Certainly, to an extent it could be said that key political ideas directly influenced change and development in the period 1848-1939. Clearly, in this period, ideologies such as Nationalism, Liberalism, Fascism, Nazism and Socialism were rife and it is inevitable that such a growth in these doctrines will lead to change.
However, it is evident that whilst the rise of nationalism led to the unification's of Italy and Germany, and the rise of the dictatorships of Mussolini and Hitler can be attributed to a growth in popularity of the Fascist doctrine, other factors may have influenced these changes to a greater degree than the ideologies themselves. Indeed, in the short run, the rise of the dictatorships had little to do with the ideology, and more to do with the pragmatic approach of both Hitler and Mussolini.
Furthermore, it is evident that ideologies such as Nationalism and Fascism did not affect every country in Europe in the same way; indeed Britain remained comparatively unaffected by both doctrines, unlike Germany and Italy. Indeed, it could be argued that it wasn't key political ideas that influenced change and development, but instead the growing intellectualism of the period, which made pragmatic change necessary. Certainly, to an extent it could be said that key political ideas directly influenced change and development in the period 1848-1939.
Clearly, in this period, ideologies such as Nationalism, Liberalism, Fascism, Nazism and Socialism were rife and it is inevitable that such a growth in these doctrines will lead to change. However, it is evident that whilst the rise of nationalism led to the unification's of Italy and Germany, and the rise of the dictatorships of Mussolini and Hitler can be attributed to a growth in popularity of the Fascist doctrine, other factors may have influenced these changes to a greater degree than the ideologies themselves.
Indeed, in the short run, the rise of the dictatorships had little to do with the ideology, and more to do with the pragmatic approach of both Hitler and Mussolini. Furthermore, it is evident that ideologies such as Nationalism and Fascism did not affect every country in Europe in the same way; indeed Britain remained comparatively unaffected by both doctrines, unlike Germany and Italy. Indeed, it could be argued that it wasn't key political ideas that influenced change and development, but instead the growing intellectualism of the period, which made pragmatic change necessary.
European Nationalism in its modern sense was a product of the French Revolution, which had destroyed the conception of a French Kingdom possessed and symbolised by the Monarch and had replaced it by the complete identification of the French nation with the French state. This therefore stimulated Nationalistic feelings amongst many academics in both Germany and Italy, who realised the value that was attached to local institutions, native customs, traditional culture and national language, thus promoting the cause of unification.
The growth of nationalism in Germany was fuelled by several situations e. g. in wars between Russia and France in which foreign governments appeared to threaten Germany as a whole. Therefore this, made many Germans who were normally content to think of themselves as Prussians, Bavarians, Hessians or members of other states discontented that Germany could not speak with a strong single voice at times of crisis, further promoting the cause of both Nationalism and unification. The growth of nationalistic sentiment in Italy and Germany can be attributed to its use and adoption by Napoleon III.
Napoleon had shown that democracy was not as dangerous as people perceived it to be; his use of plebiscites with which to gain popular support for major political changes demonstrated that government by propertied elite's could be reconciled with the sovereignty of the unpropertied people. Therefore, Bismarck could be seen to have learnt from Napoleon III's experiences and implemented a more affective nationalist policy, invoking propaganda and nationalistic slogans. Thus, he was able to achieve the unification of Germany at the same time as protecting the interests of the Prussian State.
However, it could be said that to an extent nationalism did directly influence unification because Mazzini's ideas of nationalism as developed during the 1848 revolutions inspired Garibaldi's actions. Without, whom the unification of Italy, would not have occurred as it was he, who made Cavour conceive of the idea of a wholly unified Italy. Garibaldi's action in handing over the Papal States to Victor Emmanuel, is therefore testament to his Nationalistic tendencies and aspirations, and thus shows that to an extent Nationalism did directly influence change and development in Italy.
Clearly, the unification of Italy in 1870, and the unification of Germany in 1871, can be attributed in part to the growth of nationalism. Indeed, with unification came the nationalists' aim of creating nation states that would preserve the national identity of both Italy and Germany. Arguably, the rise of nationalistic tendencies did not directly influence change and development, as unification was always likely to occur for reasons other than that of the growth of nationalism.
Economic necessity made the need for Unification much more desirable and as Keynes is reputed to have said "German unity was more truly built on coal and iron than on blood and iron". Therefore, one might argue that the key to German Unification was not the growth of nationalism in the country but the development of an integrated economy. Prussia achieved this in Germany through the introduction of the Zollverein in 1834. The Zollverein helped to unify the economies of north and central Germany, as it standardised both currency and the system of weights throughout its member states.
Whilst, the Zollverein also became a focal point for national feeling, and when in 1844 it signed a favourable trade treaty with Belgium, it could be said to be speaking for the major part of the Confederation in international economic affairs. It could also be argued that the unification of Italy by France in 1859 shaped not only the timing but also the nature of German Unification as it revived fears of napoleonic armies crossing the Rhine.
Therefore provoking the mobilisation of 250,000 men in various German states under the authority of the Diet, as well as an outburst of patriotic feeling across Germany. Thus, German Unification was characterised not only by a growth in Nationalist sentiment but by the victory of Prussia over Austria, and by the triumph of authoritarian and military over Liberal and Parliamentary rule. It could be argued that the unification of Italy was not directly influenced by Nationalism and was only accomplished due to a benign international situation.
The United Kingdom was overwhelmingly in support of Unification, as public support found the idea of a constitutional state struggling to secure national independence irresistible whilst the politicians believed that a stronger Italy would act as a counter-weight to Napoleon III's ambitions in Europe. Prussia pronounced herself neutral to Piedmont. Whilst, Russia still suffering from the humiliating defeat of the Black Sea was only too willing to sign a treaty with Napoleon III safeguarding her benevolence.
Clearly, unification would not have occurred in either Germany or Italy without the use of propaganda and the roles played by key personalities such as Bismarck in Germany and Cavour in Italy. Yet, neither of these key personalities claimed to be a nationalist, Bismarck was simply a Prussian Nationalist and saw the unification of Germany as a way of establishing himself as a key power, whilst Cavour in Italy originally neither had intent nor desire for the complete unification of Italy, he simply wanted an extension of Piedmonteste Laws and Customs across Italy.
Therefore, it could be said that the unification of Italy was more directly influenced by the rise of nationalism than the unification of Germany. However, it was other factors such as economic necessity that made the nationalist's dream of a politically unified Italy and Germany a reality. Therefore, it could be argued that Nationalism was a product of unification rather than a direct influence, as Bismarck in Germany exploited the Franco-Prussian of 1870 war to create a situation in which a national identity and hence nationalistic tendencies could be created.
To conclude: to an extent nationalism influenced unification in the sense that it made the idea conceivable, but it was other factors such as economic necessity that led to the actual unification's. It could certainly be argued that, the growth of Nationalism fostered the rise of Dictatorships akin to the ideals of fascism and Nazism, for it encouraged the growth of extremism. Indeed Nationalism and Fascism are both well suited to mobilising mass support for illiberal ends, because they diverted popular energies from demands of reforms and structural change.
Fascism developed from the destruction caused by the First World War, but, its origins lie in the intellectual revolt against liberalism in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century on the part of those who rejected the humanism of the Enlightenment and the "ideas of 1789". Yet while there was a revolutionary reaction against the ideals of the French Revolution before 1914, it was the First World War which was the real catalyst for the emergence of fascism. Thus, fascism was the most extreme reaction to this post-war political, social and national crisis.
It was a movement which was opposed to the "decadence" of existing politics and aimed to create a so-called "new order" based on the idea of national "rebirth" and renewal which was so strong in Nazi ideology, thus leading to the appeal of the ideology. Ideologically, Fascists were against liberal democracy and believed in some form of dictatorship. They stressed not reason but emotion and one of their strongest emotions was the insistence on the special identity of nations.
Furthermore, Fascists insisted on the importance of the leader, the heroic man of destiny who mystically embodied the nation and had the task of rectifying national wrongs, which could range from territorial to economic grievances. Therefore, it could be said that such ideas made the rise of Hitler and Mussolini inevitable Many factors, least not the appeal of Fascism itself contributed to Mussolini's rise to power after WW1. Communism, was clearly important, even thought the challenge from the left was effectively weak with short- lived ineffectual strikes. But it is hard to envisage Mussolini's success without it.
Similarly important was the sense of aggrieved nationalism in Italy, which Mussolini insisted he alone could redress. Thirdly, the economic problems of the Italian State were of major importance. Not only were inflation and unemployment, problems in themselves, but they exacerbated Italian's perceptions of the communist threat. Thus all of these factors emphasised the weakening of democracy in Italy; the liberal regime virtually collapsed in the 1920's, therefore handing power to Mussolini. Thus, to a great extent the "fascist ideology" did not directly led to the rise of Mussolini.
Furthermore, the war exacerbated current problems whilst revealing the inadequacies of the existing regime and creating a host of new grievances. The war produced a large number of ex-soldiers who were ready recruits for new paramilitary organisations; in these circumstances, ideology was not requisite. Clearly, the rise of Fascism must also be attributed to the disastrous decision of the left to call a general strike in 1922, the refusal o the King to authorise martial law in the same year and the unpredictable reaction to Matteotti's murder in 1924.
Certainly, the role of Mussolini himself should not be underestimated. He was an excellent orator and journalist, able to use violence with extreme caution, whilst at the same time insisting that he alone could impose law and order. His "doctrine" of Fascism was also remarkably skilful in that it was broad, flexible and appealed across the whole spectrum Mussolini's philosophy was not ideological profundity or consistency, but the need for action, which therefore garnered increased support.
Thus, to an extent fascism directly influenced the rise of Mussolini, because the ideology brought panache to politics, motivating the masses and symbolising a welcome and refreshing dynamism. Yet, once in power ideology had no direct influence, as he was able to consolidate his position via the Acerbo law and by the use of propaganda. Nazism was by far the most radical form of fascism, and unlike Italian fascism, the core of Nazi beliefs combined racism with a conspiracy theory.
Political extremism in Germany, developed from the failure of state and society to manage the complex problems arising from the country's sudden defeat at the end of WW1. Certainly, to a great extent it was not the ideology of Nazism itself that led to the rise of Hitler's dictatorship, but the failings of the Weimar Republic, and the economic climate. The Wall Street Crash of 1923, certainly contributed to Hitler's rise because, consequently loans and investment dried up, thus leading to unemployment and instability. Consequently prices fell, bankruptcies increased and unemployment reached 6.
1 million. Thus, in such a situation it is perhaps not surprising that people lost faith in the Weimar Republic and saw salvation in the solution offered by political extremism. Ostensibly, a growth in Nazi ideology did not directly lead to the rise of Hitler's dictatorship. Indeed the rise of Hitler was due to his ability to take advantage of the weak and divided nature of the Weimar Republic, as a result of proportional representation which was further exacerbated by the considerable powers conferred upon the President by the controversial Article 48.
Thus, Hitler was able to exploit this situation for his own gains. Clearly, the rise of Hitler was less influenced by the doctrine of Nazism and more so by the popularity of Hitler himself, and his promises of a strong, authoritarian government. Indeed, Hitler's manifesto offered a completely contradictory programme. Skilful propaganda presented an image of a party, which was youthful, radical, nationalist, anti-Semitic and anti- Marxist. Whilst, at the same time it suggested that the Nazis were sympathetic to small businessmen and peasants without being overtly hostile to industrialists and Junkers.
This propaganda was enhanced by the visual or dramatic impact of rallies or meetings, and the simple but endlessly repeated nature of slogans, stressed the communist danger and the need for a strong, authoritarian government that would offer every class in Germany what it wanted Hitler's propaganda machine exploited people's idealism and fears and presented a vision of national pride and regeneration, and presented Nazism as the only way of achieving this.
To a great extent, it was not the ideology of Nazism that led to the rise of Hitler, but Hitler's own personal drive and ambition. Taking advantage of public opinion and their abhorrent dislike for the Weimar Republic and its decisions, Hitler played on the "stab in the back myth", pledged to rid Germany of the "November Criminals" and promised to overthrow the Treaty of Versailles. Whilst in the long run he promised prosperity and full employment. He fostered loyalty by the creation of the SA, and Hitler Youth, as well as by the creation of a Nazi Teacher's league.
Whilst, his overall promise of a strong decisive government, the return of prosperity and the restoration of national pride was in stark contrast to what the Weimar Republic was giving Germany. In this situation, ideology was not requisite. In the short-run, ideology had no direct influence in Hitler's rise as this can be wholly attributed to the mistaken beliefs of Papen and Hindenburg, who believed that Hitler could be "tamed" to suit the interests of the conservative establishment, as well as Hitler's refusal to accept power until he was named chancellor.
Once in power Hitler, was able to consolidate his position via the introduction of the Enabling Bill, as well as via state control of press and radio, thus showing that to a great extent the rise of the dictatorship was not directly influenced by Nazi ideology. However, to an extent it could be said that the ideology of Nazism itself led to the rise of Hitler's dictatorship because it promised strong authoritarian leadership, which arguably the German people were predisposed to.
In conclusion, it could be said that Fascism and Nazism did directly influence change and development, as the doctrines made possible the rise of Mussolini and Hitler. However, clearly other underlying factors such as acute nationalist discontent and economic problems contributed more to the establishment of dictatorships in Italy and Germany Liberals in the 19th Century were constitutionalists and despite the varying circumstances of their countries, their general aim everywhere was to secure a national form of government, which would enable their political ideas to be protected and put into effect. As Metternich said, " there is…
scarcely any epoch which does not offer a rallying cry to some particular faction. The cry since 1815 has been "constitution" Thus, the liberals shared the belief of the American and French revolutionaries that, since men are by nature good, a perfect society could be achieved by the establishment of a regime, which preserved their liberties and empowered them to chose their rulers. Certainly, in Britain during the nineteenth century, liberalism influenced the growth of democracy, for it led to the defeat of the unionist's and the rise of Gladstone, who was guided not only by liberal conviction, but also by a moral conviction.
Thus, he sought to address the inequalities that he perceived existed in society. Therefore, this led to in 1884 the introduction of the Third Reform Act, which extended the electorate to 5 million, or about 1/6th of the population, and made the rural electorate as democratic as the Urban. This was compounded by the Redistribution of Seats Act (1884), which established single member constituencies, the Corrupt Practices Act (1885) which effectively attacked the rowdiness and abuses that had prevailed during the elections and by the Secret Ballot Act (1872), which led to greater political democracy.
Therefore, to a great extent it could be said that liberalism directly influenced change and development, as can clearly be seen by looking at Gladstone's other legislature at the time. Liberalism, as an idea embodied the idea of laissez-faire and equality, and Gladstone sought to achieve these objectives through the University Test Act (1871) and the Civil Service Reforms (1871). The University Tests Act abolished the special privilege of the Church of England at Oxford and Cambridge, and threw open these posts to all suitable candidates.
Whilst, the Civil Service Reforms opened up the Civil Service to the best brains in the country, thus not only leading to a growth in democracy but also leading to an increase in efficiency and professionalism as well. However, it could be said that these reforms had less to do with the direct influence of liberalism and more to do with Gladstone's own moral conviction. God guided Gladstone and thus he believed that it was his role to carry out God's work, which was to make society a much more congenial place for the working class.
Therefore, it could be said that Gladstone would have introduced these reforms even if there had been no growth in liberal sentiment. Clearly, the growing population also contributed to a growth in democracy, because the growing population led not only to a growing need for efficiency but also to the idea of a growing social conscience as embodied by the liberal doctrine. Furthermore, it could be said that that it was political expediency and basic pragmatism that led to the growth of democracy not the rise of Liberalism, as can be seen from the Third Reform Act.
It was not Gladstone's desire for the extension of democracy that led to its introduction but pressure from within his party, from people such as Joseph Chamberlain who were aggrieved over Gladstone's lack of reforms in his second ministry. Clearly, it could be said that political expediency and the need to regain power, not the rise of liberal ideas led to the development of New Liberalism in 1906.
Certainly, the primary reason for the development of New Liberalism was the need for the Liberals to distinguish themselves from the Conservatives, as can be seen from their much more interventionist approach such as free school dinners, and later the introduction of the Children's Charter (1912). Secondary reasons for the development of New Liberalism stemmed from the fact that ambitious personalities within the party such as Lloyd George and Churchill, who were responsible for most of the reforms wanted to make a name for themselves.
They genuinely wanted to help the poor, but they wanted to further their own careers as well. To quote Derek Fraser, " it had always been Lloyd George's intention to make a great stir, to do something really big that would attract public attention. " Clearly, the intellectual climate had some bearing on the growth of democracy, indeed women's suffrage was achieved not only as a result of fervent campaigning for equality but as a result of the valid contribution they made to the war effort.
In France, however, the growth of democracy, developed differently. Indeed, France had had Universal Manhood Suffrage since 1871, but she lacked the strong party discipline and organisation that prevailed in Britain. In France, the legislature was supreme and whereas in Britain the parliamentary defeat of a government led to a general election, in the French chamber of Deputies governments could be overthrown by a chance vote of deputies who perhaps hoped they might themselves be represented by the government which would result from the ensuing shuffle.
To a great extent, Liberal ideology did not directly influence change and development in France, as such change was based on the pragmatism of Louis Napoleon, who in realising the need to strengthen his regime saw Liberalism as a way of achieving this. Indeed, Napoleon realised that a personal dictatorship without the facilities to manufacture opinion relied upon keeping in touch with public opinion " I am isolated, I no longer hear anything. " Furthermore, he realised the need to attract greater talent to support the empire, such as Emile Olliver, since the dominance of bureaucrats and unimaginative conservatives was increasingly a handicap.
Therefore, this led to the constitution itself being liberalised in 1860. Because of this liberalism, freedom of debate in parliament was permitted- both chambers were now allowed to hold annual debates on the speech from the throne, which would be responded to by imperial ministers. Reports of the debate were also to be published. Whilst, in 1861, the Corps Legislatif was given the power to vote the budget detail by detail instead of simply en bloc.
Thus, because of this increased liberalism and move away form authoritarian rule, political life began to revive and in 1863,a coalition of opposition groups, the Union Liberale gained 2 million votes and 35 seats. To an extent, it could be said that the basic tenets of liberalism led to a growth in democracy in France, because from 1866 onwards the "Third Party" led by Thiers, began to demand and gain support for greater democracy via the relaxation of press laws, and thus in order to consolidate his position, Louis Napoleon was forced to further liberalise the empire.
Therefore, in the years 1867-1868, Napoleon granted to only the power of interpellation but also relaxed the press laws and laws relating to public assembly. Furthermore in 1869, Napoleon conceded full parliamentary government giving the Corps Legislatif the power to initiate legislation and draw ministers from either house. In conclusion, it could therefore be said that the rise of liberalism, affected Britain and France in different ways.
In Britain, the rise of Liberalism, led not only to the growth of the liberal party but also to a plethora of reforms, which reduced the inequality amongst different classes in society. Progressive and Radical reforms such as the Third Reform Act of 1884, led not only to an increase in the franchise, but also to a growth in democracy. In France, however, it could be said that the doctrine of liberalism had little or no direct influence in the growth of democracy, instead the growth of democracy that ensued was a result of Louis Napoleon's political expediency and his wish to retain power.
Another reason for the declining influence of liberalism was the rise of Socialism, which was hastened by the disenchantment felt by many political reformers and working class leaders at the defection of liberals from the radical cause. In the realm of political ideas, the socialists wished to go beyond the aims of liberalism. They could not support its insistence upon the limitation of the powers and action of the state. For them, political liberty in itself was not attractive, as it appeared to benefit the wealthy and do little for the poor.
Nor did mere legal equality satisfy them, as they wished it remedy the social evils brought about by the unequal distribution of material possessions, and they came to believe that the state should be prepared to assist the establishment of some form of communal ownership of property and of the means of distribution and production, so as to make possible a wider distribution of the wealth of the country among the people who took part in creating it. Thus, the rise of socialism can be attributed in part to the industrial revolution.
British socialism in its earliest incarnation was markedly idealistic and utopian, and developed as a result of the apparent ending of centuries of British economic dominance. Thus, this socialist sentiment led to the formation of the SDF in 1854,and although its membership was small it undoubtedly played a part in introducing Marxism to British politics and in training a generation of Socialists who went on to gain prominence in other organisations.
However, to a great extent the rise of the SDF did not influence change and development as the party itself failed to make a political breakthrough and did not achieve the electoral success that it desired, due to divisions within the party regarding trades unions, which meant that the party was unable to take advantage of the massive growth in trade union organisation. Furthermore, the increasingly strong labour movement remained pragmatic, with little ideological interest, seeking the improvements, which were practically possible in a social and political system that allowed for gradual and peaceful change.
Therefore, because of its pragmatic purposes and practical achievements the British Labour Party wasn't very influenced by Socialist beliefs. It could be argued that to a great extent the rise of socialism directly influenced social reform for it led to the formation of the Labour party in 1906, whose objective was to secure legislature that would benefit labour in the broadest sense.
The rise of socialism can clearly be seen by the fact that Labour took office in 1924, which lead to ground breaking social reforms such as restrictions on working hours, extension of trade unions and the Wheatley Housing Act of 1924, which extended the availability of council housing. Therefore, in conclusion it could be said that to an extent the growth of socialism directly influenced change and development because it led to the rise of the labour party in Britain and with it increased social reform.
However, although the Labour Party achieved office it had no majority, therefore it could be said to have no real power and the reforms that were achieved were achieved as a result of the political climate. Whilst, it could also be said that the party made no real attempt to substantially alter the balance of power and wealth, indeed it could be argued that the party's lack of majority made it impossible for them to implement radical programmes. The lack of a theoretical doctrine was one of the main things which distinguished the British Labour movement from that which was growing in power and importance in Germany.
Whilst, the development of Socialism was less influential in Britain than it was in Germany, because the relatively slow pace of industrialisation in the UK compared with Germany allowed the persistence of older attitudes and values. Socialism in Germany was much more of a powerful force as shown by the fact that the growth in numbers of the German Social Democrats paralleled the growth of German industry- in 1877 they had just 12 seats in the Reichstag but by 1912 they had 110 seats and 4,500,000 votes.
However, it could be argued that it wasn't the appeal of the socialist ideology itself that led to the growth of its popularity and the consolidation of its position, it was instead due to the actions of Bismarck. Bismarck's most consistent opponent throughout his administration was the SPD. The SPD was an amalgamation between Lassalle's General German Workers' Union and the League of Workers' Clubs led by Liebknecht and Bebel. The Gotha programme of 1875 showed a combination of Lassallean and Marxist principles, all hostile to the new Reich.
The existing form of Universal Suffrage was considered a mere sham, and there was bitter criticism of the aristocratic and bourgeois hold on the economy, since this caused deep social divisions and permanent misery for the proletariat. Thus, the solutions proposed by the Gotha programme were radical including a "free state and socialist society. " Bismarck felt that such objectives threatened the entire structure of the new Reich.
He believed the SPD would subvert the 1871 Constitution, which was based on carefully considered checks and balances, and would destroy the competitive power of German industry by imposing labour regulations. Above all, he believed it would threaten the nat