Nationalism and Imperialism
Nationalism no longer retained its idealistic liberal-democratic sentiment of the first half of the century, but became a narrow creed with limited ends, by the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The major European powers, in turn, manipulated the nationalist aspirations of the subject peoples in Europe to further their own imperialist aims. The area called the Balkans was the most serious source of nationalist tension in Europe after 1871.
The Balkans, the modern-day Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro, whose inhabitants were broadly known as the Slavs, was a region of geographical and ethnic variation.
Ottoman Empire had a large part of the Balkans under its control. The disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the spread of the ideas of romantic nationalism in the Balkans together made this region very explosive. The Ottoman Empire had sought to strengthen itself through modernisation and internal reforms all through the nineteenth century. But they obtained very little success. European subject nationalities broke away from its control and declared independence, one by one, its. Using history the Balkans tried to prove that they had once been independent but had subsequently been subjugated by foreign powers. And with this they based their claims for independence or political rights on nationality. The Balkan area became an area of intense conflict as the different Slavic nationalities struggled to define their identity and independence. Balkans also became the scene of big power rivalry and because of this matters were further complicated.
Europe was led to disaster in 1914 due to nationalism along with imperialism. Many countries in the world which had been colonised by the European powers began to oppose imperial domination, in the nineteenth century. Since people everywhere developed their own specific variety of nationalism, European ideas of nationalism were not followed anywhere. But the idea that societies should be organised came to be accepted as natural and universal.