Patriotism during World War 1

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Last Sunday marked the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War 1. In remembrance of World War 1, many of the world leaders met in Paris, France, where French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech at the Armistice Day Ceremony. According to the Washington State Post, Macron argued that “The millions of soldiers who died in the Great War fought to defend the universal values of France, and to reject the selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests. Because patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism.

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” Merriam Webster Dictionary explains that while patriotism and nationalism have similar meanings – a love and devotion for one’s country – they have most definitely taken on different connotations. Nationalism implies the love or devotion for one’s country, along with a degree of superiority, no matter what they do, which arguably removes a level of responsibility for a country’s actions.

Macron argues the importance of not confusing the two, explaining that “By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.” Merriam Webster Dictionary defines globalism as a national policy of treating the whole world as a proper sphere for political influence. Macron’s globalist standpoint also comes from his stressed importance on global treaties, including the Nuclear Iran deal, the Paris climate accords, etc. While it is important for the inward stability of a country to focus efforts towards themselves, the globalist outlook points out that if a country disregards the world’s stability, the country itself lack stability, and arguably, by pulling out of necessary deals with other countries, and by disregarding the interest of the world as a whole for one’s own self interest, a country betrays the worldwide connections that have been made through the years of globalization. One country is now connected to all of these others countries, and to disregard the countries only contribute to tense international relations, which in turn will have a negative effect on the nationalist country.

According to NPR, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also spoke at the Armistice Ceremony, warning of the “parallels between the present day and the unstable and dangerous 1930s” Expanding on this thought, the UN Secretary went on to say “’As I see it, several elements today have many parallels with both the start of the twentieth century and the 1930s, giving us grounds to fear that an unpredictable chain of events could ensue.” An article published in the New York Times explains that French President Emmanuel Macron labels himself not as a nationalist, but as a patriot, with Macron explaining “I do defend my country, I do believe that we have a strong identity. But I’m a strong believer in cooperation between the different peoples, and I’m a strong believer of the fact that this cooperation is good for everybody, where the nationalists are sometimes much more based on a unilateral approach and the law of the strongest, which is not my case.” Many of the pressing issues that must be solved in the world today require the cooperation of influential world leaders.

So how does Macron’s speech at the Armistice Day Ceremony impact international relations? The French President’s speech may inspire countries around the world to examine the values they hold regarding nationalism, globalism, and patriotism, and their place in the vastly connected circuit of countries that influence the world. Emmanuel Macron states “The American and French patriots of World War I embodied the timeless virtues of our two republics — honor and courage, strength and valor, love and loyalty, grace and glory, it is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.”


  1. Baker, Peter, and Alissa J. Rubin. “Trump’s Nationalism Rebuked at World War I Commemoration.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Nov. 2018,
  2. Sant, Shannon Van. “World Leaders Warn Against Nationalism At World War I Remembrance Ceremony.” NPR, NPR, 11 Nov. 2018,
  3. Nakamura, David, et al. “Macron Denounces Nationalism as a ‘Betrayal of Patriotism’ in Rebuke to Trump at WWI Remembrance.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 11 Nov. 2018,
  4. “The Difference Between ‘Patriotism’ and ‘Nationalism’.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 
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Patriotism during World War 1. (2021, Jun 12). Retrieved from