How Far Was Austria the Main Obstacle to Italian Unification from 1831-59?

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In answering the question I think that it is firstly important to understand why Austria was hostile to the whole idea of Italian unification in this period. After the crippling French Wars of the early 19th century all the powers agreed that such bloodshed must never be allow to happen again. Therefore at the 1815 Congress of Vienna it was decided that Austria would have control over the turbulent Italian states of Lombardi and Venetia in order to ensure that the aforementioned areas did not attempt to rise up, and in doing so, spark off another war. Indeed it is clear that self-preservation was one of the main reasons why Austria, already bordered by an increasingly powerful German Bunt, did not want another influential country as its neighbour. To this effect the impressive quadrilateral of military bases were built in Italy and the Austrian Chancellor Metternich ensured that all revolutionary groups were suppressed through strict censorship and continuous espionage against their groups. This determination to use Austria's might to keep Italy weak is demonstrated by her crushing without exemption of the 1831 uprisings in Modena and the Papal States when Austrian forces were very publicly used to destroy, without negotiation, all those who revolted along with many innocent bystanders.

Metternich was determined to ensure that Italy remained, ‘a mere geographical expression' in order to keep a potential threat to his country weak and also he knew that Austria's suppression of the peninsula was very popular at home; The vast majority of Austrians were Catholics and many of them feared that if there were uprisings the position and safety of the Pope may be put in jeopardy and so they supported their chancellors extreme and vicious actions for that reason. With the Metternich System in place it was almost impossible for revolutionary groups inside the Austrian Empire to operate coherently but once there Chancellor was forced to flee from Vienna all the years...
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