"the patriotism of Valmy and the nationalism of Vichy" is a bar

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May 23, 2022Liked by John Ganz

"Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved."

Orwell is gliding a little lightly over this. He has a distinction to make -- but it doesn't directly follow that the distinction is well captured in those two words.

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As always, your posts are terrific. I believe the distinction between good and bad nationalism goes back to Hans Kohn. The standard history of the 19th-century trajectory in Germany from an elite phenomenon on the Left to a mass phenomenon on the Right is complicated by the popularity of French nationalism during the Revolution and the ambivalent relation of German Liberals to nationalism throughout the century. Historians as far back as Lewis Namier have blamed racist Liberals for the failure of 1848. I got interested in the subject after discovering that the subject of my biography wrote an essay on nationalism in 1878, making him (as far as I know) the third scholar to address it after Fustel de Coulanges and Lord Acton. Here's the citation:

du Bois-Reymond, Emil.“ Über das Nationalgefühl. In der Sitzung der Akademie der Wissenschaften zur Geburtstagsfeier des Kaisers und Königs am 28. März 1878 gehaltene Rede.” In Reden. 2 vols. 1: 654-677. Leipzig: Veit, 1912.

I discuss this on pp. 216-219 in my book in the context of a patriotic speech against French aggression in 1870, which might be the turning point in your analysis from good to bad.

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