- from Nationalism
It’s the spring of 1871, and life in your town in northeastern France has been turned upside down. War between Germany and France is over, but the two countries have divided up some territory. The area where you live is going to be part of Germany.
One evening after dinner, your parents tell you and your siblings they have to make a decision. 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, a collection of separate states. King Wilhelm I became ruler of the powerful German state of Prussia in 1861, and he believed Prussia was meant to unite all of Germany. After winning three different wars, he succeeded. The ideals of German nationalism became more aggressive and more about domination than self-rule. They focused on the differences between the German people and others, rather than on the ideals of liberalism and equality that the French and Americans valued.