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Assess the effect of foreign influences on Italian unification.

I. Introduction
a. One of the most important lessons learned from the 1848 revolutions was that
Austria could not be ejected from Italy without the help of foreign allies
b. Influence – pressure or persuasion to sway things in a certain way
c. Throughout the course of the Italian unification movement, few foreign nations
exercised influence: Sardinia, France, Austria, and possibly Prussia and the
German states
d. When analyzing foreign influence on unification, split into two parts:
process/events and result
e. Foreign nations had a great impact on the process
f. Sardinia had only major lasting effect on result
II. Sardinia
a. Sardinia had a great interest in the unification of Italy
i. Many Sardinians were ethnically Italian
ii. Count Camillo Benso di Cavour wished to free Italy of foreign domination
and bring about political transformation on the peninsula (nationalist)
b. Cavour
i. Became PM in 1852
ii. One of his goals was to strengthen Sicily
iii. Publicized Italian problem at Paris peace conference for Crimean War
c. Sardinia was the only nation to gain a diplomatic advantage from the Crimean
war – European nations supported Sardinia against Austria
III. France
a. Four years after the Crimean War, Sardinia succeeded in forming an alliance with
Louis Napoleon of France
b. France had interest in central Italian states
c. Plombières Alliance – July 20, 1858
i. Secret agreement between Cavour and Louis Napoleon at a spa
ii. Napoleon promised to join war to drive Austria out of Italy, as long as it
could be justified in the eyes of diplomacy
iii. Reorganized as confederation of four states – upper, central, papal, Two
iv. Nice and Savoy were given to France
v. Sardinia needed only provoke a war with Austria
IV. War with Austria
a. Cavour provoked war with Austria by sheltering Austrian deserters and
encouraging Austria’s Italian provinces to revolt
b. April 23, 1859 – Austria sends ultimatum to Sardinia, war begins four days later
c. France was becoming less confident about alliance
i. After two battles, Austria had still not been decisively defeated
ii. War stirred anti-French sentiment in Prussia and German states
d. France made peace with Austria at Villafranca – July 11, 1859
i. Armistice between France and Austria
ii. Austria gave up most of Lombardy, but kept Venetia
iii. France gave Lombardy along with Nice and Savoy back to Sardinia
iv. Italian nationalists angry that Austria kept Venetia
e. Treaty of Turin – March 24, 1860
i. France regained Nice and Savoy in exchange for consent for Sardinia to
annex central Italian states
f. Rest of events leading to unification were conducted entirely by Sardinia on
V. Subtle foreign influences on process/events
a. Paris peace conference for Crimean War caused European powers (Britain,
Russia, Prussia) to support Sardinia but not actually join in war with Austria
i. Austria was kept mostly isolated, which helped in its defeat
b. Garibaldi wanted to attack Venetia, but the thought of war with Austria and/or
France influenced Cavour keep military forces on the peninsula
VI. Foreign influences on results
a. Result of movement – unified Italian kingdom under rule of Victor Emmanuel II
b. The only parts of the peninsula that were not unified was Rome, which was left
to the Pope, and Venetia
i. Prussia gave Venetia to Italy in 1866
ii. Italy gained Rome on September 20, 1870, after withdrawal of French
c. France did not succeed in gaining central Italian states
d. Austria lost all Italian provinces
e. Sardinia had a major influence on unification, but annexed Italy, so it might not
be considered a “foreign nation”
VII. Conclusion
a. Although foreign nations (Sardinia, France, Austria, Prussia, German states) had
great effect on process leading up to unification, only Sardinia had a lasting
effect on the results
b. However, the foreign nations helped in a way that decisively shaped the process
c. It is unclear whether Italian unification would have been achievable without
influence of foreign nations