Describe three key events each from the unification of Italy and Germany. Why do you think Germany became a strong nation, while Italy remained weak?
Italian unification failed in 1848. In the 1850s leadership in the Risorgimento fell to Camillo di Cavour, premier of Sardinia. Cavour began by liberal reforms within Sardinia and created an image of modern progressivism. He also brought the French into an alliance against the Austrian overlords of Italy. In the war that followed Cavour’s diplomatic maneuvers, Austria’s defeat delivered Lombardy to the kingdom of Sardinia. Other small northern Italian states were added through plebiscites. Central Italy followed in the same fashion. Under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Thousand Red Shirts, the king of Sicily was overthrown. Cavour also invaded southern Italy, leading to the declaration of a united Italy under Victor Emmanuel II in 1861. By 1870 Victor Emmanuel also gained control of Rome and Venetia, completing the unification of the Italian peninsula.
Many events lead to the unification of German. Otto von Bismarck was the architect of German unity in the name of preserving the leadership of Prussia. He invented the practice of realpolitik, pursuit of national interests at all costs. Bismarck’s talent was his ability to join the conservative Junkers with the liberals in the pursuit of a united Germany. He utilized the Zollverein to isolate Austria economically, reorganized the Prussian army, and created a crisis between Austria and Prussia over management of the newly conquered territories of Schleswig and Holstein. In the Seven Weeks’ War, Bismarck’s new military forces destroyed the myth of Austrian dominance in central Europe. Austria withdrew from the emerging Germany. The Habsburg Empire divided itself into a dual monarchy. Austria-Hungary, under a single Habsburg ruler. With Austria removed as a potential rival, Bismarck was free to pressure the fragmented states of southern Germany into accepting Prussian leadership. French resistance to further gains in Prussian authority in central Europe led to the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Faced with a French threat, the southern German states joined Prussia, as Bismarck had planned. The war with France was swiftly concluded in Prussia’s favor. In the glow of victory, the new German Empire was created in defeated France at the palace of Versailles. The constitution was ostensibly liberal, it included universal male suffrage and a representative legislative assembly but the government was responsive only to the chancellor and his professional bureaucracy. Unification led to the establishment of a single national market and a single financial system.
It is a matter of great debate amongst historians as to whether or not Germany could have been united without Bismarck, and if his contribution to the unification has been exaggerated. Whilst it is true that Bismarck was instrumental in the unification of Germany, many other factors also contributed, and many historians see his involvement as more of a catalyst to speed up the process. In support ...
Italy remained weak because Cavour obtains the support of the people and had more of a delicate approach to foreign policy. He carefully used France to Italy’s advantage while attempting to remain on friendly terms with them. Cavour strengthened the country by encouraging industrial development,
building railroads, fostering education and freeing peasants. “Cavour undertook liberal administrative reforms that included tax reform, stabilization of the currency, improvement of the railroad system, the creation of a transatlantic steamship system, and the support of private enterprise” (Civilization in the West, pg 710).
As for Bismarck, he was much more heavy handed and cared little for public support. He fought for German unification and said that the issue would not be settled by speech but by blood and iron meaning military power. He also collected taxes and ruled illegally until 1866. “Bismarck emerged as the supreme practioner of Realpolitik, the ruthless pursuit by any means, including illegal and violent ones, to advance the interests of his country. As a politician, Bismarck learned how to exploit their common ground” (Civilization in the West, pg 710).
... were concerned in the way of Italy, Cavour had made a smart move by involving Italy in the Crimean War on the ... mainly in the Franco-Prussian War. The Prussian Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck provoked Napoleon into declaring war with Prussia, mostly in ... of Metternich, and Frederick Wilhelm IV initially seemed to support Prussian revolutionaries. However eventually the revolutionaries and liberals were ...
Germany always had a centralized government whereas Italy was divided into more separate states with no centralized government