To what extent

Topics: Italy, Austria, Congress of Vienna Pages: 5 (1508 words) Published: September 25, 2014
To what extent was Austria responsible for the failure of the Italian revolutionaries in the years 1820-1849?

Austria played an integral part for the failure of Italian revolutionaries in between the years 1820-1849, due to their incredible influence throughout Europe at that time, being known as a superpower. Their military strength shone through, and crushed every revolution between 1820 and 1849. However, they are not the sole reason for failure. There are also other important factors that contributed to the failure of Italian revolutionaries, such as the lack of communication between leaders, and lack of foreign support.

Austria was responsible for the failure of the Italian revolutionaries due to two main reasons: their strict Chancellor Metternich, and the strength and efficiency of their army.

Austria was responsible for the failures of the Italian revolutionaries due to the influence of their chancellor, Metternich. The impact of Austria in Italy was felt before the first revolution in 1820. Due to the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo, 1815, the Holy Alliance (containing Prussia, Russia and Austria) ensured that France’s power was severely limited. In order to do this, land from Italy was distributed to Austria, as a way of enticing Austria to protect Italy from French expansion. The lands of Lombardy and Venetia came under the influence of the Austrians, due to the Congress of Vienna. The Austrian Chancellor Metternich, was therefore alarmed when he heard of revolutions occurring in Italy, as it made him think that the three states: Naples, Sicily and the Papal states, were challenging his authority, and this would have an impact on Austria, as it would have reduced trade between the two countries. Metternich explicitly states that “Italian affairs do not exist”, scorning the idea of a united Italy. When the revolution of Naples was successful, Metternich rapidly called together the Great Powers of Europe, and managed to convince them that he should be allowed to crush the revolution before it spread. The King of Naples, Ferdinand, who begged him for help, helped his case. In 1821, the Austrian Army marched into Naples, despite resistance from General Pepe.

Austria was responsible for the failures of the Italian revolutionaries due to the strength of the Austrian army. The Austrian army was considered to be one of the best armies in Europe at the time. They were perhaps second in ranking in Europe in terms of military might. The Austrian crushed the defenders of Naples, despite the brave leadership of Pepe. Control was returned to Ferdinand. In an attempt to prevent another revolution from happening, severe punishments were handed out to the citizens. There were also people who were arrested, imprisoned and even executed. Another example of this was in the Battle of Novara, when the incoming Austrian army crushed Piedmont when they attempted to riot, however, their miniature army was no match. The Austrian army were better trained, with better generals, as well as more men and more advanced equipment. The aftermath of the failed revolt was that hundreds of revolutionaries were forced into exile, and an Austrian army occupied Piedmont until 1823, furthermore exerting Austrian control over Italy. In 1831, there was rioting in Modena and Parma, and the two combined forces together in an attempt to protect themselves from the Austrian army, that the deposed Duke Francis was in charge of. Despite the two states working together, they were still unable to deal with the superiority of the Austrian army. This is yet another example of the importance of the dominance of the Austrian army. Without the Austrian army, many would have expected that at least a few of the revolutions would have been successful.

Austria was also responsible for the failure of Italian revolutionaries due to the efficiency of the Austrian army. In 1848, the Austrian army was yet again crucial in destroying the...
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