• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was the war of 1859 the turning point to Italian unification?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent was the war of 1859 the turning point to Italian unification? In 1852, when Cavour became Prime Minister of Piedmont, no one expected that within ten years Italian unification would be achieved. Partly because of the failures of the 1848-49 revolutions. The peninsula was still divided into ten separate states and expelling Austria's domination over Italy was Cavour's main focus, he only ever expressed at the beginning, a vague wish that Italy achieve total unity. The war of 1859 can indeed be considered the turning point to Italian unification, the revolts that began in Sicily in 1848 instilled important lessons in Cavour. Primarily the fact that if Italy was ever going to gain independence, they needed to oust Austria. Austria held the key to any possibility of Italian unity and there was no indication that they would surrender their control. Austria were better equipped and their army were vastly superior in numbers, Piedmont did not possess the military muscle to expel Austria. ...read more.


However, it should be acknowledged that both leaders, Cavour and Napoleon had very different motives at Plombieres and there were no intentions of working towards a unified Italy. It can not be denied that Napoleon III played a indispensable role in supporting Italy. Napoleon was keen to act as the champion of liberal causes as he believed that support for Italian Independence would be popular at home. This interest coincides also with his desire to see Austria's power diminish, therefore he provided 20,00 troops to fight in the war against Austria. Also, he wished for a federated Italy with an enlarged Piedmont in the north acting as a benevolent ally: a united Italy was rejected as it could act as a threat to France. Cavour's obvious aim was to eradicate Austrian possession, in conjunction he hoped to expand his state of Piedmont into the Papal States and Lombardy. An obvious indication that unification was not considered as a possible option at Plombieres was the fact that when he signed the treaty with Napoleon, he was prepared to sacrifice Savoy and Niece to the French. ...read more.


The Italian peninsula had once been surrounded by revolutionary turmoil, where aims were divided and popular support was lacking. Secret societies such as the Carbonari possessed neither competence nor the desire to work for an Italian state, as they never took extreme action against the Austrians or embarked on outside help. So to some extent it has been proved that the war of 1859 did contribute to the path of Italian Unification as it made it a real possibility for the first time. This is what spurred Garibaldi to capture Sicily and Naples after his expedition to recover Nice from France. In which he endeavoured to blow up the ballot boxes that were to be used by those voting on whether Nice should remain Italian or again become French. If it had not been for the work of Garibaldi, Sicily and Naples would never have been annexed to Piedmont until much later. Moreover it was Cavour's political diplomacy which guided Italy to unification. The war of 1859 is evidence of Cavour's ability to understand that to have any success in ousting Austria France was essential as an ally. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. How and why did Piedmont-Sardinia play an important part in Italian Unification

    France therefore proceeded to make peace agreement with Austria at Villafranca. It was agreed that most of Lombardy would go to Piedmont while Austria would retain Venetia, Mantua and Peschiera, as well as the formation of an Italian confederation including Austria set up by the Pope.

  2. To what extent was Cavour a leader of the unification of Italy?

    His sharp diplomacy used to isolate Austria and receive help from France is paramount to the beginning of Italy's unification. Even though the war of 1859 was more expensive than first anticipated, resulting in Austria being able to recoup some of its losses, in particular the wealthy province of Venetia

  1. To what extent was the unification of Prussia due to weaknesses of Austria?

    Internally, Bismarck was getting ready for the eventuality of war by pushing through his views of the need for military strength and thus creating a constitutional crisis as the liberals refused to increase the military budget.

  2. Italian Unification

    more through force of circumstances."5 Garibaldi was a far more different man compared to Cavour. All of his actions can be explained by his total devotion to Italian unification. He always reacted in what he thought were the best interests of Italy.


    French to come to his aid, which they did in July 1849. Soon afterwards Mazzini left again and went to exile. Although he was still respected and people thought highly of him, the people started to turn to the monarchial leadership offered by King Victor Emmanuel.

  2. To what extent was Austria the main obstacle to the unification of Italy in ...

    The Austrians were also able to recover quickly by staying in the Quadrilateral Fortresses and gaining more forces which meant that they were more prepared for each attack and this was another weakness of the Italian revolutionaries This reinforces that Austrian was the main obstacle to Italian unification.

  1. Questions on World War One.

    naval power ii. imperial venture iii. peace and tranquility in Europe - Britain's attitude toward Germany : to check Russia and France - even after Europe was divided into two camps, Britain thought that the Franco-Russian Alliance threatened her more than Germany.

  2. To what extent did nationalism within the Austria-Hungarian Empire contribute to the outbreak of ...

    The questions were to be settled at the Congress of Berlin, over which Bismarck presided. Germany was to perform the humble task of "the honest broker" facilitating business between clients at cross-purposes, all of whom were the broker's friends. Bismarck carefully supported Austrian interest in the first serious attempt to woo her into the alliance.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work