Unification of Italy summaries



Unification of Italy summaries


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Unification of Italy summaries


Time line for Italian Unification 1815-71


1815: Congress of Vienna – old order restored – 5 main divisions restored – reflected high level of Austrian control

1820: Revolt in Naples (sparked by revolution in Spain that had forced King to restore liberal constitution). Carbonari were dominant force and enjoyed early success – Ferdinand agreed to new constitution based on Spanish model

Troppau Protocol issued by Metternich

1821: News of uprising in Naples spread to Sicily. Congress called at Laibach – Ferdinand denounced constitution & asked for help from Austrians
Rising in Piedmont saw abdication of Victor Emmanuel I in favour of Charles Felix. He was absent so Charles Albert was declared regent. He issued a constitution which was rejected by Charles Felix on his return to Piedmont – ruled as autocrat till his death in 1831.
Piedmontese revolutionaries defeated in battle

1830 Revolution in Paris saw end of Charles X & Bourbon restoration

1831: Rising in Modena – crushed by Austrian troops
: Rising in Papal States – crushed by Austrian & Papal troops

1846 : Election of Pope Pius IX

1847: Number of reforms carried out eg creating freer press, a civic guard, and Council of State (see as the first steps to democracy)

1848: Uprising in Sicily – demand for independence from mainland – later crushed by force
Rising spread to the mainland and King Ferdinand II forced to grant constitution after Pius IX refused to allow Austrian troops to cross into papal territory
Charles Albert made some concessions, most important being the Statuto which created a parliamentary monarchy.
March 1848 Metternich resigned as Foreign Minister – this was signal for revolutions to spread
Risings in Lombardy & Venetia – Austrian forces under Radetsky withdrew to the Quadrilateral.
Charles Albert now declared war on Austria - invaded
Lombardy. Troops from all over Italy came to help.
Puis IX dealt bitter blow with issue of Papal Allocution
Despite early successes Piedmontese forces defeated at Custozza. Fighting ended by Armistice of Salasco
Pius IX fled from Rome – revolutionary government set up.

1849:  Charles Albert was persuaded to attack Austrians again – decisively beaten at Novara.
Republic declared in Rome – later defeated by French     
Army despite

1852: Cavour appointed as PM of Piedmont

1854: Piedmont sent troop to support British and French in the Crimean War

1856: Congress of Paris – Cavour attended but took little part in the negotiations

1858: Orsini Bomb Plot forced Napoleon III into action. Agreed to support Piedmont by Compact of Plombieres

1859: War engineered with Austria.
Peaceful revolutions in Modena, Tuscany and Parma
2 defeats for the Austrians at Magenta and Solferino
Napoleon III then made peace with Austrians at Villafranca. Piedmont got Lombardy & Venetia, + 3 Duchies voted to join Piedmont

1860: Insurrection in Sicily. Garibaldi & The Thousand soon landed.  Victory at Calatafimi- Garabaldi in control of the island within 3 months
August – Garibaldi’s forces landed on mainland. Too late Ferdinand II made political concessions – he then fled.
September 1860 Piedmontese troops invaded the Papal States – victory at Casteldifardo
October – Garibaldi met Victor Emmanuel II at Teano and handed his conquests over.

1861; Death of Cavour

1862: Garibaldi led expedition to capture Rome – ‘ Roma o morte’. Unsuccessful!

1866: Austro-Prussian war. Italy acquired Venetia

1867: Garibaldi’s second attempt to take Rome halted by the French

1870: Outbreak of war between Prussia and France saw withdrawal of French garrison from Rome – declared capital Italy 


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Unification of Italy summaries

Italian Unification (1848-1870)


The movement to unite Italy into one cultural and political entity was known as the Risorgimento (literally, "resurgence"). Giuseppe Mazzini and his leading pupil, Giuseppe Garibaldi, failed in their attempt to create an Italy united by democracy. Garibaldi, supported by his legion of Red Shirts-- mostly young Italian democrats who used the 1848 revolutions as a opportunity for democratic uprising--failed in the face of the resurgence of conservative power in Europe. However, it was the aristocratic politician named Camillo di Cavour who finally, using the tools of realpolitik, united Italy under the crown of Sardinia.

"Realpolitik" is the notion that politics must be conducted in terms of the realistic assessment of power and the self-interest of individual nation-states (and the pursuit of those interests by any means, often ruthless and violent ones) and Cavour used it superbly. In 1855, as prime minister of Sardinia, he involved the kingdom on the British and French side of the Crimean War, using the peace conference to give international publicity to the cause of Italian unification. In 1858, he formed an alliance with France, one that included a pledge of military support if necessary, against Austria, Italy's major obstacle to unification. After a planned provocation of Vienna, Austria declared war against Sardinia in 1859 and was easily defeated by the French army. The peace, signed in November 1959 in Zurich, Switzerland, joined Lombardy, a formerly Austrian province, with Sardinia. In return, France received Savoy and Nice from Italy--a small price to pay for paving the way to unification.

Inspired by Cavour's success against Austria, revolutionary assemblies in the central Italian provinces of Tuscany, Parma, Modena, and Romagna voted in favor of unification with Sardinia in the summer of 1859. In the spring of 1860, Garibaldi came out of his self-imposed exile to lead a latter day Red Shirt army, known as the Thousand, in southern Italy. By the end of the year, Garibaldi had liberated Sicily and Naples, which together made up the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Cavour, however, worried that Garibaldi, a democrat, was replacing Sardinia, a constitutional monarchy, as the unifier of Italy. To put an end to Garibaldi's offensive, Cavour ordered Sardinian troops into the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples. After securing important victories in these regions, Cavour organized plebiscites, or popular votes, to annex Naples to Sardinia. Garibaldi, outmaneuvered by the experienced realist Cavour, yielded his territories to Cavour in the name of Italian unification. In 1861, Italy was declared a united nation-state under the Sardinian king Victor Immanuel II.

Reapolitik continued to work for the new Italian nation. When Prussia defeated Austria in a war in 1866, Italy struck a deal with Berlin, forcing Vienna to turn over Venetia. In addition, when France lost a war to Prussia in 1870, Victor Immanuel II took over Rome when French troops left. The entire boot of Italy was united under one crown.



Why did Cavour succeed and Garibaldi fail? Was it really only a matter of speed? If Garibaldi had started his crusade earlier and had time to conquer the Papal State before Cavour sent his troops to do so, would Cavour have been forced to give up his territory in the name of a united Italy? Doubtful. But is speed really the only issue? That, too, is doubtful. It seems that of the two, Cavour alone understood the relationship between national and international events, and was thus able to manipulate foreign policy for his own ends. Garibaldi, a democrat, a warrior, and an anti-Catholic, was without question on the road to conflict with the monarchies of Europe. Cavour, with the added credibility of representing a monarch, blended perfectly with the political situation in Europe at the time.

Cavour was a realist who practice realistic politics. He allied with France when necessary and with France's key enemy, Prussia, was necessary. By keeping the goal in mind, Cavour used international power to achieve his domestic goals. Garibaldi was forced to use his own grassroots strength, empowered by young Italian democrats interested in an idealistic future for their nation. In that manner, it is quite doubtful that Garibaldi would have ever been able to gain the upper hand in Italy, relative to Cavour.

Another important element of unification, especially in Italy's case, was how to deal with various cultural differences. Cavour, despite his leadership in introducing constitutional and liberal reforms in Sardinia, had no patience for such regionalism when his goal was Italian unification. He crushed regional and cultural differences with moderately conservative policies on social and political matters. In doing so, he began to alienate southern peasants and nobles, creating a regional gulf that would come back to haunt Italy in future years.


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Unification of Italy summaries

Italian Unification

Common Argument:

1.     1815                        paved the way for Italian Unification by strengthening Piedmont
2.     1830s-Carbonari      stirred up nationalism. Its failure due to loose organization also reminded Italians the importance of nation-wide organization.
3.     1830s-48-Mazzini   He established the Society of Young Italy, through which leaders for Risorgimento were trained. Besides, he also preached nationalism. As a result, centripetal force was created and developed.
4.     1848 Revolution     Piedmont was chosen as leader since Mazzini was too idealistic as shown in the Roman Republic, in which his ideas were discredited in the eyes of middle class and rich peasants. Pope Pius IX was also discredited since he refused to help Italians in the war against Austria in 1848. Moreover, the revolutions also reminded Italians the importance of foreign help against the great enemy, Austria.
5.     Emmanuel II           He appointed Cavour as Prime Minister and backed him up.
6.     Cavour                    a.     his successful reforms strengthened Piedmont’s military power
and economy.

  1. his far-sighted foreign policy in knowing the importance of foreign help also assured Piedmont the success of unification.
  2. Therefore, he helped Piedmont to take Lombardy by getting French help against Austria. He got Three Duchies, Papal States, Two Sicilies through Plebiscites and stopped foreign intervention.
  3. Although he died in 1861, he already laid down the foundation of Risorgimento and hence started its momentum.

7.     Garibaldi                        He got Two Sicilies and gave them up for avoiding civil war.
8.     Foreign aids                   a.         France helped Piedmont to get Lombardy by fighting against
Austria. Besides, she supervised the plebiscites on Three
Duchies. She allowed Piedmont a free hand on Two Sicilies and
Papal States, both of them were French sphere of influence.

  1. Prussia helped Piedmont to get Venetia and Rome.
  2. Britain stopped Russian and possibly French intervention on Garibaldi’s expedition.


    1. Nationalism or regionalism?

Especially on 1830-48 revolution organized by Carbonari. (p.6-9) Yet, it is agreed that nationalism did exist among revolutionary leaders, most of them were followers of Mazzini, who formed the National Society in 1857. In its propaganda and policy statements Piedmont was presented as the only Italian state capable of delivering national unity. ( The society openly turned its back on republicanism and invested its hopes for Italian unification in the Piedmontese monarchy.)

    1. The importance of Mazzini’s role in spreading nationalism?

It was Neo-Guelph movement, which advocated medieval federalism based on Papal minimal leadership with a weak central government, that was more influential among the intellectuals. Such unification proposal favoured regionalism (regional autonomy) and not nationalism since this movement advocated superficial unification under a weak central government. (p.3)

J.A.S. Grenville also questioned the importance of Mazzini’s teaching on nationalism among the common people, most of them lacked the necessary education to understand his ideas.

One may argue that Mazzini was at least successful in spreading nationalism among his followers who formed the National Society and helped the unification in 1860s. Yet, it should be emphasized that the National Society did not follow Mazzini’s ideas on republicanism, as shown in the policy of the Society and Garibaldi’s action in the Two Sicilies. In that way, it is doubtful that Mazzini was influential in the Risorgimento if his main ideas on republicanism was given up among his followers in 1860s.

    1. Piedmont as leader of Risorgimento: Piedmontization?
  1. Role of Cavour
    1. The importance of his reforms was exaggerated. P.22 JAS Grenville
    2. He aimed at conquering the Northern Italy only. Refer facts in p.12, 15-16 and argument in p.21-23.


Although Cavour did not intend to unify the whole Italy, he did start the momentum of the Risorgimento in 1859. Moreover, his diplomacy was also very important in getting foreign aids and preventing foreign intervention. Hence, he turned the chaos created by the National Society and Garibaldi into real gains of the unification; from possibility to reality. Nevertheless, it must be stressed that his role was related with external factor. The two factors are interwoven and determined the result of the unification, i.e. success or failure.

  1. Role of Garibaldi and National Society

    National Society prepared mood for war against Austria and organized revolts in
the Three Duchies. It was its insistence on the Risorgimento and hence opposed the
Pact of Villafranca that finally helped Piedmont unify with the duchies. P.12, 14-15

    Garibaldi turned the revolt in the Two Sicilies from a republican revolt into a
nationalist one. Besides, he gave up the Two Sicilies and agreed not to attack the
Papal States in 1861 (although later he did attack Rome twice). Therefore, he
avoided the split of Italy.

    National Society and Garibaldi were undoubtedly important because they insisted
on the unification of whole Italy and hence forced Piedmont, and Cavour, to unify
with central (Three Duchies) and Southern Italy (Two Sicilies and the Papal States).


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Unification of Italy summaries

Italian Unification, 1815-1871

Section 1: Italian Affairs 1815-48

1. Political Composition in 1815.
After the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire, the great powers considered that Italy was not sufficiently strong or self-supporting to stand alone.  The various units in Italy were as follows.
(a) Lombardy and Venetia.Both were placed under direct Austrian rule.
(b) The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily(the Two Sicilies). Austrian arms were responsible for restoring the tyrant Bourbon ruler King Ferdinand. He immediately concluded an offensive and defensive treaty with Austria.
(c) The Papal States.
(d) The duchies of Parma, Modena and Tuscany.Austrian princes or persons friendly to Austria or related to the House of Hapsburg were made rulers.
(c) Piedmont.This included Savoy, Nice, Genoa and the island of Sardinia. This was the only Italian state under Italian rule.

2. Barriers to Italian unity.
No great demand existed among Italians for unity after 1815.
(a) Tradition of localism and separatism.
(i) Numerous sovereign states: there had been little co-operation between Italian states in the past.
(ii) Geography: though Italy formed a unity on the map. There were many natural barriers, particularly mountain ranges, and too few roads.
(iii) Administration: There was no uniformity in the currencies, weights and measures.


(b) Autocratic rule.
Italy was a backward area, especially in the Papal States and the Two Sicilies. Local rulers, with the exception of those of Piedmont, opposed any plans for unity since they were likely to result in the loss of their powers and privileges.
 (c) The Roman Question.
The Pope had temporal power over central Italy. He was supported not only by loyal Catholics in Italy but by France and Austria. He opposed any movement in Italy likely to threaten his authority in the Papal States, and his territory constituted a wedge between the northern and southern parts of Italy.
(d) Presence of Austria.
Austria was an important conservative Catholic power. This state had considerable influence in Italy after 1815, except in Piedmont, and was the chief barrier to the aspirations of Italian nationalists.

3. Early Italian revolts.
The revolts in the following states were easily suppressed by Austrian forces.
(a) Naples.In July 1820 General Pepe marched on the capital and forced a democratic constitution on the King. This was based on the Spanish constitution of 1812. Eventually the King was able to gain the support of Austria whose armymarched on Naples and punished the rebels.
(b) Piedmont.In March 1821 a mutiny occurred in the Piedmontese army, with demands for a constitution. Victor Emmanuel abdicated in favour of his brother Charles Felix. The young Charles Albert, known for his liberal sympathies, became regent. Felix appealed to Austria, and Austrian troops put down the rising at Novara.
(c) Papal States.At the end of 1830 disorders spread throughout central Italy in a chain reaction from Modena to Parma and from there to the Papal States. Provisional governments were formed. In 1831 rebels in the Papal States demanded civilian government, but Pope Gregory XWI appealed to Austria, and the rebellion was crushed.

4. Factors promoting unity.
Despite the causes of disunity, Italy constituted an entity from the racial, linguistic and cultural standpoints. Factors making for eventual political unity were as follows.

(a) Growth of national feeling.
Among the intelligentsia and the progressive middle classes there was a growing interest in the prospects of unity after 1815. It was inspired by hatred of Austria and memories of French liberalism.
(b) Economic progress.
The Italian economy was slowly beginning to modernise and catch up with the rest of Europe.
(c) Cultural and literary works.
Certain men helped to inspire the people to resist the tyranny of foreign rule. Notable contributors were the following.
(i) Vittorio Alfieri (1749-1803
(ii) Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837
(iii) Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873
(d) Activities of secret societies.
(i) The Carbonari: this was the so-called Society of Charcoal-burners which originated in Naples.  It aimed to expel the Austrians from Italy and played an active part in the revolutions of 1820-1 and 1831.
(ii) The Federati: this was an aristocratic society in Piedmont. It supported the 1821 rebellion.

5. Work of Mazzini.
Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-72), the son of a Genoese doctor, was the soul of Italian unification.
(a) His ideas.
Apart from being a patriot, he was a gifted speaker and writer. He believed that a nation had a moral purpose and that unity, achieved through war, would be a stage towards a free confederation of all Europe influenced by a spirit of Christian brotherhood. He was described by Metternich as the most dangerous man in Europe.
(b) His activities.
In 1827 he joined the Carbonari. In 1830 he was arrested, imprisoned and then exiled. Charles Albert, who became King of Sardinia in 1831, ignored Mazzini's appeal to assume the leadership of the movement for Italian freedom.
In 1831 he formed at Marseilles the society of "Young Italy". It was designed to be a national rather than a regional movement and soon had a large membership throughout Italy.
(c) His contribution.
He was invaluable in encouraging many Italians in the cause of unity and in showing them a way to achieve it. He was the first Italian to promote nationalism and to work actively towards a united Italy through political action. He spread ideas for:
(i) the overthrow of native and foreign tyrants in Italy;
(ii) the unification of Italy on republican and democratic lines;
(iii) the need for Italians to achieve their goal through good organisation and their own united efforts.

6. Reforms of the new Pope.
In June 1846 Giovanni Mastai Ferretti (1792-1878) was elected Pope Pius IX. In the first few months of Pius's reign the following developments occurred.
(a) An amnesty was given to exiles and political prisoners, limited freedom of speech was granted and the press censorship was modified.
(b) In June 1847 the Pope agreed to the appointment of a Council of Ministers to help in the governing of the Papal States.

Section 2: REVOLUTIONS OF 1848-9

7. Outbreak of revolution.
In 1848 a series of events led to either the expulsion of Austrian troops or the granting of political concessions in the following states.
(a) Lombardy.In January the citizens of Milan abandoned smoking to annoy the Austrians, who monopolised the tobacco trade. Later, on 18th March, a desperate five-day battle resulted in the expulsion of the Austrian troops.
(b) Sicily.On 12th January rebels in Palermo defeated Ferdinand II's troops. The King was forced to accept the 1812 constitution and to extend it to Naples and grant an amnesty to political prisoners.
(c) Tuscany.On 11th February the Grand Duke agreed to allow representative government and the grant of a constitution.
(d) Piedmont.On 4th March Charles Albert, anxious to have the support of the liberals for any war with Austria, granted a constitution.
(c) The Papal States.On 15th March the Pope reluctantly accepted a new constitution.
(f) Venetia.On 22nd March Venice rose and expelled Austrian troops. Under Manin an independent republic was proclaimed.

8. Start of Austro-Piedmontese war.
Charles Albert became interested in the possibilities of taking Lombardy from Austria. He was influenced by Cavour, who wanted to unite the northern states in one economic unit. On 23rd March he issued a proclamation declaring that his people sympathised with the heroic struggles of Lombardy and Venice. His troops then attacked Austrian forces in Lombardy.

9. The Pope and the war.
When the war in Lombardy began, Papal troops were sent to the north, presumably to cooperate with the Piedmontese army. However, on 29th April the Pope announced that he opposed offensive war against Austria and refused to permit his troops to fight against fellow Catholics. Therefore, in his desire for peace and legitimacy, the Pope had abandoned the national cause.
The results of the Pope's actions were as follows.
(a) The Pope lost the opportunity to pose as Italian leader.Liberals lost faith in the Pope as a potential political leader. Thus Gioberti's solution had little chance of being accepted. People were now keener to turn to Piedmont for a leader in establishing unity.
(b) The Italian revolt was seriously weakened. Popular enthusiasm for the national cause weakened, since the Pope no longer gave it his moral support.


10. The revolt weakened by disunity.
Mutual suspicions and jealousies prevented effective co-ordination between the Italian states.
(a) Lombardy and Venetia.Friction existed between Venice and Milan. When the two states had asserted their independence from Austria they were reluctant at first to surrender it to a new North Italian kingdom based on Turin in Piedmont.
(b) Southern Italy.Before they were actually withdrawn from the north, the Neapolitan and Papal troops had been instructed not to cross the Po into Austrian territory. In the south there was rivalry between Messina and Palermo.
(c) Tuscany.Leopold, the Grand Duke, approved of the idea of calling an Italian Constituent Assembly for settling the conditions of union among the states. The scheme failed owing to the opposition of Piedmont and the Pope. Leopold thereupon abandoned the national cause.

11. Defeat of Piedmont.
Despite the lack of support from other Italian states, it seemed at first that Piedmont might succeed against Austria, who had serious domestic troubles at home. However Austria defeated Piedmont decisively on the following two occasions.
(a) Custozza (25th July 1848). While attacking one wing of the Quadrilateral,Piedmontese forces were defeated by a counter-attack of Radetzky's forces. In August Piedmont withdrew from the struggle.
(b) Novara (23rd March 1849). Following a renewed outbreak of violence in Vienna in March 1849, Charles Albert again marched his troops into Lombardy. The King was heartbroken when his troops were defeated again and abdicated in favour of his son Victor Emmanuel II.

12. Events in Rome.
For a time there was hope that something fruitful could still come from the Papacy. Events then took the following course.
(a) Flight of the Pope. Pius IX fled to Naples on 24th November, disguised as a simple priest.
(b) Declaration of a republic.A provisional government administered the city until a Constituent Assembly could be elected. In February 1849 this latter body proclaimed Rome a republic. Mazzini became the head of government and carried out a series of reforms.
(c) Papal authority restored.The Pope appealed to European powers and France intervened first, the new leader Louis Napoleon seeing an opportunity to win glory. A French army under General Oudinot landed in April but was repulsed at first by Garibaldi when it advanced on Rome. Oudinot waited for reinforcements and then on authority from Napoleon began a full-scale military operation. The Neapolitans gave some assistance and Rome surrendered to the French on 30th June.

13. Reasons for the failure of the uprisings.
(a) Austrian military power.
(b) Lack of international help.
(c) Lack of unity and organisation
(d) Lack of outstanding statesmen or generals
(e) Opposition of the Pope
(f) Intervention of the French in Rome


14. Factors helping Italian unification after 1848.
After the setbacks received during 1848-9, the following factors contributed to the creation of the Italian nation during the period 1849-71.
(a) Diplomatic skill of Cavour.
(b) Fighting qualities of Garibaldi. Early in life Garibaldi was a faithful follower of Mazzini and joined the "Young Italy" movement. He entered the Piedmontese navy to induce it to mutiny in favour of Mazzini's plot of 1833. He escaped, was condemned to death in his absence and disappeared to South America. He played an important role from 1848 onwards, for example, as regards the following.
 (c) Agitative activities of Mazzini.Mazzini disliked the diplomatic methods used by Cavour to secure the south in 1860-1. However, his continued efforts kept alive the spark of resistance in Italy, as outlined in 5(c) above.
(d) Use of foreign aid. France helped gain Lombardy in 1859 and Parma, Modena, Tuscany and Romagna for the new Italian state in 1860. Britain lent moral support. Prussia helped gain Venetia in 1866

15. Piedmontese leadership.
After 1848 Piedmont was recognised as the hope of liberal Italy, for the following reasons.
(a) It alone possessed an army capable of fighting Austria.
(b) It had a constitution and a liberal government.
(c) In contrast to the other states it alone had taken the lead in 1848 in the cause of national unity.
(d) In Victor Emmanuel II it possessed a ruler determined to continue the struggle against Austria.

16. Rise to power of Cavour.
Camillo di Cavour (1810-61), a Piedmontese aristocrat, had travelled widely and had studied the political life in Britain and France. In 1847 he founded the liberal newspaper II Risorgimento. In 1848 he was elected to the first Piedmontese Parliament. He played an important role in planning and retaining the statuto (constitution) of 1848 with its bicameral legislature and responsible cabinet. In 1850 he became Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, and in 1852 he succeeded Massimo d'AzegIio as Prime Minister.

17. Cavour's domestic measures.
Cavour aimed to make Piedmont economically progressive, politically liberal and financially stable. In this way he hoped that Piedmont would be strong enough to assume the leadership of Italy in the event of another war with Austria.

18. French aid sought.
The Italian failures of 1848-9 convinced Cavour that Italy could not achieve unity without foreign help. Cavour wanted to prevent any chance of Austria consolidating her power in Italian affairs. Napoleon 1II, the champion of nationality, seemed a likely ally to help Piedmont overturn the status quo.
19. Reasons for Napoleon's interest.
For different reasons Napoleon was interested in the affairs of northern, central and southern Italy.
Napoleon's family origins had been Italian and he was a former member of the Carbonari. Napoleon hoped that French influence would replace that of Austria in northern Italy, and also that France's Alpine frontier might be restored by the acquisition of Nice and Savoy.

20. Piedmont in the Crimean War.
Cavour hoped European powers might be interested in Italian problems if Piedmont played an active role abroad. In December 1855 France and Britain invited Piedmont to join them in the Crimean War. The Piedmontese cabinet opposed the idea, but Cavour eventually brought Piedmont into the war.
In 1856 a Piedmontese force under La Marmora did well at the battle of the Tchernaya. This helped to extinguish the stigma of earlier defeats at the hands of Austria, and Piedmont staked a claim to Italian leadership.
At the Paris peace conference Italian affairs were debated and Napoleon continued to express interest. However, Cavour was unable to gain French support for any changes in Italy.


21. Franco-Italian negotiations. The following steps were- taken to form closer liaison between Piedmont and France.
(a) Plombières meeting.Napoleon invited Cavour to a meeting on 20th July 1858. He suggested that a northern Italian state under Victor Emmanuel and a central Italian federation under the presidency of the Pope should be formed.
Cavour was cautious and nothing definite was signed. The meeting was novel in that it was a deliberate attempt to manufacture a war.
(i) Napoleon agreed to help Piedmont if she were involved in war with Austria.
(ii) Nice and Savoy were to be ceded to France in return for her assistance.
(b) Marriage arrangement.It had been agreed at Plombieres, that a marriage would first be arranged between the daughter of King Victor Emmanuel, the fifteen-year-old Princess Clotilde, and Jerome, a cousin of Napoleon III. This took place in September 1858 and cleared the way for tightening the arrangements between the two countries.
(c) Military alliance.France and Piedmont signed a formal military alliance in January 1859. This time no mention was made of a federation or of any specific state boundaries. Napoleon hoped these would be based on his Plombieres proposals. The details were as follows.

22. Formation of the National Society. In 1857 Mazzini, working from England, organised insurrections in Genoa and Livorno. They failed and a similar fate befell a landing at Sapri on the Calabrian coast. Many Italian nationalists then realised the futility of isolated risings. A new organisation, the National Society, was formed which united many of the groups of the early risorgimento. Its leaders were Pallavicino, La Farina, Garibaldi and Daniele Manin. They believed that Cavour would be a valuable ally to co-ordinate the activities of the Italian national movement. The motto of the society became '1ndependence, unity and constitutional liberty under the Savoy dynasty."

23. Austria provoked by Cavour.
After the Plombieres meeting in mid 1858 Cavour planned to bring about war with Austria. He tried to avoid placing Piedmont and France too clearly in the wrong.
Austria disliked the following.
(a) Piedmont's refusal to extradite draft evaders.
(b) Cavour's negotiations with the National Society.
(c) A provocative speech by Victor Emmanuel.In January 1859, on a suggestion of Napoleon, the King spoke of the "cries of grief" that were reaching Piedmont from the rest of Italy.
(d) Piedmont's efforts to raise war loans.

24. Intervention of other European powers. Both Piedmont and Austria started to mobilise their forces. Cavour aimed at a defensive mobilisation to force Austria to issue an ultimatum.
Gorchakov, the Russian Foreign Minister, proposed a congress to solve the question. This was accepted by Britain and Napoleon, but Austria demanded Piedmont's exclusion from the congress and demanded the disarmament of Piedmont before the congress met. Napoleon, pressured by the other European states, and disheartened by the lack of enthusiasm at home, forced Cavour to agree to the Austrian demand on 19th April.

25. The Austrian ultimatum. Because of the wish to protect her security, Austria had made the initial mistake of mobilising her large army too soon. To keep the Austrian army mobilised indefinitely was an expensive procedure if peace negotiations were prolonged.
Piedmont was on the point of disarming when Buol, on 19th April, sent a fatal ultimatum giving Cavour the alternative between unconditional demobilisation "within three days" or war. This was a blunder as it supplied Cavour with the provocation he needed. Piedmont refused, and Austria declared war, thereby appearing the aggressor.

26. Defeat of Austria.
In April 1859, war broke out between Piedmont and Austria. The joint armies of Piedmont and France won at Magenta and Solferino.
Prussia started to mobilize an army in Austria’s defence and more Italian provinces wanted to join Piedmont under one nation. Both of these events alarmed Napoleon III because Prussia was starting to have a strong presence in European affairs. He signed an armistice with Austria and ended the war without the agreement of Cavour.
The military weakness of Austria was soon revealed. Important factors contributing to her defeat were as follows.
(a) Poor commanders.
(b) Poor strategy.
(c) Insufficient forces.
(d) Poor morale.

27. The Peace of Villafranca.
Preliminary peace terms were settled by Napoleon and Francis Joseph on l lth July at Villafranca near Verona. Cavour was not consulted.

Peace conditions.
(i) Lombardy, except for the fortresses of Mantua and Peschiera, was to be transferred to Piedmont. Napoleon was to be the intermediary in this arrangement. Parma was tacitly conceded as well.
(ii) All Italy was to be included in a new confederation. This was to be under the titular presidency of the Pope.
(iii) The hereditary rulers of Tuscany and Modena were to be restored.
(iv) Austria was to retain Venetia. This state was to form part of the new confederation.
(iii) Piedmont had gained only Lombardy. Cavour resigned in disgust.

 28. Failure of the settlement.
Events in Italy took a surprising turn which was to help the Italian cause. The Villafranca terms were unenforceable, for the following reasons.
(a) The duchies refused to accept the return of their rulers.
 (b) The Pope refused to co-operate.
(c) Napoleon refused to allow force to be used to implement Villafranca.

29. Agreement between Cavour and Napoleon.
Cavour agreed to cede Savoy and Nice. It was agreed in the Treaty of Turin of 24th March that plebiscites would be held in all the areas concerned. They resulted in an overwhelming majority in favour of annexation by Piedmont of the central Italian states, and for annexation of Nice and Savoy by France.



30. Re-emergence of Garibaldi.
Only a little over half the peninsula had been won for the new Italy. Venetia, Rome and the Kingdom of Naples were not included.
In 1859 Garibaldi had returned from his borne on the island of Caprera to lead a guerrilla band for Piedmont in the Austrian War. He was infuriated at the cession of his native Nice to France and contemplated a raid on the ballot boxes to stop the plebiscite.
The success of national movements in central Italy encouraged similar movements in the south.

31. Expedition of the Thousand.
Garibaldi gathered a thousand picked volunteers at Genoa. Cavour refused to give public support, wanting to avoid a clash with Austria, and Garibaldi was prevented from getting recruits from the Piedmontese army or rifle supplies. The expedition, aboard two leaky steamers, made a successful landing at Marsala in Sicily on 11th May. Garibaldi's ill-equipped army defeated the Neapolitans at Calatafini and he negotiated for their withdrawal to Naples.

32. Annexation of Naples and Sicily.
On 18th August Garibaldi crossed the Straits of Messina. His progress on the mainland was triumphant, and resistance to him was negligible. The future was uncertain and Cavour decided it was time for Piedmont to take an official part in the drama. Garibaldi handed over authority to King Victor Emmanuel and returned to Caprera.

33. Non-intervention of the powers.
The cause of Italian unity was helped by the rivalry of the powers:
(a) Anglo-French rivalry.
(b) Austro-Prussian rivalry.
Section 6: FINAL UNIFICATION, 1861-70

34. New Kingdom of Italy.
After Villafranca, Cavour had been determined to work for a united state. On 17th March 1861 the first Italian Parliament met in Turin and proclaimed Victor Emmanuel II King of Italy. The government was to be a limited constitutional monarchy based on the statuto of 1848 and a highly centralised one.

35. Death of Cavour.
In June 1861 Cavour died, exhausted by his exertions. His death was a great blow to the new Italy. No future politician seemed capable of devising suitable policies for the centre and south, and Cavour might have prevented much of the chaos which was to follow in subsequent years.

36. Annexation of Venetia.
In 1866 Italy allied with Prussia against Austria. Her army was defeated at Custozza and her navy at Lissa. However, Prussia was victorious, and Italy was rewarded for participating in the conflict by being granted Venetia.

37. Occupation of Rome.
Cavour's last political act had been the securing of a parliamentary declaration that Rome should be the capital of Italy. As a result most Italians regarded unification as incomplete as long as the city was not under their control. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War the French troops garrisoned in Rome left. Italian troops then occupied the city.


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Unification of Italy summaries

Italian Unification:
Italian Unification or Risorgimento was a chain of political and military events that resulted in a united Italian penninsula under the monarchy of Victor Emmanuelle II in 1861. These events can be broken down in five stages: Pre-Revolutionary, Revolutionary, Cavour’s Policy and the Role of Piedmont, Garibaldi’s Campaign in Southern Italy, and the creation of the Italian Kingdom.

I. Pre-Revolutionary Phase:

After the Napoleonic Wars and Napoleon Bonaparte’s second defeat, the major powers of Europe held a conference called the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to decide what should happen to French territories. The aim of the congress was to limit France’s power, set limits on nations so no one nation become too strong, and divide up the territory conquered up by Napoleon. In its negotiations, the congress returned domination of the Italian Penninsula to Austria. Austria now occupied Lombardy and Venice and had considerable influence on other Italian states. One of the few places of independence was the Kingdom of Sardinia, which now controlled Piedmont, Nice, Savoy and Genoa.
Some of the factors that conflicted with the unification of Italy were: Austrian control of Lombardy and Venice, many independent Italian states and princes, the autonomy of the Papal States, European interference and finally a penninsula that was culturally and geographically divided.

II. Revolutionary Phase:

During the first half of the 19th century only aristocrats, intellectuals and the upper middle classes were interested in the cause of unification. The majority of the population showed no concern. However, the people with a passion for unification started to form secret societies such as the Carbonari. Although at first they only demanded more rights from their respective governments, the cause began to grow. By 1820, the Carbonari were involved in numerous failed revolutions against the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, the Kingdom of Sardinia, Bolonga, and other Italian states. However, the Austrian Empire crushed all of these revolutions; thus leading to more resentment among the Italians.
The inspiration of the Carbonari and the revolutions came from a man named Giuseppe Mazzini. Mazzini was an idealist who wanted not only a united Italy, but an Italy with a republican form of government. Mazzini brought the campaign for unification into the mainstream when in 1831 he created Young Italy, a group created with the sole purpose to spreading the ideas of unification and republicanism. In 1846, a liberal pope, Pius IX, was elected and he immediately enacted numerous reforms. Soon, other states followed, primarily because the Church held great influencein Italy, however these reforms were not enough to quell discontent.  A series of uprisings erupted in 1848 throughout Europe including France, Germany, the Austrian Empire, and northern Italy.
The revolution also spread in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies were the king signed a constitution. In the Papal States the Pope initially supported the revolts and gave huge impetus to the rebellion. Radical took over Rome, causing the Pope to flee. In the absence of the pope, Garibaldi and Mazzini created a republic called the Roman Republic. In Piedmont, after the insistence of nationals, the King Charles Albert sent to Lombardy in their fight for freedom from Austrian rule.
Although some of the revolutions were successful in the beginning, they were quickly crushed. In 1849, France sent troops to Rome and destroyed the short-lived Roman Republic. Piedmont lost to Austria and the king was forced to abdicate, causing his son, Victor Emanuel II to become king in 1849.
After the unsuccessful events of the last few years, unification would seem as a distant dream. However, things were about to change with the appointment of Count Camillo di Cavour as prime minister of Piedmont in 852. With the use of all the political and military tricks in the book, Cavour tackled and succeeded in making this dream into a reality. Italy and Europe would never be the same again.

III. Cavour’s Policy and the Role of Piedmont

After the numerous failed uprisings throughout Italy, Camillo di Cavour became the prime minister of the Piedmont (Kingdom of Sardinia) in 1852. By the use of bargaining, putting great powers against each other, war, and political cunning, Cavour was able to unite Italy in a short time.
Although Piedmont was a small state, it had considerable influence due to its military strength, conservative philosophy, and admirable political leader. In addition, Victor Emmanuel II ruled in conjunction with a parliament, thus establishing a legitimate stable form of government and not giving cause to an internal revolution. Although Piedmont exercised a conservative policy, it was loose and constructive in many areas, especially commerce and industry. With the use of commercial treaties, Piedmont began to play an increasing role in commerce in the region as it started to win trade away from Austria. These actions served very popular with the public and were received further progress with Cavour’s appointment in 1852. Cavour had a strong belief in scientific and economic progress, and was a firm supporter of unification. However, he did not share the same republic views as Mazzini and Garibaldi. In Cavour’s view, unification needed a strong state to lead, namely Piedmont. And Piedmont can only become strong with railroads, economic freedom, stable finances, and a higher standard of living.
Cavour immediately began by implementing some liberal (but necessary) ideas. He encouraged people to participate in government, started to change public opinion by skillfully using the press and the government, and economic freedom, and most importantly spread the propaganda of Italian unity under Victor Emanuel II.
In order to achieve his goals, Cavour needed the help of a strong ally, the leader of France, Napoleon III. France proved to be a good partner because it was a traditional enemy of Austria and any loss of Austrian influence would be beneficial. Also, Napoleon III showed favor to a liberated and united Italian peninsula. To seal the deal of this partnership, both leaders met secretly at Plombieres, a French spa. Piedmont would stir up trouble in one of the territories controlled by Austria, thus forcing Austria to go to war against Piedmont. France would help Piedmont in exchange for Nice and Savoy.
In April 1859, war broke out between Piedmont and Austria. The plan worked very well the joined forces of Piedmont and France won at Magenta and Solferino. Pretty soon, Prussia started to mobilize an army in Austria defense and more Italian provinces wanted to join Piedmont under one nation. Both of these events alarmed Napoleon III because Prussia was starting to have a strong presence in European affairs and more Italian states wanting unification greatly exceeded what he had envisioned for Italy. So he signed an armistice with Austria and ended the war but angered Cavour.
Piedmont received Lombardy from Austria as a result of the war. After the war and the political maneuvering, Piedmont had greatly increased its size. However, Garibaldi’s campaign in southern Italy would more than double the size of the kingdom.

IV. Garibaldi’s Campaign in Southern Italy

If Mazzini was the soul of the unification process, then Garibaldi was the hero. In early 1860, he started to gather volunteers in Genoa for an expedition to Sicily. As Cavour neither opposed nor helped, thousands of soldiers from Romagna, Lombardy, and Venetia set sail for Sicily in May 1860.
The Expedition of Soldiers, as it was called, was an instant hit with the public. The Kingdom of Two Sicilies had long been a corrupt government and now it was seeing its last days. Although the Garibaldi Red Shirts were less skilled and ill equipped, they were a tremendous success. They occupied Sicily within two months and already Garibaldi was setting his eyes on mainland Italy. However, after his declaration to advance to Rome, instead of stopping in Naples, Cavour became increasingly worried. If Rome was attacked, France and Austria would immediately help the Pope and crush the opposing army, thereby discrediting and destroying the unification agenda.
In yet another brilliant move, Cavour encouraged riots and uprisings in the Papal States thus giving the Piedmontese troops a reason to come under the pretext of maintaining order. In 1860, two thirds of the Papal States joined Piedmont and Rome was left alone. As the Piedmontese army bypassed Rome and the remaining Papal States and marched south, Garibaldi would surprise everyone with one of the most memorable gestures in history. On September 18, Garibaldi gave up command of his army and shook hands with Victor Emanuel II, signifying the unity and formation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

V. Creation of the Italian Kingdom

Although a Kingdom of Italy had been formed, it did not include all of Italy. The missing parts were Rome and Venetia. Neither could be gained easily because Rome was under the protection of Napoleon III and French troops while Venetia was controlled by Austria and its troops. But an opportunity arrived and Venetia was annexed in 1866. That opportunity was the Seven Weeks' War between Austria and Prussia. Austria promised Venetia if Italy stayed neutral and Prussia promised Venetia if Italy joined them in the war. Italy decided to join Prussia due to a previous agreement. Although the Italian army did poorly, Prussia won the war and it held up its part of the bargain.
In 1870, the Franco-Prussian War occurred between France and Germany and Napoleon III was forced to pull the French troops from Rome to aid the war effort. While Rome and the remaining Papal States remained unprotected, Italian troops marched in unopposed. In October 1870 Rome voted to join the union and in July 1871, it became the capital.
The unification was a long and arduous process. But all the problems that remained before the unification were not solved after the unification. As the last quarter of the century unfolded, this was evident. But, Italy stayed united and focused on solving its new problems. In the end, Cavour, Garibaldi, and Mazzini became the founding fathers of a nation and were immortalized.


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