The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the vast Soviet Empire have led to an unexpected revival of nationalism in Europe. Long-forgotten claims, minority conflicts, and nationalist rhetoric have once again taken the stage. The latest victims of a most powerful ideology, the liberated nations in eastern and south-eastern Europe seem to be plunging back into a traumatic past when rampant nationalism tore apart societies, destroyed existing states, and created new ones. Peter Alter traces the origins of modern nationalism and analyzes its varied manifestations over the last 200 years. He discusses the social basis and organizational structure of nationalist movements, the glorification of the nation-state, and the arguments put forward by supporters and opponents of nationalism. At the end of his cross-national survey Alter turns to the present: to the significance of the national ideology in the process of decolonization since World War I, its re-emergence in today's world and, finally, its seemingly disastrous role in post-communist Eastern Europe.