- from Nationalism
It’s the spring of 1871, and your life has just gotten weird. The good news? The war between Germany and France is over. The bad news? The two countries have decided to split up some territory. Your town in northeastern France will be part of Germany.
One evening after dinner, your parents tell you they have to decide. Your family can move to another part of France and stay French. Or you can stay put and become German citizens.
In the early 1800s, Germany was like Italy. It was many separate states joined together. In 1861, King Wilhelm I became ruler of Prussia, a powerful German state. He said Prussia was meant to unite all of Germany. After winning three wars, he did just that. German nationalism became more aggressive. It was more about power than about self-rule. The leaders focused on how German people were different from others. This was not like the ideals the French and Americans valued: liberalism and equality.