This book describes the twin evolutions of nation and state from the Middle Ages to the present and links them to stages in European cultural history. The author contrasts the development of the state in different parts of Europe and shows how the concept merged with the idea of the nation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The modern idea of the nation state, he argues, is rooted in the fundamental changes that took place during the industrial, political and cultural evolutions of this period. Alongside the history of the nation the author charts successive stages in the development of nationalism, offering an explanation of why it was that in the decades preceding the twentieth century the concept of the nation began to take hold of the people at large. The identification of nation with state and the definition of its internal and external enemies laid the ground for the extreme developments of the twentieth century. In the final part of the book the author traces the attempts in Western Europe since 1945 to come to terms with nationalism; and examines the implications of the rise of nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe.Peace in Europe is threatened, he suggests, not only by the resurgence of national interests in both East and West but also by the attempts to impose unity on the many unique ways of life that have evolved in the nations of Europe.