The tension and interdependence of the concepts of the empire and nation state in 19th century Europe was founded on the basis of the power struggle and division of ideas, being both nationalistic and imperial, over what Europe represents and what it should aspire to become. Differences in ideology between ideas of empires and nations had also accounted for geo-political divides. It represents the individuality that some movements had sought to find and thus, resist from any form of imperial rule. The rise of nationalistic and nation-orientated movements and revolutions, in opposition to any form of imperial rule and idea of empire over time, indicate the various attempts to re-define and re-imagine what it is that a society belongs to; and the never ending struggle for various groups throughout history, seeking to find autonomy for their own affairs. .
The pressure with the idea of the nation state is also rooted in the notion of attempts to cast off "foreign" interventions. It is the idea that a nation had the right to practice their own autonomy and reject any form of occupation of another power. As Erica Benner (2013) mentions in Nationalism: Intellectual Origins, a German reaction to the revolutions in America and France, which "claimed to found new national forms of legitimacy on universal, republican principles" (Benner 2013, p. 45), which was when the confederation of German states in 1800, or the Holy Roman Empire, were collapsing due to the pressure of the revolutionary wars. Significantly, Napoleons invasion of Prussia in 1806, became a turning point for German philosopher Gottlieb Fichte to suggest substitutions to a nationhood based on republican concepts which was present in revolutionary France (p. 45). Fichte did support the French revolution initially, by even promoting the belief of using force to intervene in other countries and expand an ideology, and it illustrates the significant ideas of the radical nation state and ''empire.