Fatherland is a word used, most generally, to refer to the nation of one's "fathers" or "forefathers." It can be viewed as a nationalist concept, insofar as it refers to nations. (Compare to motherland and homeland.)
Groups that refer to their homeland as a "fatherland" (or rather, cognates of this English word in their languages), or, arguably, associate it primarily with paternal concepts include:
- Romans, as patria, the rootword for patriotism
- the French, as Patrie (as in the national anthem la Marseillaise)
- Armenians, as Hayrenik (as in the national anthem Mer Hayrenik)
- the Basque, particularly the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna, ETA) organization
- the Poles, as Ojczyzna (but there is also macierz, that is Motherland)
- the Germans, as das Vaterland (as in the former national anthem Deutschland Uber Alles)
- (Note, however, that "das" is grammatically neuter; das Vaterland is "the land of my father," not "the land that is my father." Die Heimat (the homeland) is grammatically feminine, as is "die Mutter Erde" (Mother Earth). The german "Vaterland" has been used since the 12th century with the meaning "native country". An adjective "vaterländisch" is used since the 18th century, meaning something like patriotic or nationalistic. The German "Mutterland" (motherland) refers to a mother country in contrast to its colonies.
"Fatherland" is also the title of a thriller novel by the English writer and journalist, Robert Harris, which doubles as a work of virtual history and postulates a world in which Nazi Germany was triumphant as a consequence of World War II.
External Links and References
Nationalism and Ethnicity - A Theoretical Overview
The problem of German identity...
Nation, State, and Economy: The Nationality Principle in Politics: Liberal or Pacifistic Nationalism, Ludwig von Mises
National anthems ("Allons enfants de la Patrie", "Blühe, deutsches Vaterland")
Origins of the German State, Robert Selig, German Life