The Extent to Which Austria was the Main Obstacle to the Unification of Italy in the Period 1815-1849

The Extent to Which Austria was the Main Obstacle to the Unification of Italy in the Period 1815-1849

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The Extent to Which Austria was the Main Obstacle to the Unification of Italy in the Period 1815-1849

In the period immediately after the Vienna settlement in 1815 and up
to the widespread revolutions throughout Europe and especially Italy
in 1848 and 1849, the prospect of a united Italy seemed almost a
distant dream. There were a range of obstacles in between progress to
a unified state. These included the outright strength of foreign
powers and in particular of Austria in suppressing revolution and
thereafter its ability to recover quickly. Also the parochial nature
of the society, the lack of a universally accepted leader, the failure
to coordinate activity and the lack of popular support were all
obstacles to a united Italian state in this period. However, the
domination of the peninsula by Austria was the single most important
factor because without its strength the restored monarchs would have
fell permanently and the lack of foreign influence could have united
the new governments.

The influence and domination of the Italian peninsula by Austria along
with its immense military advantage was a key obstacle to the
unification of Italy in the period 1815-1849. Firstly, the Vienna
Settlement in 1815 increased Austrian power over Italy and the
reactionary Restored Monarchs were heavily influenced by Austria. This
meant that the middle-class officials in the governments and the law
courts were dismissed and replaced by the non-noble families which
were uninterested in any form of Italian unity. The Austrian
chancellor Metternich had a totally negative and reactionary approach
meaning that he was strongly opposed to nationalism and h...


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... domination over the Italian peninsula was definitely the main obstacle
to the unification of Italy in the period 1815-1849. Although the
other factors were important in ensuring that the overall effort of
the revolutionaries was more united and in turn greater, it was always
clear that without the military capabilities and resources of the
Austrians there was no way that the revolutionaries could be
successful. The overall effort for a united Italy was weak in many
different ways and although the lack of a universal leader was
definitely the next single most important factor after Austrian power
it was only an element to a certain extent. Therefore without Austrian
intervention there would have been more liberal provisional
governments which would have had a greater chance of working together
to form a united Italy.

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