Italian Unification Process Overview
STAGE 1 Acquisition of Lombardy
France and Italy go to War with Austria 1859. The Battles of Magenta and Solferino were particularly bloody. Napoleon calls for an armistice at Villa Franca but gives Lombardy to Piedmont.
The Pact of Plombieres set up the agreement between Cavour and Napoleon III. Cavour now needed to provoke war with Austria. Victor Emmanuel delivered a provocative speech on 12th December 1859 but it had little effect. Cavour mobilised the Piedmontese Army in March 1859. The Austrians followed suit. The Austrians demanded the Piedmontese army to demobilise within three days. It didn’t and Austria declared war on Piedmont on 29th April. The French sent their army. Piedmont ensured the National Society engineered revolutions in central and northern Italy. WAR WITH AUSTRIA 1859 Two minor victories by the Piedmontese army at Palestro and by Garibaldi’s ‘Cacciatori delle Alpi’ at Como in May 1859 paved the way for the two main battles of the war. The Battles of Magenta and Solferino: (4th and 24th June) Austria was defeated at both (although only just). The Carnage was horrific (led to the Red Cross being set up) and Austria didn’t look as if it would pull out of N Italy. So Napoleon secretly made peace with Austria at Villafranca on 8th July 1859. Villafranca: this concluded that Austria would give Lombardy to France to pass to Piedmont (but not give up Venetia). Piedmont was not to acquire the central states and the Pope would lead an Italian confederation of states. Cavour resigned before the official end of war at the Treaty of Zurich Nov 1859.
STAGE 2 Acquisition of Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna
Central states voted for annexation to Piedmont. Cavour persuades French to accept this by promising her Nice and Savoy.
Napoleon however declared that the Pope’s temporal role was in decline and met with Cavour (back as PM on 21st Jan 1860). Cavour agreed to hand over Nice and Savoy to France as long as France would accept annexation by Piedmont of the Central duchies. This was agreed as long as the central duchies held plebiscites and voted in favour of Piedmontese annexation. Cavour manipulated the National Society to cause unrest in the Central Sates to initially give him a bargaining tool over Napoleon. He then used them to rig…