Table of Content | Introduction | Freedom | Faith and War (II) | Where We Come From... | Imprint


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War was not the origin of the nation, but often enough its catalyst. From the very beginning nations have been able to find their identity through delimitation and enmity toward neighbouring countries. They defined themselves through contrast and contradistinction and thus evolved an idea of their own self-identity. It was the decisive victories, but above all the heroic defeats, the courage and the readiness to sacrifice on the part of both individuals and the people as a whole which were glorified in the overall design of national history. And it was through wars and battles, victories and defeats, heroes and victims, that national concord and unity were evoked as the guarantee for independence, sovereignty and freedom. These were the things worth fighting and dying for – and there was no end to the reminders in both word and illustration calling for such independence.

A basic condition for the unity, but also for the differences between the European nations was Christianity. The reference to Christianity as the pre-eminent Western religion explains for its part the sometimes fanciful and obsessive perception of Islam as the danger and enemy par excellence. Belief did not always unify the nations, however. As the example of Germany drastically demonstrates, faith was also able to divide nations and lead them into war.

Austria and Poland

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The Relief of Vienna, 1683

Spain level1.gif (211 Byte)

Don Pelayo and the Battle of Covadonga, 718

level1.gif (211 Byte) The Surrender of Granada, 1492
Greece level1.gif (211 Byte)

The Fall of Constantinople, 1453

The Czech Republic level1.gif (211 Byte) Jan Hus at the Council of Constance, 1415
Germany level1.gif (211 Byte) Luther Burns the Papal Bull Threatening Excommunication, 1520
Sweden level1.gif (211 Byte) The Death of Gustavus II Adolphus at the Battle of Lützen, 1632
Poland level1.gif (211 Byte) The Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in the Year 1410
Hungary level1.gif (211 Byte) The Death of Lajos II after the Battle of Mohács, 1526
France level1.gif (211 Byte) St. Joan Liberates Orléans, 1429
Great Britain level1.gif (211 Byte) The Battle of Trafalgar and the Death of Lord Nelson, 1805
Belgium level1.gif (211 Byte) The Arrest and Execution of the Counts Egmont and Hoorne, 1567/68
The Netherlands level1.gif (211 Byte) The Heroic Sacrifice of Jan van Speyk, 1831
Norway level1.gif (211 Byte) The Battle of Kringen, 1612
Switzerland level1.gif (211 Byte) Winkelried's Death at the Battle of Sempach, 1386
Denmark level1.gif (211 Byte) Niels Ebbesen Murders Count Gert, 1340
level1.gif (211 Byte) The German-Danish War in the Year 1864
Italy level1.gif (211 Byte) The Foundation of the Lombard League, 1167


Table of Content | Introduction | Freedom | Faith and War (II) | Where We Come From... | Imprint

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