This book describes the twin evolutions of nation and state from the Middle Ages to the present and links them to stages in European cultural history. The author contrasts the development of the state in different parts of Europe and shows how the concept merged with the idea of the nation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The modern idea of the nation-state, he argues, is rooted in the fundamental changes that took place during the industrial, political and cultural evolutions of this period.Alongside the history of the nation, the author charts successive stages in the development of nationalism, offering an explanation of why it was that in the decades preceding the twentieth century, the concept of the nation began to take hold of the people at large. He relates how the identification of nation with state and the definition of its internal and external enemies laid the ground for the pivotal social and political developments of the twentieth century.In the final part of the book the author traces the attempts in Western Europe since 1945 to come to terms with nationalism; and examines the implications of the rise of nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe. Peace in Europe is threatened, he suggests, not only by the resurgence of national interests in both East and West but also by the attempts to impose unity on the many unique ways of life that have evolved in the nations of Europe. A challenging and immediately relevant work, of real importance to anyone concerned with the future of Europe in particular, and modern global politics in general.
Schulze demonstrates a high level of competence in tracing the growth of the nation and the state from the time of Charlemagne to the reign of Napoleon. But it is in his account of that point in the early 19th century when the nation and state fuse that his book achieves brilliance.