racist German nationalism was an inspiration to Hitler's ideology. [48] In 1933, Austrian Nazis and the national-liberal Greater German People's Party formed an action group, fighting together against the Austrofascist regime which imposed a distinct Austrian national identity. [49] Whilst it violated the Treaty of Versailles terms, Hitler, a native of Austria, unified the two German states together "(Anschluss)" in 1938. This meant the historic aim of Austria's German nationalists was achieved and a Greater German Reich briefly existed until the end of the war. [50] After 1945, the German national camp was revived in the Federation of Independents and the Freedom Party of Austria. [51]

In addition to a form of nationalism in Austria that looked toward Germany, there have also been forms of Austrian nationalism that rejected unification of Austria with Germany on the basis of preserving Austrians' Catholic religious identity from the potential danger posed by being part of a Protestant-majority Germany, as well as their different historical heritage regarding their mainly Celtic, Slavic, Avar, Rhaethian and Roman origin prior to the colonization of the Bavarii. [52] [53] [54]


Nationalist political parties


In Germany
In Austria
In Switzerland


In Germany
In Austria
In Austria-Hungary
In Czechoslovakia
In Liechtenstein
In Luxembourg
In Poland
In Romania
In Slovakia
In Switzerland

See also

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German <i>Reich</i> official name for the German nation state from 1871 to 1945, and name of Germany until 1949

Deutsches Reich was the official name in the German language for the German nation state that existed from 1871 to 1945. The Reich became understood as deriving its authority and sovereignty entirely from a continuing unitary German 'national people'; with that authority and sovereignty being exercised at any one time over a unitary German 'state territory' with variable boundaries and extent. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not in itself have monarchical connotations. The word Kaiserreich is applied to denote an empire with an emperor; hence the German Empire of 1871–1918 is termed Deutsches Kaiserreich in standard works of reference. From 1943 to 1945, the official name of Germany became – but was not formally proclaimed – Großdeutsches Reich on account of the further German peoples and associated territories annexed into the state's administration during and before the Second World War.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Drang nach Osten</i> Nazi Eastward expansionism

Drang nach Osten was a term coined in the 19th century to designate German expansion into Slavic lands. The term became a motto of the German nationalist movement in the late 19th century. In some historical discourse, Drang nach Osten combines historical German settlement in Central and Eastern Europe, medieval (12th-13th-century) military expeditions like those of the Teutonic Knights, and Germanisation policies and warfare of modern German states such as those reflecting the Nazi Lebensraum concept.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Georg Ritter von Schönerer Austrian politician

Georg Ritter von Schönerer was an Austrian landowner and politician of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A major exponent of pan-Germanism and German nationalism in Austria as well as a radical opponent of political Catholicism and a fierce antisemite, his agitation exerted much influence on the young Adolf Hitler. Schönerer was known for a generation to be the most radical pan-German nationalist in Austria.

Unification of Germany Creation of a politically and administratively integrated nation state of German-speaking populations in 1871, in the form of the German Empire

The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Princes of the German states, excluding Austria, gathered there to proclaim William I of Prussia as German Emperor after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the de facto transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states had been developing for some time through alliances formal and informal between princely rulers, but in fits and starts. The self-interests of the various parties hampered the process over nearly a century of autocratic experimentation, beginning in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, which prompted the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and the subsequent rise of German nationalism.

The Greater German People's Party was a German nationalist and national liberal political party during the First Republic of Austria, established in 1920.

Territorial evolution of Germany

The territorial changes of Germany include all changes in the borders and territory of Germany from its formation in 1871 to the present. Modern Germany was formed in 1871 when Otto von Bismarck unified most of the German states, with the notable exception of Austria, into the German Empire. After the First World War, Germany lost about 10% of its territory to its neighbours and the Weimar Republic was formed. This republic included territories to the east of today's German borders.

Rise of nationalism in Europe

Nationalism is the basis for the development of the modern nation-state. According to Leon- Baradat, nationalism "calls on people to identify with the interests of their national group and to support the creation of a state - a nation-state - to support those interests." It was an important factor in the development of Europe. In the 19th century, a wave of romantic nationalism swept the European continent, transforming its countries. Some newly formed countries, such as Germany and Italy were formed by uniting various regional states with a common "national identity". Others, such as Greece, Serbia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, were formed by uprisings against the Ottoman Empire and Russia. Nationalism was the ideological impetus that, over the century, transformed Europe. Rule by monarchies and foreign control of territory was replaced by self-determination and newly formed national governments.

Austria–Germany relations Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany

Relations between Austria and Germany are close, due to their shared history and language, with German being the official language and Germans being the largest ethnic group of both countries.

<i>Anschluss</i> annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938

Anschluss refers to the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938. The word's German spelling, until the German orthography reform of 1996, was Anschluß and it was also known as the Anschluss Österreichs.

Volk German word

The German noun Volk translates to people, both uncountable in the sense of people as in a crowd, and countable in the sense of a people as in an ethnic group or nation.

National Socialism, more commonly known as Nazism, is the ideology and practices associated with the Nazi Party – officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party – in Nazi Germany, and of other far-right groups with similar aims.

German nationalism in Austria political ideology

German nationalism is a political ideology and historical current in Austrian politics. It arose in the 19th century as a nationalist movement amongst the German-speaking population of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It favours close ties with Germany, which it views as the nation-state for all ethnic Germans, and the possibility of the incorporation of Austria into a Greater Germany.

Austrian nationalism

Austrian nationalism is the nationalism that asserts that Austrians are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Austrians. Austrian nationalism originally developed as a cultural nationalism that emphasized a Catholic religious identity. This in turn led to its opposition to unification with Protestant-majority Germany, something that was perceived as a potential threat to the Catholic core of Austrian national identity.

Bavarian nationalism

Bavarian nationalism is a point of view that asserts that Bavarians are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Bavarians. It has been a strong phenomenon since the incorporation of Bavaria into the state of Germany in 1871. Bavarian nationalists find the terms that Bavaria entered into Germany in 1871 to be controversial and claimed that the German government has long intruded on the desired autonomy of Bavaria, and calls have been made for independence of Bavaria. After the defeat of Germany in World War I, Bavarian nationalism grew in strength, becoming popular amongst both revolutionary and reactionary political movements. Following the collapse of Austria-Hungary after World War I, proposals for Austria to join Bavaria were made. At this time the Bavarian government held particular interest in incorporating the regions of North Tyrol and Upper Austria into Bavaria. This was a serious issue in the aftermath of World War I with significant numbers of Austria's North Tyrolese declaring their intention to have North Tyrol join Bavaria.


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Further reading

El-Tayeb,Fatome. " 'If You Can't Pronounce My Name, You Can Just Call Me Pride': Afro-German Activism, Gender and Hip Hop" (Gender and History, Vol. 15 No. 3, November 2003)