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Europe On The Brink Of Change At The Turn Of The 20th Century

1952 words - 8 pages

Europe on the Brink of Change at the Turn of the 20th Century

By the turn of the 20th century Europe had undergone massive changes
which had eventually pushed it into war. The main forces behind these
changes were

1. Nationalism

2. Militarism

3. Imperialism

4. Socialism

5. Alliances

6. Unification

These ideas and systems threatened the balance of power which caused a
major war to break out.

Nationalism is the feeling of loyalty shared by a group of people
united by same language, race and culture; to express their loyalty to
their nation, they attempt to unite themselves into a larger nation
state ...view middle of the document...

The problem for the government of Austria-Hungary was that
they did not want to lose their power and control. The Slavs in the
southern part of the empire were their main concern since they wanted
to join up to Serbia.

Socialism is the general term for the political and economic theory
that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and
management of the means of production and distribution of goods. In
Russia socialism was creating many problems such as bad harvests,
industrial strikes and the war with Japan in 1904, leading to economic
difficulties and confidence in the Tsar faltering. In 1905 Father
Gapon led a peaceful demonstration to see the Tsar hoping to alleviate
the pressures on the working class. However, troops opened fire on the
group and many were killed or wounded. This sparked off a revolution
so the government made concessions, the Tsar promised working hours to
be reduced and a Duma was created to hear the working class
grievances.

Socialism threatened the balance of power as each country needs its
people to believe in their leader, they also need the working class to
be productive. Russia's working class lost faith in the Tsar after the
Duma was dissolved and the promises made by the Tsar were broken.

Because of the collective nature of socialism, it is to be contrasted
to the doctrine of the sanctity of private property that characterizes
capitalism. In the 1840s the term communism came into use to denote
loosely a militant leftist form of socialism. Karl Marx and Friedrich
Engels later used it to describe the movement that advocated class
struggle and revolution to establish a society of cooperation. In
1848, Marx and Engels wrote the famous Communist Manifesto, in which
they set forth the principles of what Marx called "scientific
socialism," arguing the historical inevitability of revolutionary
conflict between capital and labour.

When Napoleon defeated Austria and Prussia in the early 19th century,
he grouped the German states together into a Confederation of the
Rhine. Despite nationalism, many states turned against Prussia during
the Austro-Prussian war in 1866 and it was a serious act of preventing
Germany to unite.

In 1862 Bismarck was appointed Chief Minister in Prussia where he
skilfully propagated the bringing together of the German states by
convincing Germany to unify against France. Bismarck deliberately
encouraged the growing rift between Prussia and France by publishing
the Ems dispatch. This was the document that instigated the Franco-
Prussian War (1870-71). The French government was concerned over a
possible Prussia-Spanish alliance. However Leopold the Princes of
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen withdraw his acceptance in July after French
protests. But the French demanded further commitments. Bismarck
insured the...

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