- from Nationalism
It’s the spring of 1871, and your life in northeastern France has just been turned upside down. The good news is that the war between Germany and France is over. The bad news is that the two countries have decided to split up some territory, making your town part of Germany.
One evening after dinner, your parents tell you and your siblings they have to decide. Your family can move to another part of France and remain French. Or you can all stay home and become German citizens.
In the early 1800s, Germany was like Italy: many separate states linked together. King Wilhelm I became ruler of the powerful German state of Prussia in 1861. He believed Prussia was meant to unite all of Germany. After winning three wars, he did just that. German nationalism became more aggressive and more about dominating others than about self-rule. Its leaders focused on the differences between German people and others. This was different from the ideals of liberalism and equality that the French and Americans valued.