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CHAPTER 4 : REVOLUTION, UNIFICATION AND THE GREAT WAR POLITICAL CONFLICTS (1848 - 1918)
This chapter discusses the Revolution, Unification and the Great War. The growth and development of Liberalism and constitutionalism mark the entire period between 1830 and 1848. The middle class was gaining in importance. This also widened the divide between the rich and the poor.
After the revolution of 1789 and 1830, liberalism reformed the minds of the people and a national feeling was enlivened. This brought about the Revolution of 1848.
Napoleon I rounded off the smaller kingdoms of Italy. This created a feeling of nationalism and the desire for being independent. The vast mosaic of states in Germany formed a part of the holy Roman Empire. The Prussian Emperor framed a federal constitution for Germany, which Austria fervently opposed. The Germans were all for unifying their state.
Another reason for unification was that different Christian races were forced to stay in different kingdoms. These races gradually thought of making their own federation.
The Greek Prime minister set up a federation consisting of Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro. The Balkan states formed the Federation. As Turkey was weak, the Balkan Kingdoms decided to attack her and distribute parts of Turkey among themselves. They waged war with Turkey. After the victory, there were differences among the Balkan states regarding the division of spoils. Once again there was a war among the Balkan states. These wars are termed the Balkan wars. The First World War was fought as a direct effect of the Balkan war.
The First World War was a product of many factors. The most important was the spirit of Nationalism, when most of the countries desired to expand their borders. The single spark that ignited the war was the assassination of the Austrian Prince in Serbia. Austria declared war on Serbia. England, Russia, France, and Japan were on one side and Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Italy on the other.
The League of Nations was formed after the World War to maintain peace. However, the feeling of revenge was so strong among the countries that lost World War I that the League of Nations failed. The First World War became the main reason for the Second.