What does nationalism mean? Webster's New World Dictionary defines nationalism in several parts. One section reads as followed; "a devotion to one's nation; patriotism excessive, narrow, or jingoist patriotism; chauvinism." Leaders and citizens of a nation can show nationalism in many ways both positively and negatively. There are numerous ways to express people's "devotion to one's nation," one being during times of war when people show true patriotism to their country. During World War II many people through out the world made many sacrifices for their country. Young men in the United States volunteered in to military service, fighting for causes that in many cases would never directly effect his way of life or his families. But because of feelings of nationalism towards his country he answered the call of "Uncle Sam", leaving family behind to fight for his country half way around the world in some instances.
In the United States during these times of war woman showed a great deal of nationalism.
Prior to World War II, women primarily stayed at home as housewives and to raise the children. Women's roles would soon change though as more and more men were leaving to fight across the Atlantic, industrial workers were needed and called on to build the weapons of war. Because of a strong sense of nationalism, women answered her countries call for labor, leaving home to work long hours, sometimes 7 days a weeks, in factories all the while raising her children and maintaining a household.
Aside from times of war, nationalism can be expressed in various other ways. A tragedy can bring a countries people to a high level of nationalism. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1961 brought a country together as they mourned the loss of a one of its most popular leaders. Years later citizens again showed a great deal of nationalism during NASA's failed Challenger space shuttle mission. During the Olympic Games, nationalism is portrayed as athletes from counties all around the world compete against one another in a quest for Olympic gold and the hearts of his or her country. In 1980, the United States hockey team defeated the mighty Russian team on its way to winning the gold medal. After this victory, American flags flew from almost ever house in honor of our hero's on the ice.
Nationalism can also be shown in a negative manner to in an attempt to bring a cause or belief to the fore front. Terrorist of some countries and governments believe that violence can be a productive tool in changing national or international policies. The bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut is an example of this type of fanatical display of nationalism as is the burning of another countries flag while protesting against that countries policies. During World War II, Japanese aviators, or Kamikaze pilots had such a strong sense of patriotism that they were willing to die with "honor" for their country by flying suicide missions against the United States Naval forces in the Pacific Ocean.
In conclusion, nationalism can be a remarkable thing since it can bring positive feelings of community or morale within a nation. Citizens that have a strong sense of patriotism towards his or her country will unite and work together to make their country stronger even in the midst of adversity. On the contrary, too much nationalism that is misdirected, may lead to a "blindness" of the truth, which in turn can lead to narrow mindness in beliefs and ultimately the demise of the nation.