What are the limitations of the principle of self-determination for nationalities?

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It is neither desirable nor practicable to extend the application of this doc trine beyond a certain limit.

1. An undue application of this principle may result in the disintegra­tion of most of the existing nation states. Great Britain for example, may be divided into England, Wales and Scotland. Similarly, Switzerland, already a small state, may be divided into three separate states.

2. The application of this principle to some of the states has already proved to be dangerous because of the creation of certain small states, which are incapable of maintaining a strong defence and stable economy. It has proved to be one of the greatest curses that have befallen Europe.

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The small national states which were created after World War I could not maintain their effective independence. They soon fell under the influence of big military powers. They had to barter away their independence or the sake of military protection and join regional military pacts.

3. It is not always true to say that mono-national states are better governed than multi-national states. On the contrary, backward and incapable nationalities may gain greater advantages by coming into contact with an advanced nationality under the same sovereignty.

Lord Acton held that the combination of different Nations in one state is as necessary a condition of civilized life as is the combination of individuals to form society. Inferior races make progress by living in political union with races intellectually superior.

Exhausted and decaying nationalities arc revived by their contact with a younger vitality. It is further pointed out that nationalities which do not have political capacity to administer their own affairs, should not be encouraged to ask for separate states.

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It is in the interests of world peace and order that the idea of separate states by various nationalities should not be pushed too far. We should not, however, forget that this right should not be denied in cases of forceful annexation of one state by another.

We may conclude that the right of self-determination of nationalities is good under certain limitations. The U.S.S.R. and Switzerland have achieved great success in solving the problem of nationalities within the same federal framework.

The problem has been solved by recognizing the separate identities of different socio-ethnic groups and allowing them maximum possible cultural freedom.

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