Industry and Ideology in Germany Essay

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Nation, Industrialization and Ideology

For the U.S., the idea of nationhood developed simultaneously with the rise of Industrialization. Industrialization enabled the concept of nationhood to be made possible. This concept in America was intertwined with the ideology of “Manifest Destiny” that was first promulgated by John L. O’Sullivan in 1845. Sullivan called it America’s “manifest design of Providence in regard to the occupation of this continent”[footnoteRef:2] and used this “manifest design” as justification for America to expand its borders as far as possible and assert its nationhood status even in the face of Native Americans who had claim to certain territories. Once America had reached the West Coast, it began to look overseas and used its doctrine of Manifest Destiny to spread its influence into Asia with the Spanish-American War. Industrialization gave the U.S. the means to ramp up its military, and the ideology of expansion being God’s will for Americans provided the motivation. Empire was the next step as the U.S., like ancient Rome, saw the whole world as its own backyard and set about dividing and conquering and consuming the spoils. This paper will show why the idea of “nation” developed in industrialized countries like the U.S. first. [2: John O’Sullivan, “Manifest Destiny” in Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (), 633.]

The U.S.
was not alone, however. Other countries too came into their own in the 19th century: fostered by Industrialization, their sense of nationality and the spirit of nationalism rose hand in hand with the production and assembly lines. Germany in the 19th century shared a similar sentiment: Georg von Schonerer promoted an ideology based on German ethnicity and pride, identifying the foreigner as a threat to Germany’s strength and power. In this sense, he set the stage for the wars in the next century, in which Germany attempted to assert a spirit of nationalism that brought it into opposition with Russia, France, England and the U.S. Schonerer stated: “Above all, I must, in the name of the German Nationals, stress the fact that we are proud to be members of a great people (Volk) and that as such we feel a holy duty to stand up for the welfare and the power…of the German community.”[footnoteRef:3] For the Germans, the social identity that was rooted in the German sense of tradition was the ideological motivation that coincided with the rise of Industrialization,….....

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Tignor, Robert, Jeremy Adelman, Stephen Aron, Stephen Kotkin, Suzanne Marchand, Gyan Prakash, and Michael Tsin. Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, vol. 2. 4th edition. NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.


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