The Making of Germany and Italy


• After 1848, nationalist feeling were widespread among middle class Germans.

• Germany and Italy came to be unified as nation-states.

• National feelings were widespread among middle-class German. Prussia took on the leadership of the movement for national unification.

• The Chief Minister, Otto von Bismarck was the architect of this process carried out with the help of the Prussian army and bureaucracy. Three wars over seven years with Austria, Denmark and France ended in Prussian victory and completed the process of unification.

• On the 18 January 1871, the princes of the German states, representatives of the army, important Prussian ministers including Otto von Bismarck gathered in the Palace of Versailles to proclaim the new German Empire headed by Kaiser William I of Prussia.

• The new state placed a story emphasis on modernising the currency, banking, legal and judicial systems in Germany. Prussian measures and practices often become a model for the rest of Germany.


• Like Germany, Italy, too had a long history of political fragmentation. Italians were scattered over several dynastic states as well as the multi-national Habsburg Empire.

• During the 1830s, Giuseppe Mazzini had sought to put together a coherent programme for a unitary Italian Republic. He had also formed a secret society called Young Italy for the dissemination of his goals.

• Italy offered them the possibility of economic development and political dominance.

• Chief Minister Cavour who led the movement to unify the regions of Italy was neither a revolutionary nor a democrat.

• In 1860, a large number of armed volunteers under the leadership of Giuseppe marched into South Italy and the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and succeeded in winning support and drove out the Spanish rulers.

• In 1861 Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed King of united Italy.


• The history of nationalism in Britain was different from the rest of Europe. Before the eighteenth century there was no British nation. The people of different identities comprised English, Welsh, Scot or Irish lived in the British Isles.

• The Act of Union of 1707 between England and Scotland resulted in the formation of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’. This led to the demolition of Scotland’s distinctive culture and political institutions.

• In Ireland, the English helped the protestants and established their control over the Catholic country and Ireland was dominated by United Kingdom in 1801.

• A British nation was formed with English culture, British flag, the national anthem and the English language.

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