Bismarck and Cavour

Topics: Prussia, Italy, Otto von Bismarck Pages: 3 (1188 words) Published: May 13, 2012
By 1871, Europe was remapped with the rise of two newly united nations - the Kingdom of Italy and the German Empire. The unification movements of both countries took place at roughly the same time in the mid-19th century and were motivated by the same historical trends - liberalism and nationalism. Before the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte, both Italy and Germany shared some similar features. Italy was divided into a number of separate states which were ruled by despotic kings. Yet the Italians shared a common language and a common history - the Roman Empire. Many still had memories of the ancient unity and glory. Germany was actually more divided than Italy. There were more than three hundred small independent states, and they had no form of common government. Also, the Germans had a common language and shared some memories of unity in medieval times. Both the French Revolution and Napoleon affected the two countries. Italy was particularly influenced by the career of Napoleon who first rose to fame with his Italian campaign (1796). At first, Napoleon and his invading armies were treated by Italians as liberators who taught them liberalism and nationalism. In fact, Napoleon instituted some reforms in Italy and even created a united kingdom of Italy. These reforms reinforced the impact of liberalism and nationalism. However, when Napoleon became more of a dictator, he was opposed by Italians who rose into rebellion against Napoleonic dominance. As for Germany, the French Revolution and Napoleon gave the first impetus to nationalist and liberal forces. Napoleon reduced the number of German states from over three hundred to thirty nine and grouped them into a Confederation of the Rhine. On the other hand, both Austria and Prussia, major German states, were soundly defeated by Napoleon in several battles. Their harsh treatment nursed strong patriotic feeling among the Germans. In particular, Prussia had a modernized army and government in order to fight...
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