International Nationalism – Then and Now

By: Willem Nesbitt

Both of David Motadel’s articles explore the idea of how nationalist and fascist movements, while espousing assertions of homogeneity and a focus on the nation-state, employ the use of international relations to bolster and strengthen their causes. An interesting thread that links both articles is the continuity of this internationalism from the rise of fascism in the mid-twentieth century into the modern day. With parties advocating for a wide range of fascist and nationalist ideas as tepid as opposing the EU and policies (in the case of Nazi Germany) as extreme as genocide, these nationalist movements separated by over seventy years employ similar tactics regarding international cooperation.

                Over the course of the Second World War, Germany increasingly took favour towards associating with nationalist and anti-imperialist movements in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The influence of Nazi Germany was appealing to these nationalist movements and leaders thanks to what they saw as “a global order based on nation-states, not multiethnic empires” (Motadel, p. 845) spearheaded by Germany, and this attraction sees parallels in modern-day nationalist movements. With the European Union grappling with the effects of an isolationist Britain and the rise of right-wing nationalism in members such as Poland and Czechia, Europe again is seeing a re-emergence of nationalist parties and leaders associating with one another – like with the German and Italian alliance in the 1930s, we can see similar patterns emerging in Le Pen’s and Salvini’s Franco-Italian cooperation. In an increasingly connected world, one which has come to see the increased use of the anti-Semitic dog whistle “globalist,” the international connections of nationalist movements have reappeared once again, an ironic statement, to say the least.

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