The German and Italian Unification

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Introduction Nation States saw a major resurgence during the post industrial revolution period of the 1860’s and 1870’s. By 1871, Europe was remapped with the rise of two newly united nations - the Kingdom of Italy and the German Empire. The unification movements of both countries took place at roughly the same time in the mid-19th century and were inspired by the Revolution in France and Napoleonic age and motivated by the same historical trends - that of liberalism and nationalism. The movements were led by two fierce nationalists Italian Prime Minister Camilo di Cavour and Chief Minister Otto Von Bismarck.The following discussion presents a comparison of the two unifications. Pre-1815 Firstly ,before the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte, both Italy and Germany shared some similar features. Italy was divided into a number of separate states which were ruled by despotic kings. Yet the Italians shared a common language and a common history - the Roman Empire. Many still had memories of the ancient unity and glory. Germany was actually more divided than Italy. She had more than three hundred petty independent states, and they had no form of common government. Nonetheless, “ the Germans had a common language and shared some memories of unity in medieval times. Secondly,both the French Revolution and Napoleon affected the two countries. Italy was particularly influenced by the career of Napoleon who first rose to fame with his Italian campaign (1796). Imitially, Napoleon and his invading armies were treated by Italians as liberators who taught them liberalism and nationalism. In fact, Napoleon instituted some reforms in Italy and even created a united Kingdom of Italy. These reinforced the impact of liberalism and nationalism. However, when Napoleon became more and more a dictator, he was opposed by Italians who rose into rebellion against Napoleonic
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