The Unification of Italy and Germany
What is Nationalism?
Nationalism is a feeling of belonging and
loyalty that causes people to think of
themselves as a nation.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, nationalism
powerful force that could:
Create one nation from many separate
countries (ex. Italy and Germany)
Break one nation up into many countries
(ex. Austria-Hungary, and Turkey)
Nationalism can be a cause of war (ex. WWI
It has encouraged colonies to seek
independence from their colonizers. (ex.
India, Indonesia, and countries in Africa)
Nationalism can take many different forms but
certain factors need to be present for it to
Barriers to Italian Nationalism
Italy was divided into several states.
Italy did not threaten the balance of power in
After the Congress of Vienna, Italy was made up of
nine different states:
Piedmont-Sardinia (the largest state)
Venetia and Lombardy belonged to Austria
the Pope ruled the Papal States in central Italy
the other states were ruled by foreign princes
under Austrian control
Barriers to Italian Nationalism
Geography - mountains split Italy West and
East; the Po river, North and South
Illiteracy – as most of the population could
not read and write, nationalistic propaganda
was difficult to spread
The Pope - felt a united Italy would lessen
his rights in the papal states
Lack of consensus - Italian states disagreed
on a leader and type of government
Lack of European support - European nations
felt a strong Italy would interfere with their
Factors That Led to Italian Unification
• Italy is isolated
• The Alps are to the North, surrounded by oceans.
• Geographic isolation allows Italy to develop its
own ways, customs.
• Italians are very proud of their heritage, including
the Italian Renaissance.
• Napoleon’s conquest of Italian states led to a
desire not to be conquered again Italian unity.
Efforts of Three Men: Mazzini, Garibaldi, Cavour
“Prophet of Italian Unification”
He was a member of the
The Carbonari were a
secret group which used
violence to obtain what
He formed Young Italy,
made up of young
people whose job it was
to arouse enthusiasm
for a united nation.
Tried revolution but it
Mazzini- Essay on Nationalism
• Directions: Read the essay and answer
the following questions
1. What are the two questions at the heart of
the revolutions? How are the two
questions exemplified in the French
2. What does consanguinity mean?
3. How can you sum up the second argument
“Architect of Italian Unification”
Count Camillo di Cavour was the
“architect” (planner) of Piedmont-
Sardinia’s revolt against Austria.
This revolt encouraged other Italian
states to revolt.
“The Sword of Italian Unification”
Garibaldi first invaded Sicily,
then urged them to join
Piedmont-Sardinia under the
leadership of Victor
Garibaldi handed over all
conquered lands to Victor
How Italy was United
The Addition of the Papal States:
Victor Emmanuel conquers the Papal States; stops
Unification nears completion.
1860: elections were held in all of Italy, except
Venetia and Rome.
1861: in the city of Turin, representatives of a united
nation formed a parliament and proclaimed the establishment of
Italy under Victor Emmanuel II.
Problems Faced by a United Italy
Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy is a constitutional monarch.
Right to vote is limited to upper and middle class property
Many Catholics refuse to participate in new nation (as did the
Bribery and corruption were frequent in poor, uneducated
Some Italian speaking areas were not united with the central
Some felt Italy should become a world power and fight for
Italy lacked industrial development, agriculture, and natural
Prices were high, people could not afford manufactured goods.
Background to German Unification
Prior to the French Revolution, there were more than 300
Prussia and Austria were the largest.
The Congress of Vienna reduced the number of German states
The smaller number of German states encouraged feelings of
nationalism and patriotism among these German states.
Barriers to German Unification
France preferred 39 weak states to one nation.
Austria knew Prussia was most powerful state.
Rulers of smaller states feared loss of power in a
Protestant/Catholic hostility (from Thirty Years’
Economic differences between western industrial
states and agricultural eastern states.
Factors Encouraging German Unification
Napoleon encouraged German unification with the
Confederation of the Rhine under the Napoleonic
Intellectuals supported a German Nation:
Heinrich von Treitschke envisioned a German
Goethe and Schiller saw a common nationality for
Congress of Vienna created a German Confederation
which was made up of 39 states.
Zollverein created to increase trade, reduce
problems of many state governments; taxes, coinage
and postal system.
How Bismarck United Germany
Prussia led German unification.
Otto von Bismarck led Prussia
Conservative chosen as Prime Minister
stood for absolutism, Divine Right Monarchy and the
Protestant Lutheran church
did not trust people or democracy
Master of Realpolitick
Politics of reality
Tough power politics
William I, King of Prussia appointed Bismarck chief
minister in the Prussian Parliament ,1848
Bismarck’s Policy of “Blood and Iron”
“Not by speeches and
resolutions of majorities are
the great questions of the
time decided upon – but by
blood and iron”.
• Could not persuade parliament
• Declared he would rule without the
consent of parliament and without a
• Aligned with Austria to attack Denmark
for Schleswig and Holstein
• Quick victory increases Prussian
• Prussia controls Schleswig and Austria Holstein
• Hoping this will lead to turmoil he can use
Border conflicts with Austria between
Schleswig and Holstein
• Austria declares war on Prussia in 1866
• Seven Weeks’ war
• Prussia Annexes more territory
• Eastern and Western Prussia united for first
France: Bismarck’s Strategy
Spanish throne is offered to a relative of the King of
Prussia after leaders of the Spanish revolution
removed their leader.
Louis Napoleon (Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew),
Emperor of France convinces German prince to
refuse crown then sends an envoy to convince
William I of Prussia not to accept the crown.
From the City of Ems, William I sends a telegram to
Bismarck about the request, this is called the Ems
Bismarck, seizing his opportunity, rewords the
telegram and publishes it in the newspapers.
Bismarck’s Plan Pays Off
Prussians become upset about unfair demands to their
king; French are insulted by Prussia.
France declares war though unprepared
– Prussia thus acquires:
– French provinces of Alsace & Lorraine
– money to cover the cost of war
The Franco-Prussian War completes the unification of
South German states unite with north to fight France
1871: German Empire is formed, William I of Prussia as
Problems Faced by a United Germany
Germany was far from democratic:
– The Government of the German Empire was a
federal union of states with the King of Prussia as
ruler and a two house legislature with:
– A powerful 61 member appointed upper house
– A 400 member lower house chosen by universal
male suffrage (all men could vote)
– Strong king who made government appointments,
strong upper house had power
– strong army, soldiers prominent in society
Made socialism illegal
Improved working conditions
Persecuted national and religious minorities,
In foreign affairs, tried to isolate France by making
friendships with Austria and Russia
Use of Realpolitik
Realpolitik was Bismarck’s foreign policy decisions
are not based on ideological or moral considerations;
decisions should be based on self-interest.
Comparing Revolutions, Revolts,
• What is one factor that has been present
in all of the conflicts we have studied so
far? Why do you think this factor
repeatedly shows up?