1. First attempt 1830's with the Young Italy Movement led by



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Unification of Italy
1. First attempt   1830's with the Young Italy Movement led by Giuseppe Mazzini.

2. Second attempt   1848 revolutions; Mazzini briefly headed a republican government at Rome, but within months the former rulers had driven Mazzini and other nationalists out and had resumed power.

3. After 1848, nationalists looked to Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia for leadership. It was the largest and most powerful of the Italian states.

4. 1852   King Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia appointed Count Camillo di Cavour as his prime minister.

5. Cavour, a wealthy aristocrat and a moderate nationalist, made the strengthening of Piedmont his highest priority. A by-product of this goal was the unification of Italy. Through careful diplomacy and well chosen alliances, Cavour would succeed in the unification of Italy.

6. Cavour considered Austria greatest roadblock to Italian unity. He realized that he would need an ally in driving Austria out of northern Italy. Only way for Italian unification to succeed was to pit one great power against another great power.

7. 1858   Cavour found his ally in Napoleon III of France.

8. Napoleon III, who had a familial tie to Italy, thought that if Austria was out of the way that France could dominate Italy   so he secretly met with Cavour at Plombieres. Napoleon also saw it as way to appease the liberals in France. Championing a doctrine of nationalities, he thought that fighting a reactionary Austria would squash the liberal movement in France.

9. At this secret meeting at Plombieres Napoleon III agreed to help drive Austria out of Lombardy and Venetia and in return Cavour promised to give Nice and Savoy to France.


  1. Cavour soon provoked Austria into declaring war. The combined French and Sardinian forces quickly won two victories against the Austrians. Napoleon III then cut a deal with the Austrians as he feared the arrival of the Prussians who were preparing to come to the aid of Austria. This deal only gave Piedmont control over Lombardy. Austria still controlled Venetia.

  2. At the same time that Piedmont and Austria had been waging war, nationalists throughout northern Italy had staged a series of revolts against Austrian domination. Endorsed by a series of plebiscites, the nationalists the surrounding city-states joined with the Sardinians.

12. Napoleon had not expected a strong and united Italy. He might have gone to war with Sardinia, except Cavour had wisely maintained good relations with the other Great Powers. Therefore had France gone to war, it would have been without the support of the other Great Powers against them. Therefore, Napoleon accepted Nice and Savoy.

13. 1860   Sardinia annexed all of northern Italy except Venetia.

14. At the same time that Cavour had been engaged in the war with the Austrians, nationalists in the South had been secretly receiving aid from Cavour.

15. May, 1860   led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, a small force of about 1100 nationalists sailed from Genoa to Sicily with the intent of liberating Sicily and southern Italy and uniting this region with the north. Garibaldi also hoped to reclaim his birthplace, Nice, for Italy.

16. Cavour feared that if Garibaldi attempted to take the Rome and then to free Nice from France this would provoke Napoleon. Therefore, Cavour arranged for King Victor Emmanuel to meet with Garibaldi in Naples. At the meeting, Garibaldi agreed to abandon his plans to take Nice and to let the Sardinian king rule the lands he had conquered.

17. March, 1861   an Italian parliament met and declared Victor Emmanuel king of Italy. The new kingdom had a constitutional monarchy and an elected parliament.

18. 1866   as a result of the Seven Weeks' War, in which Italy had fought with Prussia against Austria, Italy received Venetia.

19. 1871 – The French having withdrawn their troops from Rome to fight in the Franco-Prussian War, Italy took over the Papal States, Rome became the capital, and according to the Law of Guarantees, the pope kept the section of Rome known as Vatican City. The pope angered over this turn of events vowed never to leave the Vatican. No pope left until 1921.


Unification did solve all of Italy's problems. Lack of strong leadership due to Cavour's death in 1861 and Garibaldi's lack of political skill caused the government to frequently change prime ministers and cabinets. Economic problems, cultural differences between the northern and southern Italy, and massive emigration further served to keep the newly united nation weak.

Unification of Germany

1. 1815   Congress of Vienna organized the 39 German states into the German Confederation dominated by Prussia and Austria.

2. Austria was considered the natural leader for Germany; however, other than the area around Vienna, the Austrian empire was composed of mostly non Germanic peoples. The Hungarian, Czechs, Slovenes, Poles, Slavs, Croats, Serbs, Italians, Slovaks and Russians who resided in the Austrian Empire wished to form their own nation states. Austria also lagged behind in industrialization.

3. Prussia was

a. mostly Germanic

b. most industrialized of the German states

c. had the most powerful army in central Europe

d. had, in 1834, formed the Zollverein, a free trade area that included all the major German states, except Austria.

e. had a very conservative government headed by William I of the Hohenzollern family. Ministers and army officers all came from the Junkers, the wealthy landowners.

4. 1862 – William I named Otto von Bismarck prime minister. A tough, calculating politician, Bismarck set out to make Prussia head of a united Germany. As such he saw Austria as Prussia's major rival. In his first speech to the Prussian parliament, Bismarck said that the great questions of our day cannot be solved by speeches and majority votes     that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849     but by blood and iron.”

His two goals were to drive Austria out of the German Confederation and overcome Austrian influence in southern Germany.

5. 1864   when Christian IX of Denmark attempted to annex Schleswig to Denmark, Bismarck joined with Austria in the Danish War to win both Schleswig and Holstein. A quick victory brought increased Prussian nationalism and new respect for Prussia. Prussia received Schleswig and Austria got Holstein.

6. 1866   Seven Weeks' War – Using conflicts over the administration of Schleswig and Holstein, Prussia provoked Austria into declaring war. Efficiently using its rail system, the better-trained Prussian army, Prussia quickly defeated the Austrian army. Austria was humiliated. It was forced to withdraw from the German Confederation, forfeit some land to Prussia, and cede Venetia to Italy who had sided with Prussia.


  1. 1867   several northern German states united with Prussia to form North German Confederation. Each state had self government, but the king of Prussia was named the hereditary president of the Confederation; thus, making Prussia the dominant party.

8. Bismarck’s success was a triumph of authoritarian government and nationalism. The liberals voted to retroactively legalized the taxes he had collected illegally since 1862. To appease the liberals, Bismarck allowed each state to keep its own local government, but the king of Prussia was the hereditary head of the Confederation and the chancellor (Bismarck) was responsible only to the king. The army and foreign policy remained exclusively in the domain of the king and the chancellor. A bi-cameral Parliament was established. The upper house, Bundestrat, was composed of delegates nominated by the states, the lower house, Reichstag was elected by universal male suffrage.

9. 1867   Austria agreed to a dual monarchy with Hungary, thus creating the new empire of Austria Hungary. Austria and Hungary became two independent and equal states with one ruler. Each had its own parliament and officials, but they still had a united army and acted as one in foreign policy. Hungary had won some independence, but the other ethnic groups remained under the control of the Austrians.

10. Only Bavaria, Baden, Wurtemberg, and the southern part of Hesse remained outside of Prussian influence. Knowing he must gain the support of these areas to unite Germany, Bismarck believed his best chance was to provoke a war with France.

11. 1868   Spanish revolutionaries overthrew Spain's queen, Isabella.

12. July 2, 1870   Spaniards offered the Spanish throne to Leopold of Hohenzollern, cousin of the Prussian king.

13. Napoleon III protested and Leopold turned it down on July 12, 1870. Napoleon then asked King William I of Prussia to promise that a Hohenzollern would never sit on the throne of Spain. William sent a letter in reply.

14. Bismarck reworded the letter (Ems Telegram) to make it appear as if the French minister and Prussian king had quarreled and insulted one another. He then leaked the letter to the press, along with information that France had had territorial designs on southern Germany since 1865.

15. In response to this perceived insult, France declared war Prussia on July 15, 1870. At Sedan, the Prussian forces overwhelmed the French forces. Napoleon III was taken captive by the Prussians. By September, 1870, Paris was surrounded. After months of bitter resistance, Paris was finally captured on January 28, 1871. . By the Treaty of Frankfurt, France lost Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. France was also required to pay 5 billion gold francs (one billion dollars) in reparations or war damages.

16. As Bismarck had hope German nationalism had swept the southern states into the unification movement.

17. January 18, 1871   at the palace of Versailles, William I of Prussia was crowned Kaiser of the newly formed German Empire. This empire was known to Germans as the Second Reich; the First Reich having been the Holy Roman Empire.



18. The new Germany had a solid economic foundation. Soon it would overtake Britain as the greatest industrial nation in Europe.
France, having been defeated, went through a series of crises. After an internal war, a new government was finally established in 1875. The new government, The Third Republic, lasted nearly 60 years. However, because a dozen political parties jockeyed for power, the government changed about every 10 months. The one thing that did unite Frenchmen was their hatred for Germany. Seeking revenge France began to build it army and to seek political alliances.
The emergence of Germany had upset the balance of power in Europe. Growing nationalism and the spread of industrialization will lead all of the countries of Europe into an arms race, which will eventually lead to the Great War.


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