German and Italian unificationby Rit Nosotro
Compare German (Bismarck's 5 step program) with Italian unification. Contrast the political movements, and results of rapid Industrialization.
In contrast to the Italian kingdom that was founded by a popular uprising against foreign ruling powers, German unification was brought about by keen political tactics and strong military support.
Garibaldi fostered the idea of Italian Nationalism in the face of foreign domination. Sardinia, with the help of France, rid the Italian peninsula of Austrian control. In the area of what would became a unified Germany, Otto Von Bismarck of Prussia skillfully waged war to bully lesser territories into an alliance under his control in order to have mutual security against the external threats that he incited.
Does a unified nationalism help promote the health and safety of the populace? Those ancients at the Tower of Babel declared "let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4). God responded, "now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do." Bismarck too, wanted to make a name for himself as did Napoleon, Hitler, various Popes and other powerful figures on earth. How were their imaginations restrained?
With no sovereign government, the Italian peninsula had been conquered by the French under Napoleon in 1796, and later by the Austrians when Napoleon’s hold on the country weakened. After the Congress of Vienna (1814 to 1815) the peninsula of Italy was ruled almost exclusively by Austria, with Sardinia (an island off the coast of Italy) controlling several small regions. However, rule by a foreign power hardly sat well with the Italians, and from this point onward, rebellions frequently occurred throughout the country. One of the largest, and most successful, was the 1848 revolution in Rome. Angered that the Pope had not joined with the revolutionaries to free the country, the citizens of Rome forced Pope Pius IX to flee the city. Rome had achieved freedom from its oppressors but it would be short lived. The Pope and his closest advisor, Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli, appealed to the Catholic powers in Europe (i.e., France, Austria, and Spain), and asked for help to overturn the rebellion. Despite the heroic actions of Giuseppe Garibaldi, who held the city against a larger French force, Rome could not stand alone against a combined attack from all three countries, and was forced to surrender to French forces in July 1849. Garibaldi was forced to flee Italy for his life; the Pope was restored, and Rome was once again under foreign control.
However, the movement to unite Italy was far from dead. Count Cavour, Prime Minister of Sardinia, allied Sardinia with France in 1858, and in the following year helped to create a war against Austria. Cavour hoped to secure a great amount of the Italian peninsula from the war, and accomplish most of the unification in one go. Although the war did end with France and Sardinia as the victors, France made a move Cavour did not suspect: it made peace with Austria. Under the terms put forward, Austria maintained a good deal of Italy, while most of Lombardy was transferred to France, with several cities going to Sardinia. In 1860, Parma, Romagna, Modena and several other parts of Italy all voted for Annexation to Sardinia. In exchange for its approval of the annexation, France received the territories of Nice and Savoy. Within the year, Palermo began a revolt against the kingdom of the Two Sicily’s. At this point Garibaldi, with the help and aid of Cavour, began a military campaign against the Sicilian kingdom in aid of the rebellion. By 1861 Sardinia had absorbed almost the entire Italian peninsula excepting Rome and Venice. The same year, the kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, but unification continued for several years, ending in 1871 when the Italian kingdom absorbed Rome and Venice after allying with Prussia during the Seven Week War.
Instead of ongoing rebellions, German unification was brought about largely by political maneuvering on the side of Prussia. The Frankfurt assembly, convened in 1848, wrote a liberal constitution for the German states to unify under an emperor. In desperation, the crown was offered to Frederic William IV, King of Prussia. With Frederic’s refusal of the crown, the assembly was dismissed without having forged unification for Germany. Prussia and its main rival Austria came away from the assembly still vying for unification. Prussia’s leader, William I, and his Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck, both agreed that unification must be made under Prussia’s power and direction. With this goal in mind, Bismarck set about securing treaties with the other major European powers. Prussia soon secured treaties with Russia, France, and Italy. Prussia than agreed to aid Austria in a joint invasion of Schleswig-Holstein, two Danish territories. After the successful invasion, a disagreement about authority over the conquered territories occurred between Austria and Prussia. Bismarck, waiting for an excuse to attack Austria, manipulated the disagreement in Prussia’s advantage by declaring war on Austria. The war that followed is today known as the Seven Week War, and it astounded Europe in how quickly Austria was defeated by Prussia's industrialized railroads and weapons. After the war, Prussia instituted a lenient peace with Austria, hoping not to alienate the second greatest power in the German states. After the shock and intimidation gained from the war, Prussia had little difficulty in organizing the North German Confederation in 1876, which contained the northern German states excluding Austria. Austria itself soon became part of the Austria-Hungry kingdom.
With the northern German states finally unified, Prussia turned its gaze to the south. In the year 1870, French dictator Napoleon III demanded an assurance from Prussian ruler William I that a member of the Hohenzollern family would never ascend to the throne in Spain. Seeing an opportunity, Bismarck twisted an account of the incident and published it for the French people. Angered over the account, France declared war on Prussia. When war was declared, the southern states joined with the unified North German Confederation, and under the might of a fully unified Germany, France fell in 1871. After the war, Bismarck convinced the southern states that Prussia’s formidable military, combined with the strength of the northern states, would make its dominance of Germany inevitable. In Versailles, on January 18th, 1871 William I of Prussia was declared the leader of a restored German Empire, the Second Reich.
What differed most between the unifications of Germany and Italy were the methods and reasons behind them. In Italy, multiple rebellions made the country hostile, and forced a military occupation, which angered the inhabitants even more. These intolerable actions towards the Italians angered them, so the rebellions continued until Sardinia stepped in to help mold the situation politically. In Germany, the major force behind unification was insistence by the Prussians that unification must occur on their own terms, and under their rule. From here, political maneuvering and fast, well orchestrated wars lead to alliance after alliance until the country was once again united. The distinction to be made clearly is this: with a popular uprising that was aided by strong internal political support, the Italian kingdom was founded, despite major opposition from foreign ruling powers. German unification was brought about by keen political tactics that were supported by an excellent military. This combination was successfully used to demonstrate Prussia’s might, and to impress the other German states that alliances would be both unavoidable and very beneficial.
According to some eschatological theologies, as allies in the European Union, Germany and Italy form the remnants of the Roman empire. In Daniel 2, they are symbolically represented as “feet of iron and partly of baked clay” that will stand until Christ returns and strikes the statue on its feet and smashes them. Industrialization coupled with Darwinian nationalism led to militarism which jumped at WWI. The reaction to the devastation of WWI led to WWII and the holocaust against the Jews by Hitler, who lived and died by the sword. As God's intervention caused the Tower of Babel to crumble, so too will He thwart man's desire to unify and conquer when Christ returns as Sovereign Lord over all. In this chain of unification, war, disintegration, and the reestablishment of Israel as prophesied, history is moved on a linear path toward a predictable end.
1. What vital element did Prussian military use to win the “Seven Week’s
c. railroads and rifles
d. broad swords, long bows, and catapults
2. Which country helped Garibaldi unify Italy?
3. In preparation for the Seven Weeks War, Bismarck did all the following EXCEPT
a. made alliances with France, Italy, and Russia
b. helped Austria attack two Danish territories
c. purposefully upset France toward declaring war on Prussia
d. reinforce Prussia's industrial infrastructure
Answers: 1c, 2d, 3c
German culture.com, Bismarck and unification. ©1998-2004
Germany, Federal Republic of," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia
"Italy," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2005
Wikipedia.com, German Empire. 2005
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