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Julia Shokeir

December 5, 2018
Social 20-1
The history of nationalism and nationhood is tainted with aggression. This source further

elaborates on and supports this belief by stating that “​Nationalism and aggression naturally go

hand in hand​.” Furthermore, the source states that “​When people put their nation’s interests first,

they often do so at the expense of other nations’ interests​.” Dating back even centuries, this can

be proven as a nation could never pursue its interests without harming the people or nation(s)

politically, territorially, economically, or socially connected to, or previously connected to them.

Ultimately, national interests (the ambitions or goals of a nation) cause nations to display their

true colours of aggression while pursuing these interests or while facing the consequences of

their pursuit. These aggressive acts are shown throughout nationalism’s history in numerous

examples from vastly different nations. Therefore, the source should be fully embraced as the

history of nationalism attributes to the fact that ​nationalism is an aggressive force which is

proven to be when establishing nationalism and in the act of defending nationalism​. The hostile

acts which took place due to the establishment of nationalism in the rise of Nazi-Germany, led

by Adolf Hitler, during World War II and the interwar years (the defined years between World

War I and II) support this fact. Additionally, in an act of defence, the Canadian government

made an aggressive attack toward their own Ukrainian immigrants during WWI in an effort to

protect Canada from the enemy nation of Ukraine. These actions against the

Ukrainian-Canadians and the ones committed by Germany during World War II are evidence

which undoubtedly prove that nationalism is aggressive.

To further comprehend this, there must first be an understanding that nationalism can

compel even the kindest nations to go to extreme lengths for the pursuit of their interests.

Nationalism even compelled the relatively peaceful nation of Canada to make defensive and
unconsciously aggressive attacks towards the minority group of the Ukrainian-Canadians during

WWI. These attacks can be labelled as an “unconsciously aggressive” as Canada did not realize

the extreme- or even ultranationalist lengths it went to in order to capture their national interests.

These interests included protection from the increasingly threatening nation of Ukraine, as they

desired self-determination (the freedom to make decisions in order to pursue national interests as

a sovereign nation) and an alliance with the enemy nation of Austria-Hungary. Canada believed

that the enemy alliance Ukraine craved would cause contending loyalties to arise from its own

Ukrainian citizens who still felt loyal to their motherland. So, as an act of defence, Canada

sought action by attacking their own Ukrainian citizens by identifying them as “enemy aliens,”

labelling them as spies and saboteurs of Canada’s war efforts. Canada then implemented the War

Measures Act (WMA) over the Ukrainian-Canadians, which allowed the government to limit the

Ukrainian-Canadians freedoms and to also place them in internment camps. Additionally, the

WMA caused this minority to immediately face bias and harassment from other citizens,

including law enforcement. The WMA was in place from 1918 to 1920, causing 80 000

Ukrainian-Canadians to carry identification papers while also having to regularly report to local

law enforcement, 3 000 to be taken in as prisoners of war, and 9 000 to be placed in internment

camps while usually only working for $0.25 per day. Though the Ukrainian-Canadians have

been free from the WMAs rule for almost 100 years, they are still haunted by the cruel acts they

had to endure from it. These actions committed were formulated around speculation,

superstition, and bias toward Canada’s immigrants resulting in aggressive acts towards said

immigrants. Nationalism compelled and forced Canada to act in an ultranationalist mindset

without regards to the humiliation or harmful consequences that Canada, or its people could have
faced. This event fully supports the idea that nationalism is aggressive and can has the capability

to compel the nations perceived as kind to take extreme defensive measures in order to pursue

their interests.

Through nationalism’s possessive ways, it can also capture suffering states to create

powerful, ruthless nations with little humanity displayed towards other nations or people.

Nazi-Germany’s establishment of nationalism during the interwar period continuously

demonstrated this fact, further proving the fact that nationalism is an aggressive force.

Furthermore, Germany was destined to become an ultranationalist, hostile nation controlled by

the driving force of nationalism as can be predicted by the state in which it was left in after the

Great War. Abandoned in an economic and political disarray, the German people were left

humiliated from their loss in WWI. Resentful towards the other European countries,

economically irreparable, militarily broken, politically confused, and separated, Germany was at

a loss. Seeking irredentism (the reclamation of land by a nation to reconnect its people

previously separated) and power once again, Germany’s pride quickly soared as the Nazi-Fascist

party promised these wants to the German people. Right-winged nazism (a form of fascism,

which is the virtual absolute control of a country and its aspects by its rulers), provided solutions

to the German people as left-wing communism was not seen as an option due to the German’s

skepticism towards its economic features. To provide these solutions, Adolf Hitler (the leader of

the Nazi party) made aggressive assaults towards the European nations and the world through his

imperialistic actions. The most aggressive act committed by Nazi-Germany was undoubtedly the

genocide toward the Jewish people known as the Holocaust. Using propaganda to fuel the idea

that the Jews were “inferior to the pure Aryan (Indo-European) race” in order for Germany to
practice eugenics (controlled breeding of a certain race for desirable characteristics),

extermination/concentration camps were put in place to murder the Jewish people by the

thousands. This “solution” to Germany’s “Jewish problem” was titled as the ​Final Solution​. With

an estimated over 6 million Jewish people murdered, in addition to 1.8 million other so-called

“offenders,” there is a safe assumption that the effects of Nazi-Germany’s attacks would have

been near impossible if not for the driving, malicious force known as nationalism.

In an idealistic world, nationalism and aggression are two separate entities. However,

realistically, though nationalism has caused and will continue to cause problems for many, it

appears that the two are inseparable. The history of nationalism- presented by the extreme

defensive acts made by Canada to the Ukrainian-Canadians and the establishment of the hostile

Nazi-German nation -provides evidence to the fact that nationalism is, without a doubt,

aggressive. The source, again, simply defines this as the two going together “hand in hand.”

Though nationalism will always be present in our modern world, it’s negative impacts can be

counterbalanced by pursuing alternative ambitions which benefit the international alliances of

the world to provide greater opportunity. An opportunity which not only benefits the nations

pursuing them but also the people that live within said nations, creating a peaceful world built on

mutual benefit. However, this is idealistic, and may not ever be possible as it is safer to pursue

realistic goals. Yet, idealism is more favourable and should be pursued, as put by Woodrow

Wilson, “​You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to

live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to

enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.​”1