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The Nationalities of Europe: The Growth of National Ideologies

In The Nationalities of Europe, first published in 1945, Munro Chadwick investigates the issue of nationality and opens a discussion about the growth of national ideologies in Europe, with an exclusive concern for language and linguistics. At the very beginning of the book, he clearly states that “he is not concerned either to defend nationalism or to condemn it” and he presents his main purpose as “calling attention to the need for more knowledge, not only of national movements –their characteristics and causes, and the ideologies associated with them– but also, and more especially, for more knowledge of the nationalities themselves” (p. vii).

In The Nationalities of Europe, first published in 1945, Munro Chadwick investigates the issue of nationality and opens a discussion about the growth of national ideologies in Europe, with an exclusive concern for language and linguistics. At the very beginning of the book, he clearly states that “he is not concerned either to defend nationalism or to condemn it” and he presents his main purpose as “calling attention to the need for more knowledge, not only of national movements –their characteristics and causes, and the ideologies associated with them– but also, and more especially, for more knowledge of the nationalities themselves” (p. vii).

Chadwick largely bases his evaluation of the issue of nationalities in Europe on a binary approach. He suggests reading European nationalism and its growth firstly, and most significantly, through its language(s) and secondly through its interplay of knowledge and ignorance. In the first chapter, Chadwick focuses on all possible relations between nationality and language and all the differences between them. According to him, while nationalism is “a vivifying and inspiring force,” language “is a stimulus of a powerful antagonistic force;” he contends that, “all nationality movements on the Continent seem to be connected with language” (pp. 2-3).

Chadwick investigates what kind of nationality can be derived from a language, spoken by both minor and major components of any kind of communion, and he discusses “the feeling of nationality” in detail. Chadwick makes a distinction between nationality and patriotism, arguably examining the concepts more philosophically. He defines nationality as something “inspired by opposition or aversion to persons and things which are strange or unintelligible.” In contrast, he understands patriotism as springing from “love of home and the desire to preserve and to protect it,” and adds that “both are natural and primary feelings

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