CompareContrast the Unification of Germany Italy a Essay

This essay has a total of 2970 words and 13 pages.


CompareContrast the Unification of Germany Italy and the United States




From the 1790s to 1814 French troops successively conquered and occupied the area that
later constituted the German Empire. French domination helped to modernize and consolidate
Germany and -- toward the end -- sparked the first upsurge of German nationalism. In
different ways the French emperor Napoleon I helped German unification. It was important
that he encouraged many of the middle-sized German states to absorb huge numbers of small
independent territories, mostly bishoprics, church lands, and local principalities.

This consolidation process, called mediation, led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman
Empire and brought the same French legal codes, measurements, and weights to most
German-speaking areas, thus helping to modernize them. In 1806 Napoleon defeated the last
independent and defiant German state, Prussia. The Prussians, quite naturally, were
concerned about their defeat and started a thorough reform and modernization of the state
and army (they "reinvented government"). Reformed Prussia became the hope of many other
Germans who started to suffer increasingly under French occupation (which turned more
repressive and exploitative) and their often forced cooperation with France.

The Congress of Vienna in 1814-15 created the so-called German Confederation under
Austrian and Prussian hegemony, but this unit disappointed the dreams of nationalists. The
rivalry of Austria and Prussia paralyzed it in a way comparable to the effects of
Soviet-American dualism on the United Nations during the Cold War. Almost everywhere, the
old rulers repressed the nationalist movement after 1815. The German princes realized that
nationalism required a reform. In a united Germany the princes would have had to cede some
rights to a central authority. That the nationalists often voiced liberal demands, such as
the granting of constitutions and parliaments, further alarmed the princes and their
aristocratic supporters.

After 1850 the industrial revolution in Germany entered its decisive phase. New factories
were built at a breath-taking rate, the production of textiles and iron soared, railroads
grew and started to connect many distant regions, and coal production and export reached
record levels every year. These advances profited from a high level of education, the
result of an advanced school and university system. For a long time Prussia had the
highest literacy rate and exemplary schools.

Economic progress was most powerful in Prussia and less impressive in Austria. Through the
Vienna peace settlement Prussia had received areas that turned out to be enormously
precious for industrialization (the Ruhr district, the Rhineland, and parts of Saxony -
all with rich coal deposits). Prussia now started to dominate many of the smaller German
states economically, and the smaller states -- often hesitantly -- adapted their economies
to Prussia. Decisive for this inconspicuous economic unification of Germany was the
foundation of a customs union (Zollverein) already in 1834, which excluded Austria and
Bohemia. Railroad building followed the lines of trade after 1837. To put it in a
nutshell, Germany -- roughly in the borders of the later Second Empire -- was economically
and, to a lesser degree, culturally united before 1871.

Bismarck thus adopted universal and equal suffrage in his constitutional settlements of
1867 and 1871; but this step, demanded by democrats and many socialists, was dictated by
political needs: Bismarck hoped to win support from the lower classes and to use universal
suffrage as a weapon against the liberal bourgeoisie, conservative aristocrats, and the
Austrians. This strategy was inspired by the French Emperor Napoleon III, who had
established an autocracy which often resorted to plebiscites (Bonapartism). By granting
universal male suffrage while limiting the power of parliament, Nalopleon III had in
opportune moments appealed to the people - with success.

Bismarck practiced Realpolitik, which was an opportunistic and pragmatic approach to
politics. He always insisted on the importance of power: unification would not come about
through speeches and declarations but by "iron and blood."

The outcome of the Prussian war against Austria and its South German allies came as a bad
surprise mainly to France. For centuries French policy-makers had aimed to keep Germany
divided and weak; suddenly a strong German power had been allowed to expand through much
of Germany. Alarmed, France tried to renew its traditional ties with the South German
states, but to no avail. Even the relatively democratic and anti-Prussian South Germans
had become too nationalistic and economically involved with Prussia to ally with a foreign
power against it.

Napoleon III declared war on Prussia on 19 July 1870, the biggest mistake of his life.
France was isolated, and its declaration of war compelled the South German states to aid
Prussia according to the defense treaty. The well-organized Prussian army with its allies
destroyed the main French army in early September and took Napoleon prisoner. While the
German troops were beleaguering Paris, Bismarck won the consent of the other princes to a
unite Germany (excluding Austria) with the Prussian king as German emperor. Several
princes, mainly the kings of Bavaria and Württemberg, insisted on retaining some autonomy,
and Bismarck granted them their own postal service, railroads, and foreign representation.

At Versailles on 18 January 1871 he had his king proclaim the German Empire. The
constitution of the new state was almost identical with the one of the North German
Confederation. A national parliament, the Reichstag, was elected by universal, equal
manhood suffrage and received budgetary rights but lacked the power to overthrow the
government, which was solely responsible to the emperor. A second chamber, the Federal
Council (Bundesrat), consisting exquisitely of the representatives of the German princes,
functioned as a conservative check on the influence of the Reichstag. Armies remained
partly the matter of the single states but were bound to follow a common Prussian command
at wartime (the emperor was the supreme warlord). The war with France was concluded by the
Treaty of Frankfurt in May 1871. France had to cede its eastern provinces Alsace and
Lorraine to the new empire and pay high reparations until 1875.


1858- 1870 Unification
Two great people came forward in the 1858 – 1870 revolution. Garibaldi and Cavour was both
associated with the new king of Piedmont Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel 2nd, but it was Cavour
who played a role first in the unification of Italy.

Like all people, Cavour also wanted a unified Italy. He also wanted to industrialize
Piedmont Sardinia like he’s seen in Britain. He founded the newspaper “Il Risorgimento” in
1847. The newspaper made the Piedmontese aware of Nationalist and democratic ideals. By
1850 he became a minister in Victor Emmanuel’s parliament, and in 1852, a Prime Minister.

Cavour increased Piedmontese spending, and greatly improved Commerce, communication,
Industry, and agriculture, within Piedmont Sardinia, along with developing Transportation,
and the Genoese port. His improvements to Piedmont Sardinia made the Piedmontese like
their king very much. After convincing Victor Emmanuel 2nd to send troops to assist
Britain & France in the Crimean War, Cavour managed to earn Piedmont Sardinia the affect
of Britain and France. After an attempted assassination on Napoleon 3rd (new king of
France) by an Italian patriot, Napoleon 3rd’s interest in Italian Liberation was renewed.

Later that year, Cavour & Napoleon 3rd signed a secret agreement. In that agreement
Napoleon 3rd made it clear he couldn’t attack Austria, but if Austria was to invade
Piedmont Sardinia, France would come to the rescue. Additionally, France would gain Nice
and Savoy, & Piedmont Sardinia would gain Lombardy Venetia. This was to be a good deal for
Piedmont that would gain her a large territory under her control.


Piedmont Sardinia had to somehow provoke Austria into invading. This was achieved by
mobilizing troops and protecting conscription refugees.

Piedmont was fully behind their king. The idea of Italy being unified under Piedmont
Sardinia was to their liking. Slogans saying “Verdi” (Initials in Italian meaning: Victor
Emmanuel King of Italy) appeared everywhere in Piedmont Sardinia.

On 29th of April, after an ultimatum posed by Austria, the inevitable happened. Austria
marched into Piedmont Sardinia and declared war. As agreed, France marched into Piedmont
Sardinia and assisted it against the Austrians.

Napoleon 3rd became more and more reluctant about the deal. He noticed Prussia was
mobilizing troops (probably to aid Austria), and the war had already taken a great toll on
life. This led to a truce signed between France and Austria.

Continues for 7 more pages >>




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