The Unification of Germany and Italy

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Italy and Germany were two newly united nations that emerged in 1871. The two regions that were to be unified shared much history together; ever since they were last united as one under the Holy Roman Empire. When the French Revolution and Napoleon came along, both Germanic and Italian states were affected in many ways. Napoleon began spreading his liberalist and nationalist influence in Italy with his Italian Campaign in 1796, which later spread to the Germanic states. After Napoleon¡¯s defeat, things began to change; Austria regained their power over the Italian states, except for Piedmont-Sardinia, and the Germanic states were ¡°united¡± under the German Confederation. As a result of these terms from the Congress of Vienna, liberal and nationalistic feelings began to stir up and the people began to fight towards independence.

The states that would soon unite to become future Germany and Italy all faced many obstacles in their fight for independence. One of the main things that stood in the way of both unifications was the state of Austria. Though it was ironic that the German Confederation had to fight one of its own states to achieve unification, it was one of their major conflicts. Austria was one of the most powerful German states, however, it provided no leadership or hope in the uniting Germany as one.

Since the Germanic people wanted unification, they turned to Prussia for help instead. Prussia was another one of Germany¡¯s strong states. To add to its power, Prussia established a German customs union in 1818 known as the Zollverein; a union that sought to increase trade and profits of its member states, excluding Austria. Austria tried to fight this by persuading some of the lower German states not to join. However, by the end of 1853, all of the states joined, still with the exception of Austria. With Austria pushed aside, the Germanic states seemed to be prospering and the people were gaining even more nationalism. William I of Prussia was crowned...
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