Italian Unification Sources

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Tackling the Documents paper at AS

Italian Unification
Mark Allchorn. Watford Grammar School and AS/A Examiner

A

A LEVEL is the source work. In the AS Level it is worth 40 per cent of the total marks awarded for the exam. (The questions reproduced here are copyrighted to OCR.) N IMPORTANT COMPONENT IN THE NEW

SOURCE A. On 21 July 1858 Cavour, the Prime Minister of Piedmont, meets Emperor Napoleon III of France, secretly at Plombières The Emperor began by saying that he had decided to support Piedmont in a war against Austria, provided the war could be justified in the eyes of French public opinion. The Emperor also said: ‘I must treat the Pope carefully so as not to stir up French Catholics against me’. Then we discussed the objective of war. The Emperor readily agreed that it was necessary to drive the Austrians out of Italy once and for all. After we had settled the fate of Italy, the Emperor asked whether your majesty would give up Savoy and Nice. He merely remarked that this was a secondary question which we could discuss later. From an account of the meeting, written on 24 July 1858 by Cavour to Victor Emmanuel.

How you can achieve a good grade
Common sense points 1. The first requirement is to know your subject. If you are studying the unification of Germany, for example, make sure that you have revised the syllabus thoroughly, as the documents set you in the exam will cover some key aspect of the course. Without having a good background knowledge, you will not be able to interpret the documents effectively. 2. Read through the documents in the exam paper carefully. They usually contain several different points. Note the mark allocation, as it indicates how much you should write. Each question also tells you which document(s) it is asking you to analyse. Only bring in information from the other documents if it is relevant, or tests the reliability of the document you are evaluating. If you are asked to use your own knowledge as well, you are expected to use relevant background information from your course. What analytical skills are needed? 1. Accurate comprehension. This is the basis of all interpretative skills. You need to understand what the sources are saying. Are they a factual account, propaganda or satire? 2. Evaluation. This means making an assessment of the evidence in a document. Ask yourself what the particular document you are studying actually shows and how reliable is it as a source. For instance, where does it come from and what is its date? Use your background knowledge and, if relevant, the other documents, to check its reliability and utility - that is, what use is it to you in solving the question you are asked? A satirical cartoon may be helpful in shedding light on why a particular policy is unpopular. Similarly, a government propaganda document can indicate what a government wants to hide. In evaluating a cartoon or picture, ask yourself what is the overall message the artist wants to communicate. Then go on to see what it tells you about the events and people portrayed.

SOURCE B. A journalist, working for a British newspaper as its correspondent in Paris, reports his understanding of what was agreed at the meeting at Plombières Ever since the publication of Orsini’s letter, hopes that France is disposed to assist the Italian cause have been growing. Now, the predictions have been heard that French troops will attack Austria on one side, while the little army of Victor Emmanuel will revenge an unforgotten reverse on a detested foe, and co-operate in the liberation of Lombardy. We are convinced that the interview at Plombières caused great satisfaction in Piedmont. There is a certain warlike tone in the news...
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