World History
Sara Watts
Primary Readings
Nationalism, Racism, and Militarism

Just as Mazzini best symbolizes the ties between early nineteenth-century nationalism and liberalism, the German historian Heinrich von Treitschke (18341896) represents the later links between nationalism arid conservatism, militarisrn, and authoritarianism. The son of a Prussian general, Treitschke taught history at several universities, including the prestigious University of Berlin, ,where he concluded his career. lie also was a member of the German representative assembly, the Reichstag, from 1871 to 1884. His best-known work is his seven-volume History of Germany in the Nineteenth Century, In this and his numerous other writings, lectures, and speeches, Treitschke acclaimed militarism, authoritarianism, and war as the path to German greatness. His views struck a responsive chord among many Germans who feared socialism and dmocracy and yearned for the day when Germany would be recognized as the world's most powerful nation. 


  1. What, according to Treitschke, is the relationship between the state and the individual?
  2. Why, according to Treitschke, is monarchy superior to democracy? How do his views conflict with those of Rousseau (see Chapter 5, source 42)?
  3. What qualities of Germans set them apart from other peoples, especially the English and the Jews, according to Treitschke?
  4. In what ways are the views of Treitschke a repudiation of the ideals of tile Enlightenment?
  5. Mazzini (Source 69) felt that all nations had a contribution to make to human progress. What is Treitschke's view?
  6. If Mazzini and Treitschke had ever had an opportunity to sit down in the same room to discuss politics, what would they have argued about? What might they have agreed upon?

Depth of thought, Idealism. cosmopolitan views; transcendent philosophy which boldly oversteps (or freely looks over) the separating barriers of finite existence; familiarity with every human thought and feeling, the desire to traverse the world-wide realm of ideas in common with the foremost intellects of all nations and all times. All that has at all times been held to be characteristic of the Germans and has always been praised as the essence of German character and breeding. 

The simple loyalty of the Germans contrasts remarkably with the lack of' chivalry in the English character. This seems to be due to the fact that in England physical Culture is sought, nor in the exercise of noble arms, but in sports like boxing, swimming, and rowing, sports which undoubtedly have their value, but which obviously tend to encourage a brutal and purely athletic point of view, and the single and superficial ambition of getting a first prize.1 


The state is a moral community, which is called upon to educate tile human race by positive achievement. Its ultimate object is chat a nation should develop in It, a nation distinguished by a real national character. To achieve this state is the highest moral duty for nation and individual alike. All private quarrels must be forgotten when tile state is in danger. 

At the moment when the state cries Out that its very life is at stake, social selfishness must cease and party hatred be hushed. The individual must forget his egoism, and feel that lie is it member of the whole body. 

The most important possession of a state, its be-all and end-all, is power. He who is nor man enough to look this truth in tile face should not meddle in politics. 'File state is not physical power as an end in itself, it is power to protect and promote tile higher interests. Power must justify itself by being applied for the greatest good of mankind. It is the highest moral duty of the state to increase its power. 

The true greatness of the state is that it links the past with the present and future: consequently, the individual has no right to regard the state as a means for attaining his own ambitions in life. Every extension of the activities of the state is beneficial and wise if it arouses, promotes, and purifies the independence of free and reasoning men, it is evil when it kills and stunts the independence of free men. It is men who make history. 

The state does not stand for the whole life of the nation. Its function is essentially protective and administrative. The state does not swallow up everything; it can only influence by external compulsion. It represents the nation from the point of view of power. For in the state it is not only the great primitive forces of human nature that come into play; the state is the basis of all national life. Briefly, it may be affirmed that a state which is not capable of forming and maintaining an external Organization of its civilizing activities deserves to perish. 

Only the truly great and powerful stares ought to exist. Small states are unable to protect their subjects against external enemies, moreover, they are incapable of producing genuine patriotism or national pride and are somtimes incapable of Kultur2 in great dimensions. Weimar produced a Goethe and a Schiller;3 still these poets would have been greater had they been citizens of a German national state. 


Tile will of the state is in a monarchy, the expression of the will of one man who wears the crown by virtue of the historic right of a certain family; with him the final authority rests. Nothing in a monarchy can be done contrary to the will of the monarch. In a democracy, plurality, the will of the people, expresses the will of the state. A monarchy excels any other form of government, including the democratic, in achieving unity and power in a nation. it is for this reason that monarchy seems so natural, and that it makes Such an appeal to the popular understanding. We Germans had an experience of this in the first years of our new empire.1 How wonderfully the idea of a united Fatherland was embodied for us in the person of the venerable Emperor! How Much it meant to us that we could feel once more: "That man is Germany; there is no doubting it." 


The idea of perpetual peace is an illusion suported only by those of weak character. It has always been the weary, spiritless, and exhausted apes which have played with the dream of perpetual peace. A thousand touching portraits testify to the sacred power of the love which a righteous war awakes in noble nations. It is altogether impossible that peace be maintained in a world bristling with arms, and even God will see to it that war always recurs as a drastic medicine for the human race. Among great states the greatest political sin and the most contemptible is feebleness. . . . 

War is elevating because the individual disappears before the great conception of the state. The devotion of the members of a community to each other is nowhere so splendidly conspicuous as in war. 

Modern wars are not waged for the sake of goods and resources. What is at stake is the sublime moral good of national honor, which has something in the nature of unconditional sanctity, and compels the individual to sacrifice himself for it. 

1 Treischke is correct in drawing a distinction between English and German sports. In the nineteenth century the English prized comparitive athletic contests, while the Germans favored group calisthenics and exercises.
2 German for culture or civilization.
3 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1719- 1832) and Johann von Schiller (1738-1805) were German poets and dramatists who lived before Germany became a unified state. They both spent a good part of their adult lives in the city of Weimar, the capital of the Duchy of SaxeWeimar.
4 When Germany became a unified state in 1871, the king ofPrussia, William I, became emperor of Germany.
5 Tretschke is making a point about what he considers the hypocrisy of the British, professed Christians who nonetheless sell opium to the Chinese. See Lin Zexu's Letter to Queen Viictoria in Chapter 10.
6 Aristocratic males frequently settled disputes concerning their honor by dueling. To Treitschke, abandoning the duel for less manly pursuits such as hunting and horseback riding was a sign of decadence.


The hypocritical Englishman, with the Bible in one hand and a pipe of opium5 in the other, possesses no redeeming qualities. The nation was an ancient robber-knight, in full armor, lance in hand, on every one of the world's trade routes. 

The English possess a commercial spirit, a love of money which has killed every sentiment of honor and every distinction of right and wrong. English cowardice and sensuality are hidden behind unctuous, theological fine talk which is to us free-thinking German heretics among all the sins of English nature the most repugnant. In England all notions of honor and class prejudices vanish before the power of money, whereas the German nobility has remained poor but chivalrous. That last indispensable bulwark against the brutalization of society - the duel - has gone out of fashion in England and soon disappeared, to be supplanted by the riding whip.6 This was a triumph of vulgarity. The newspapers, in their accounts of aristocratic weddings, record in exact detail how much each wedding guest has contributed in the form of presents or in cash; even the youth of the nation have turned their sports into a business, and contend for valuable prizes, whereas the German students wrought havoc on their countenances for the sake of a real or imaginary honor.7 


The Jews at one time played a necessary role in German history, because of their ability in the management of money. But now that the Aryans8 have become accustomed to the idiosyncrasies of' finance, the Jews are no longer necessary. The international Jew, hidden in tile mask of different nationalities, is a disintegrating influence; he can be of no further use to the world. It is necessary to speak openly about the Jews, undisturbed by the fact chat the Jewish press befouls what is purely historical truth. 

7 Treitshke is again using examples from sports to underscore the differences between the Gernans and English. By the end of the nineteenth century English sports such as rugby and football (American soccer) were organized into professional Ieagues; the Gemans were still willing to be scarred in duels to defend their honor.
8 Today the term Aryan, or Indo-Iranian, refers to a branch of the Indo-European family of languages, which also includes Baltic, Slavic, Armenian, Greek, Celtic, Latin, and Germanoc. Indo-Iranian includes Bengali, Persian, Punjabi, and Hindi. In Treitschke's day Aryan was used not only to refer to the prehistoric Ianguage from which all these languages derived but also the racial group that spoke the language and supposedly migrated from its base in central Asia to Europe and India in the distant past. In the racial mythology that grew in connetcion with the term and later was embraced by Hitler and the Nazis, the Aryans provided Europe's original racial stock.
9 L. S. Stavrianos, The World Since 1500. 4th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1982); p. 187.

Imperialism: The European Justification 

Western expansionism continued but at a slow pace lit the first half of the ninteenth century. The British added to their territories in India, the French strengthened their hold oil Algeria, and the Western powers pressured China and Japan to increase their trade with outsiders. Then in the closing decades of the 1800s the long history of Western expansion culminated in the Era of Imperialism and a land-grab unprecedented in human history. The following figures show how much land and how many people the major Western powers added to their empires between 1871 and 1900: Great Britain - 4.25 million square miles and 66 million people; France - 3.5 million square miles and 26 million people; Germany - 1 million square miles and 13 million people; Belgium 900,000 square miles and 13 million people.'1 Italy, the United States, and the Netherlands also made acquisitions. 

Late nineteenth-century imperialism resulted in part from the West's continuing technological development. The replacement of sailing vessels with metalhulled steamships reduced two-month oceanic voyages to two weeks; undersea telegraph lines enabled governments and businesses to communicate in seconds, not weeks or months; new drugs such as quinine protected Europeans from tropical diseases like malaria; and improved firearms increased the West's ability 10 subdue and control their new colonial subjects. 

But technology alone does not explain the expansionist fever that swept the Western nations in the late 1800s. As tile following documents reveal, political rivalries, anticipated economic gains, nationalism, and humanitarianism all contributed to the psychological atmosphere that led to this final chapter of Western expansion.

A Defense of French Imperialism
71 - Jules Ferry, SPEECH BEFORE

Jules Ferry (1832-1893) was a French politician who twice served as premier during the Third Republic, the name of the French government from 1871 until 1940. Ferry was an ardent imperialist, and during his premierships France annexed Tunisia and parts of Indochina and began exploring parts of Africa. In debates in the French National Assembly he frequently defended his policies against socialist and conservative critics, who for different reasons opposed French imperialism. The following selection from his speech on July 28, 1883, summaries his reasons for supporting French expansionism arid also sheds light on his opponents' views. 


  1. According to Ferry, what recent developments in world trade markets have made France's need for colonies more urgent? 
  2. What ideological arguments against imperialism are proposed by Ferry's critics? flow does Ferry counter them?
  3. Aside from providing markets for French goods, what other economic advantages do colonies offer, according to Ferry?
  4. How does Ferry's appeal for colonies reflect nineteenth-century nationalism? 
  5. Given the opportunity to have heard Ferry's speech, how might the following historical figures have reacted to it: Condorcet (Chapter 5, source 36), Mazzim (Source 69), and Treitschke (Source 70)?
M. JULES FERRY Gentlemen, it embarrasses me to make such a prolonged demand upon the gracious attention of the Chamber, but I believe that the duty I am fulfilling upon this platform is not a useless one: It is as strenuous for me as for you, but I believe that there is some benefit in summarizing and condensing, in the form of arguments, the principles, the motives, and the various interests by which a policy of colonial expansion may be justified; it goes without saying that I will try to remain reasonable, moderate, and never lose sight of the major continental interests which are the primary concern of this country. What I wish to say, to support this proposition, is that in fact, just as in word, the policy of colonial expansion is poditici I and economic system; I wish to say that one can relate this system to three orders of ideas: economic ideas, ideas of civilization in its highest sense, and ideas of politics and patriotism. 

In the area of economics, I allow myself to place before you, with the support of some figures, the considerations which justify a policy of colonial expansion from the point of view of that need, felt more and more strongly by the industrial populations of' Europe and particularly those of our own rich and hard working Country: the need for export markets. Is this some kind of chimera? Is this a view of the future or is it not rather a pressing need, and, we could say, the cry of our industrial population? I will formulate only In a general way what each of you, in the different parts of France, is in a position to confirm. Yes, what is lacking for our great industry, drawn irrevocably on to the path of exportation by the (free trade) treaties of 1860, what it lacks more and more is export markets. Why? Because next door to us Germany is surrounded by barriers, because beyond the ocean, the United States of America has become protectionist, protectionist in the most extreme sense, because not only have these great markets, I will not say closed but shrunk, and thus become more difficult of access for our industrial products, but also these great scares are beginning to pour products not seen heretofore into our own markets . . . . It is not necessary to pursue this demonstration any further. . . . 

. . . Gentlemen, there is a second point, a second order of ideas to which I have to give equal attention, but as quickly as possible, believe me; it is the humanitarian and civilizing side of the question. On this point the honorable M. Camille Pelletan2 has jeered in his own refined and clever manner; he jeers, he condemns, and he says "What is this civilization which you impose with cannon-balls? What is it but another form of barbarism? Don't these populations, these inferior races, have the same rights as you? Aren't they masters of their own houses? Have they called upon you? You come to them against their will, you offer them violence, but not civilization. "There, gentlemen, is the thesis I do not hesitate to say that this is not politics, nor is it history: it is political metaphysics. ("Ah, Ah" on far left.)3 

. . . Gentlemen, I must speak from a higher and more truthful plane. It must be stared openly that, in effect, Superior races have rights over inferior races. (Movement on many benches on the far left.) 

M. JULES MAIGNE Oh! You dare to say this in the country which has proclaimed the rights of man! 

M. DE GUILLOUTET This is a justification of slavery and the slave trade! 

M. JULES FERRY If M. Maigne is right, if the declaration of the rights of man was written for the blacks of equatorial Africa, then by what right do you impose regular commerce upon them? They have not called upon you. 

M. RAOUL DUVAL We do not want to impose anything upon them. It is you who wish to do so! 

M. JULES MAIGNE To propose and to impose are two different things! 

M. GEORGES PERIN4 In any case, you cannot bring about commerce by force. 

M. JULES FERRY I repeat that superior races have a right, because they have a duty. They have the duty to civilize inferior races. . . . (Approbation from the left. New interruptions the extreme left and from the right.) . . . .  

That is what I have to answer M. Pelletan in regard to the second point upon which he touched. 

He then touched upon a third, more delicate, more serious point, and upon which I ask your permission to express myself quite frankly. It is the political side of the question. The honorable M. Pelletan, who is a distinguished writer, always comes up with remarkably precise formulations. I will borrow from him the one which lie applied the other day to this apect of colonial policy. 

.. It is a system," he says, "which consists of seeking out compensations in the Orient with a Circumspect and peaceful seclusion which is actually imposed upon us in Europe." 

I would like to explain myself in regard to this. I do not like this word "compensation," and, in effect, not here but elsewhere it has often been used in a treacherous way. If what is being said or insinuated is that a republican minister could possibly believe that there are in any part of the world compensations for the disasters which we have experienced,5 an injury is being inflicted . . . and an injury undeserved by that government. (Applause at the center and left.) I will ward off this injury with all the force of my patriotism! (New applause and bravos from the same benches. ) 

Gentlemen, there are certain considerations which merit the attention of all patriots. The conditions of naval warfare have been profoundly altered. ("Very true, Very true"') 

At this time, as you know, a warship cannot carry more than fourteen days' worth of coal, no matter how perfectly it is organized, and a ship which is out of coal is a derelict on the surface of the sea, abandoned to the first person who comes along. Thence the necessity of having on the oceans provision stations, shelters, ports for defense arid revictualling. (Applause at the center and left. Various interruptions. ) And it is for this that we needed Tunisia, for this that we needed Saigon and the Mekong Delta, for this that we need Madagascar, that we are at Diego-Suarez and Vohemar6 and will never leave them! (Applause from a great number of benches.) Gentlemen, in Europe as it is today, in this competition of so many rivals which we see growing around us some by perfecting their military or maritime forces, others by the prodigious development of an ever growing population; in a Europe, or rather in a universe of this sort, a policy of peaceful seclusion or abstention is simply the highway to decadence! Nations are great in our times only by means of the activities which they develop; it is not simply by the peaceful shining forth of institutions" (Interruptions and laughter on the lelt and right) that they are great at this hour. . . .  

As for me, I am astounded to find the monarchist parties becoming indignant over the fact that the Republic of France is following a policy which does not confine itself to that ideal of modesty, of reserve, and, if you will allow me the expression, of bread and butter (Interruptions and laughter on the left) which the representatives of fallen monarchies wish to impose upon France. (Applause at the center.) . . . 

(The Republican Party) has shown that it is quite aware that one cannot impose upon France a political ideal conforming to that of nations like independent Belgium and the Swiss Republic; that something else is needed for France: that she cannot be merely a free country, that she must also be a great country, exercising all of her rightful influence over the destiny of Europe, that she ought to propagate this influence throughout the world and carry everywhere that she can her language, her customs, her flag, her arms, and her genius. (Applause at center and left.) 

1 The reference is to a trade treaty between Great Britain and France that lowered tariffs between the two nations.
2 Pelletan (1846-1915) was a patriotic, radical republican politician.
3 Going back to a tradition begun in the legislative assemblies of the French Revolution, democrats and republicans sat on the left, moderates in center, and conservatives and monarchists on the right. By the 1880s the "left" included socialists.
4 Maigne, Guilloutet, Duval, and Perin were all members of the assembly.
5 The reference is to France's defeat by Prussia and the German states in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871.
6 Madagascar port cities.

The Burdens of Imperialism
72 v Rudyard Kipling THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN

Rudyard Kipling (1864-1936) was one of the most popular British writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Born in India, he was educated in England, and oil his return to India in 1882 he established as career as a journalist, poet, and a writer of stories. fie is best remembered today for his glorification of the British Empire and the heroism of the British soldier in India and Burma. He wrote and dedicated "The White Man's Burden" to the United States in 1899 oil the occasion of the U.S. annexation of the Philippines. 


  1. What is the "white man's burden?" 
  2. What does Kipling's poem describe as the major purpose of imperialism?
  3. What does the poem imply about Kipling's attitude toward non-Western peoples?
  4. What might account for the poem's wide appeal?
  5. To what extent do Kipling's ideas agree with the arguments of Jules Ferry (Source 71)?
  6. How do Kipling's views of imperialism compare to the motives of the Church of England Missionary Society in New Zealand (Chapter 7, source 60) and George A. Robinson in Tasmania (Chapter 7, source 61)?
Take up the White Man's burden 
Send forth the best ye breed 
Go bind your sons to exile 
To serve Your captives' need 
To wait in heavy harness, 
On fluttered folk, and wild - 
Your new-caught. sullen peoples, 
Half-devil and half-child. 
Take up the White Man's burden 
In patience to abide, 
To veil the threat of terror 
And check the show of pride. 
By open speech and simple, 
An hundred times made plain, 
To seek another's profit, 
And work another's gain. 
Take up the White Man's burden 
The savage wars of peace - 
Fill full the mouth of famine 
And bid the sickness cease; 
And when your goal is nearest 
The end for others sought, 
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly 
Bring all our hope to nought. 

Take up the White Man's burden 
No tawdry rule of kings, 
But toll of serf and sweeper 
The tale of common things. 
The ports ye shall not enter, 
The roads ye shall not tread, 
Go make them with Your living, 
And mark them with your dead. 
Take up the White Man's burden 
And reap his old reward: 
The blame of those ye better, 
The hate of those ye guard 
The cry of hosts ye humor 
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: 
"Why brought ye us from bondage, 
Our loved Egyptian night?" 
Take up the White Man's burden 
Ye dare not stoop to less - 
Nor call too loud on Freedom 
To cloak your weariness; 
By all ye cry or whisper, 
By all ye leave or do, 
The silent, sullen peoples 
Shall weigh your Gods and you. 
Take up the White man's burden 
Have done with childish days 
The lightly proffered laurel, 
The easy, ungrudged praise. 
Comes now, to search your manhood 
Through all the thankless years, 
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, 
The judgment of your peers!