Thursday, August 28, 2014

Patriotism is not Nationalism

Greetings to everyone who finds this either by luck or boredom.   I have recently finished my final commentary essay for my English Composition class and, though this is a requirement, I wanted to put down a concise essay as to my position on this topic.

Patriotism is not Nationalism.

     Though often confused, Patriotism and Nationalism are almost opposites in reality.  The patriot is easily identified by their love the red, white and blue.  They often wear flag themed garments and jewelry during national holidays and sing loudest during any singing of the National Anthem.  Some patriots would take it so far as to know the full 4 verses to the Star Spangled banner and find offense at anyone who does not remove their hat or place their right hand over their heart during it's singing.    As a Veteran of 8 years in the US Army, I fall easily within this group.   The United States was founded on the backs of it's patriots.  People like George Washington, who's leadership in the face of adversity led to him being our first president and Nathan Hale who was execute for spying on the British in New York but who's last words "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." are not for himself, but his country.    The patriot would fight for the defense of his country and way of life.

       Nationalism is a much more sinister beast.    Our most notable historical example of Nationalism is the NAZI Party of Germany during the earlier parts of the 20th Century.   As Hitler gained power and the German War machine was being warmed up,  propaganda about racial purity and the belief that strength of body was better than strength of mind was spread liberally throughout the German educational system and through distributed materials.    Strong belief that one’s country is the best and it’s leadership the most suited to rule can lead straight to disaster, or in this case, World Wars.   Most often strong Nationalist leaders have won the hearts, minds, and fists of their people only to later destroy the very thing they used to gain power.  Such was the case with China under Moa Sedong and Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh.   In each case, the use of Nationalism was used to push a people either in war, or into communism, and sometimes both.   


"The Execution of Nathan Hale, 1776," EyeWitness to History, 

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Hickman, K. (2014, August 28). What Caused the Vietnam War? Retrieved August 28, 2014, from