Rachel Sage #19 4th period FRQ Throughout the years leading up to 1871, the European Nation States

of Italy and Germany struggled to each become a united state with their own language, traditions, customs and history that would distinguish them from other nations and make it the primary focus of a person’s loyalty and sense of identity. By comparing and contrasting the development of unification in Italy and Germany the assumption that both countries were influenced by the same historical trends of liberalism and nationalism can be made. Prior to the French Revolution, Italy and Germany had very many similar traits. Both countries were divided into a large number of smaller states. Germany was extremely divided with more than three hundred independent states, with no form of common government. Still, Germans were able to have a common language and share some history of medieval times. In Italy each state was ruled by a separate despotic king, but Italians shared a common language like Germany and common history with the Roman Empire. The two nations were also affected during the Revolution and by Napoleon. Napoleon was first thought of by Italians as a liberator who was able to teach and reinforce liberalism and nationalism, but they grew less fond of him as he became more of a dictator and they rebelled against him. Even though this happened, Napoleon was able to basically create an Italian Confederation. For Germany the French Revolution gave the first push of national and liberal forces. Napoleon was able to turn the more than three hundred German States into only thirty nine. Still, Austria and Prussia remained a powerful influence in Germany, and Prussia was eventually able to defeat Napoleon and drive him out. At the Congress of Vienna when Napoleon was exiled to Helena, Italy was again divided into petty states with restored legitimate rulers. In Germany absolute governments were restored to all states. Unlike in Italy, a loose German Confederation of the thirty-nine states was created to preserve a vague sense of German unity. The confederation was almost pointless because they held almost no power except Austria who held the presidency of the Diet. All actions taken at the Congress of Vienna seemed to have only set Italy and Germany farther back from unification. After 1815 Italy was strongly influenced by Austria, who did not want to see Italy become unified. Metternich was able to suppress liberal and nationalist ideals until 1848. Then Piedmont-Sardinia was able to lead the point of Italian nationalists. In Germany, Austria also presented an obstacle toward unification. Austria sought to lead Germany but not to unite it. After the Zollverein customs union of 1818 Prussia was able to rise economically and lead the way in the unification movement. Italy had no customs movement like the Zollverein that could help them unify. Piedmont, under the leadership of Prime Minister Cavour, was able to implement economic reforms that made it possible to challenge the Austrian presence in Italy.

In 1848 Revolts for liberty and unity broke out in every Italian state. At this time Kingdom of Piedmont also declared war on Austria. The revolts were eventually suppressed by despotic rulers, and Piedmont was defeated by Austria. In Germany, the two major states, Austria and Prussia, were shocked by revolts in their cities. Some few things were however achieved by the revolutions. Metternich was forced to resign and the states were granted the calling of constituent assemblies, and the creation of liberal governments. Even with some of these small revolutionary successes and proposed constitutions, liberty and unity failed to be brought to Germany and Italy. It was not until after 1848 when it was possible for both Italy and Germany achieve unification under capable leaders. It was not before 1861 for Italy and January 1871 for Germany when each was declared as United Nations. The similarities and differences of Germany and Italy’s process of unification show that both countries were influenced by the same historical trends of liberalism and nationalism.