The Impact Nationalism in Italy and the Austrian Empire

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Nationalism holds that where a nation exists, it should govern itself. The forces of nationalism influenced central Europe from Italy to the land of the Austrian Habsburgs. After 1815, the region knew the positive effects of a different style of governing and was divided into a much more rational set of political units. There was an effort by both states to unite its segmented lands, so that they could have a more international standpoint. By 1870, both Italy and the Austrian Empire had been re-established. Italy had become unified into a central power, whereas Austria-Hungary had established a dual monarchy. The political structure of the Italian peninsula prior to 1861 was that of a fragmented group of small kingdoms and principalities. There was no unity whatsoever among the Italian states, and internal violence hindered any progress. The people in the Italian peninsula, though, shared several traits and characteristics; a common language as well as a similar culture, and a historical background. Some Italian leaders began calling for nationalism with the goal of bringing Italy together into a sovereign nation-state with autonomous rule. Giuseppe Mazzini, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Count Camilo Cavour, may have been the most important of the leaders in the spread of nationalism. Mazzani was known for being the “soul” of Italian nationalism. He had established a secret society called “Young Italy”, an organization dedicated to the efforts to unite Italy. Garibaldi was considered to be the "sword" of Italian nationalism. A private group working for him called the “Red Shirts” conquered forces opposed to unification and forced southern Italy into a cohesive political entity. Count Camilo Cavour was deemed the “mind” in the efforts toward Italian nationalism. Cavour successfully got the aid of France in a war against the Austrians and would eventually put Victor Emmanuel II on the throne of a completely united Italian nation-state in 1861. Austria...
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