Date of Award

Spring 2016

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Mary F Malone

Second Advisor

Jeannie L Sowers

Third Advisor

Stacy D VanDeveer


In the modern age, nationalism has profoundly impacted warfare. While nationalism has helped transform pre-modern societies into nation-states in part arguably to more efficiently wage warfare, it has also lead to a decline in the effectiveness of conventional military power. Warfare in late nineteenth century Cuba and the Philippines demonstrates many of the new features of “nationalist warfare,” showing increased violence is brought about not just by conventional technological developments, but also by “social technology” like nationalism. Nationalist ideology makes it nearly impossible for conventional military forces to occupy or control a nationalist society and suppress resistance to foreign rule. Attempts to suppress nationalist resistance can only be achieved by denying the rebellion external support and directly targeting the civilian population. The difficulty of suppressing nationalist resistance ensures increasingly protracted, bloody and destructive wars will be the norm and that within these conflicts targeting non-combatants and civilian infrastructure is virtually unavoidable.