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How united and how Italian was Italy by 1871?
Longstanding divisions between the north and south were made worse by the events of the
The new political system meant the brotherhood of Italians was far from established.
The years between 61 and 70 were an anticlimax.
However, Rome and Venetia remained to be solved.
Garibaldi and Mazzini tried to complete the process they had started.
In 1861 Mazzini organised a petition to ask Italy to occupy Rome Garibaldi was involved in
various government schemes to attack Austria: Both plans were impractical.
In 1862 Garibaldi organised 3000 men to attack Rome.
France and Austria demanded Garibaldi be stopped the Italian army was ordered to do
Battle at Aspromonte Garibaldi refused to shoot Italians, but the Italian army shot at his
Garibaldi was wounded and arrested, though never tried.
Garibaldi's conspirators were tried and sentenced to death Mazzini was blamed for the
Garibaldi returned to Caprera: Victor Emmanuel II talked secretly and separately to both
Mazzini and Garibaldi, and Napoleon III.
In the autumn of 1864 he reached an agreement with the French emperor that caused the
nationalists to despair.
September Convention, 1864
By the terms of the September Convention, Napoleon agreed to withdraw his troops from
Rome within two years.
Victor Emmanuel promised to defend the Papal States in return.
The Italian capital moved from Turin to Florence.
Either Victor Emmanuel had abandoned the idea of Rome as the capital or he did not intend
to honour the terms of the September Convention.
Victor Emmanuel's popularity and reputation plummeted 50 people were killed in riots in
French troops withdrew from Rome in 1866 by that time Italy had acquired Venice.
War with Austria, 1866
Venice was acquired primarily because of the struggle for supremacy by Austria and
Prussia over Germany.
Bismarck was prepared to risk war with Austria provided Austria had to fight on 2 fronts
therefore proposed to Italy an antiAustrian military alliance.
Italy had offered Austria 100 million lire for Venetia offered Romania in compensation
proposal turned down seemed like there was no alternative to Prussia's offer.
April 1866, Italy and Prussia signed an alliance whereby Italy agreed to fight Austria if
Prussia and Austria went to war with each other within three months.
2 months later war broke out and Italy attacked Austria for the fourth time in less than 20
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By this time Austria had already agreed with France that France would receive Venice.
Italy's army was defeated at Custoza and its new navy at Lissa (in the Adriatic).
Garibaldi had a minor victory which had minimal impact.
Prussia ended the war quickly before Italy could do anything.
Plebiscite held in Venice the usual onesided result.
Venice therefore part of Italy, but only due to Prussian army.
Napoleon III had ensured Italy received Venice, yet Prussian army were the main factor.…read more