CH. 23 – The Age of Nation-States key ideas

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CH. 23 – The Age of Nation-States


  • The Crimean War (1853-56)

  • Italian and German unification

  • Franco Prussian War (1870-71)

  • France shifts from a liberal empire to the Third Republic

  • Emergence of Austria-Hungary as a dual monarchy

  • Serf emancipation in Russia

  • Great Britain as an example of a liberal state

    Crimean War (1853-56)

    Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)

    The Ottoman Empire gave France Catholic shrines in the Holy Land instead of Russia. This sparked a rivalry, and in 1853 the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia. France and Britain helped the OE fight Russia. Much to Russia’s disappointment, Austria and Prussia remained neutral. Russia lost, which damaged their image.

    France was eager to go to war against Prussia. They were easily defeated and had to surrender land in southern Germany. Completed the unification of Germany.

    "Ems Telegram": Written by William I to France. Bismarck manipulated the telegram to make it appear the William was insulting the French. France took it very seriously and declared war on Prussia. Played right into Bismarck’s hands, as he knew war was the key to German unification.

    Treaty of Paris: Concluded the Crimean War. Forced Russia to give up land near the mouth of the Danube River and recognize neutrality of the Black Sea. They also had to surrender claims to Christians living in the Ottoman Empire. The treaty also destroyed the Concert of Europe.

    Hall of Mirrors at Versailles: Where France signed the treaty ending the Franco-Prussian war. Later on, France will make Germany sign the treaty ending WWI in this very hall. Exemplifies the deep-rooted hatred between France and Germany.

France: Empirethe Third Republic

The Habsburgs: Empirethe Dual Monarchy

Napoleon III became increasingly liberal after 1850. Napoleon’s empire permitted free trade with Britain and freer debate in legislative bodies. Allowed labor unions and relaxed censorship laws. Agreed to a liberal constitution that gave responsibility for legislature to ministers.

Reichsrat: The bicameral parliament in the Hapsburg Empire. The emperor appointed the Upper Chamber, and the Lower Chamber was indirectly elected. The Magyars opposed this system because it gave more power to the emperor than to them.

Paris Commune: Parisians resented the monarchy. The Commune wanted to make Paris separate from the state of France. However, the movement was quickly put down and Paris was restored.
Dreyfus Affair: General Dreyfus was accused of treason, mainly because he was a German-Jew (pretty much the worst combo you could be in 19th century France). In truth, the evidence used against him was forged. However, he was ultimately convicted and sent to Devils Island. He was brought back to France for a second trial but was again found guilty. Was eventually pardoned and even volunteered to fight for France in WWI.

Ausgleich of 1867: Compromise brought forth by the Magyars that proposed a dual monarchy between Austria and Hungary. Came around after the Austrian army was defeated by Prussia. Francis Joseph didn’t want anymore fighting so he agreed to cooperate with the Magyars’ demands.

After the dual monarchy recognized Hungary, other ethnic groups also wanted independence. Austria quickly refused because they didn’t want to lose any more influence. Modern day Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary. In this area, ethnic tensions were riding very high. Dubbed a powder keg because it was volatile and bound to blow up at any moment.

Italian Unification

German Unification

Romantic Republicanism: A strategy used to unite the small principalities in Italy. Following the Congress of Vienna, secret republic societies began meeting. Singularly ineffective. But their dreams of nationalism and republicanism affected Mazzini, who would become the most influential nationalist leader in Europe.

Otto von Bismarck: Would eventually become prime minister of Prussia, appointed by William I. Influenced German unification more than anyone else. Pushed for a conservative government and more power for the monarchy to levy taxes. He angered many Prussians, and after the next election, liberals dominated Parliament. Decided the only way to end disagreements in Prussia would be to unify Germany (which he did).

Count Camillo Cavour: Responsible for setting Italy up as a constitutional monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel II. He was moderately liberal. Served as prime minister of Piedmont (Kingdom of Sardinia). Able to achieve unification through by using both armed forces and diplomacy.

Danish War (1864): The duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were ruled by Denmark but technically part of Germany. With Austria’s help, Bismarck easily gained control of the territories. Increased Bismarck’s prestige and popularity. After the war, Bismarck patched up other diplomatic relationships (agreed to give Venetia to Italy if Italy supported Bismarck in a possible Austro-Prussian war).

Meeting at Plombieres: After an attempt on Napoleon III’s life, the emperor met with Cavour. They rode in carriage so the meeting could be secret. They conspired to provoke war with Austria, leading to Austria’s defeat. France agreed in a formal contract on the condition that they would receive the territories of Nice and Savoy.

Austro-Prussian War (1866): Prussians provoked Austria into war. Prussia defeated Austria in only seven weeks. Austria was forced to surrender Venetia and was no longer considered part of Germany. Prussia became the dominant power in German politics.

Garibaldi’s Campaign: Attempted to unify Italy. Started in Sicily (southern Italy) and made his way north. As he conquered more and more of Italy, his forces met with Cavour’s. Cavour’s forces had just unified northern Italy, including the Papal States. Despite wanting a republic, Garibaldi ultimately chose nationalism over republicanism. He decided to join with Cavour.

North German Confederation: Austrian-supported states that were annexed by Prussia. The territory north of the Main River became the German Confederation.

"Italia Irrredenta": “Unredeemed Italy,” or Trent and Trieste, two provinces on the border of Italy, but ruled by Austria. Fueled Franco-Austrian hatred and the desire to liberate the provinces. Italia Irredenta was the excuse Italy used to fight in WWI.

"Iron and Blood": Quote from Bismarck. He felt that democracies and politicians could not solve the great issues of his day; solutions would come through war. Shows distrust of majority decisions/republicanism.

Russia: Emancipation and Revolutionary Stirrings

  • Alexander II (r. 1855-81) succeeded his father, Nicholas I, on the throne of Russia. Familiar with the difficulties facing his nation. After seeing what happened to Russia after the Treaty of Paris, he was determined to reform.

  • Russia was backwards compared to the rest of Europe. There was still a huge gap between peasants and the upper class with virtually no middle class. The threat of another peasant revolt motivated Alexander II to abolish serfdom. Despite their emancipation, peasants were still under so many restrictions that their freedom was limited. Many peasants believed their true freedom was yet to come.

  • The reformist movements of Western Europe inspired students of Russia. They began to create a social revolution based on communal living (foreshadows Russian communism). Referred to as populism.

  • Alexander III (r. 1881-94) took over Russia after the death of his father, Alexander II. His policies weren’t much different. Favored a strong centralized government. Despite his efforts, his son would find that Russia’s autocracy would not survive the 20th century.

Great Britain: Toward Democracy

  • Queen Victoria (r. 1837-1901) ruled Great Britain with huge success. Britain experienced economic growth and was involved with no wars. The Gilded Age for Britain.

  • The Second Reform Act of 1867 expanded the electorate in Britain. Doubled the amount of voters and allowed all males to vote. However, didn’t lead to much redistribution of seats in Parliament and didn’t help the conservative party.

  • Benjamin Disraeli was leader of the conservative party in the House of Commons. Allowed many bills to pass, more than the liberal party even expected.

  • William Gladstone helped Britain become more liberal than ever. Opened institutions that had previously been exclusive to the aristocracy to all classes. Also, there were not longer religious or social requirements for college anymore.

  • Parliament disagreed on whether or not to grant Ireland independence (“the Irish Question”). They didn’t want the idea of independence to spread to other provinces, which caused them to be very cautious.

  • Home Rule Bill would give Ireland independence. The House of Commons rejected the bill. Gladstone called for new elections in order to sway the decision. The second time around, the liberals won again, and Ireland stayed under British control. Finally passed in 1914, but suspended throughout WWI.

  • The House of Lords Act of 1911 took more power away from the House of Lords. A bill had to be passed three times in the House of Commons after a veto from the House of Lords in order to become law.

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