Imperial Historicism: An Example of Scientific Justification of Foreign Policy and Warfare in the 19–20th Centuries in Hungary
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The 19th century saw the modern development of nation states and the early development of human sciences. These progresses linked up with the ideologies of nation-building. Some European states having long history and imperial traditions applied the study of their own history to support their national political purposes. The new political ideology was historicism used for imperial purposes, imperial historicism. With the help of imperial historicism, 19th century thinkers and statesmen identifying themselves and their community with the historical forms of their community attempted to build or uphold their empire. Hungary, or at least some Hungarian thinkers and statesmen, was one of those states which used imperial historicism to define their foreign policy and internal political purposes. Examining political thinking of the 19th-century Hungary one can find several forms of imperial historicism and historical self-identification. This paper presents imperial historicism and its Hungarian forms.