Italian and German unification had many similarities
amongst each other. However, significant players in both
nations paths to a unified state had very different approaches to unification.
Modern Italy owes its foundation most of all to the Camillo di Cavour. Before his time the Italian peninsula was made up of scattered independent states. Giuseppe Mazzini inspired the Italians to make the peninsula one kingdom. Giuseppe Garibaldi was the great military hero. Cavour, a nobleman, was the organizer, politician, and diplomat who made the union of Italy a reality.
Because of the 1848 revolutions Cavour probably did not believe that the creation of a unified Italy was feasible within his lifetime; until at least 1859 he strove rather for an expanded Norhtern Italian kingdom under the house of Savoy. To achieve this goal he strived for foreign support against Austrian domination. In 1858 he won the backing of Emperor Napoleon III of France for a war against Austria, promising in exchange to give Savoy and Nice to France. Austria was moved around like a pawn into declaring war and was forced to surrendor Lombardy. Because France refused to continue fighting with Austra, Cavour resigned as premier.
In 1860 Cavour returned to office to find Sardina on the verge of annexation. “Cavour, taking advantage of the auspicious circumstances for Italian unification, sent Sardinian troops into the Papal States, which, with the exception of Latium and Rome, were soon annexed to Sardinia.”
Cavour was worried about Garibaldi’s power because if Garibaldi took Rome, France may have intervened. Cavour, having this knowledge. does not invade Rome. By his “superior statesmanship” Cavour convinced Garibaldi to yield his authority in the south and avoided “foreign intervention in favor of the dispossessed rulers and of the pope, whose interests he professed to be safeguarding.” Garibaldi then gives the South over to Piedmont which essentially proclaims the “Kingdom of Italy.”
Otto Von Bismark, on the other hand, gave the German people an identity of their own and unified the 39 German states that made up Prussia in the second half of the 19th century. When the empire was established, he skillfully pursued strict policies in foreign affairs and succeeded in preserving the peace in Europe for two decades. Although he unified the German empire, Bismark failed to unify the people.
Otto von Bismarck, a member of the Prussian aristocracy did not take a revolutionary path to German unification. He rather took the craft of “realpolitik” and brought it to a new level. Bismarck used “realpolitik” to get his enemy into a position where they had no military allies, and then attacked quickly and decisively. He did not take the liberal approach towards reform, rather he did not even recognize his parliament when they refused his motions. As politically incorrect as Bismarck’s approach was, it was successful, as he led Germany to unification.
Because of this “ignorance” one could say that Cavour was a better person because of his more lawful approach to unification. Bismarck achieved unity through “iron and blood.” Human lives were lost as a result of Bismarck’s “unification agenda”. However, Bismarck achieved his goal, and illustrated “realpolitik” with his use of the “ends justifying the means.”
The assertion that by 1914 authoritarian monarchy had disappeared and that liberal political principles had been, or were being, incorporated into constitutions can be summarized by Otto von Bismarck. Allthough Bismarck defended absolutism he knew that he had to stick to the path of constitutionality. Bismarck says, in his Speech to the Reichstag:
“I am no opponent of the constitutional system, onthe contrary, I consider it the only feasible formof government-but if I had believed that adictatorship, that absolutism in Prussia, wouldhave been more useful in furthering the process ofGerman unification, I would have unquestioninglyand unscrupulousy defended absolutism…we mustkeep to the path of constitutionality, whichincidently corresponds to my inner feelings and my belief in the overall practicability of ourpolicies.”
In Russia authoritarian monarchy reigned eventhough liberalism was trying to be incorporated into society through reformists. The opposition to this form of government was ever growing until 1905 when it exploded.
Mostly throghout history when a revolution takes place the reformists take over and totally change the former regime. In Russia in 1905 this was not the case. Although civil liberties were granted in this revolution they were short-lived. From 1906-1911 it looked like reforms were being made under Peter Stolypin in that ownership of land were being made available to everyone. But Stolypin was assassinated in 1911 and Nicholas, no fan of reform in the first place, “fell back on the army and bureaucracy to rule Russia.”
In Great Britian liberal political principles were undoubtedly being incorporated into the constitution. Because of the immergence of trade unions and the Labour Party the Liberals and the Conservatives were pretty much forced to reform. At first the trade unions were nor successful but by 1906 twenty-nine members in the House of Commons were represented by the Trade Unions.
The Liberals worked to reform for the workers and in the end they defently succeeded. “Liberalism, which has been based on the principle that the government that governs least governs best, had been transformed.”
In Italy Liberals success was not that easy. Giovanni Giolitti thought that political and econmic bribery was the way to go. Of course he was sadly mistaken. His methods made Italian politics even more corrupt and unable to be managed. Like evry other case in the 19th century this led to riots.
The forces within the nation to use the national resources for their own private gain is the biggest problem with imperialism. The imperialist forces being motivated by “God, Glory, and Gold,” can “only be overthrown by the establishment of a genuine democracy,” according to Hobson.
The imperialist forcesbelieve that their own “god” is motivating them to care for no one else but themselves and speaking to them and telling them exactly what to accomplish, who to conquer or protect. Obviously these imperialists want to be gloryfull in everything and everything that they take up. they do not feel that they can be conquered or defeated. they have absolute confidence in their actions and their beliefs. They want to spread and spread and spread until the whole world is conquered by the imperialist forces and they possess “the world” They are motivated by land and wealth in this aspect. In that time of imperialist expansion it was the “supreme danger of modern national states.”