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28 JULY, 2017 (MAINS)



Q1. “Out of the mud of Crimea, Italy will be made”. Discuss this statement made by Cavour in the context of the Italian unification. (200 words)


Please write the answer in comments section

  • Ashish

    As per the terms of Vienna settlement Italy was a mere geographical expression with no political existence.
    But this arrangement gave to the nationalist aspirations of the people. Their discontent was heightened by the passionate preaching of Mazzini who gave definite shape to their nationalist ideals and kept alive their spirit of revolt.
    Nevertheless the struggle of the Italian patriots in 1848-49 had ended in a tragic failure.
    This was recognised by Cavour, the Prime Minister of Sardinia that the small state of Sardinia-Piedmont could not by itself unify Italy. There was a need for foreign assistance. So while developing Piedmontese resource to the utmost in preparation for the inevitable struggle, he cast about for allies.
    • The Crimean war of 1954 was a Godsend opportunity for Cavour, wherein he decided to side with Britain and France, even though he has no enmity with Russia. An alliance with these great powers would improve Piedmont’s international standing and would place these powers under a moral obligation to be useful at some later time.
    • This defeat of Russia in Crimean war and the feat of Sardinian soldiers in the war gave Sardinia a place of pride in Europe, wherein cavour was called to the Congress of Paris 1856 as a representative of Italy.
    • At the Congress the anomalous and unhappy condition of Italy under Austrian rule was exposed to Europe by Cavour. This marked a moral victory as Italian cause no longer remained the domestic affair of Austria; rather it became a European concern.
    • After a secret meet between Napoleon III and Cavour [Compact of Plombiers], whereby French support was secured with promise of Nice and the Savoy, he provoked Austria for war. Austria fell into this trap and he waged the war.
    • However Napoleon III withdrew in between and with Truce of Villafranca the war came to an end, much to the chagrin of Cavour. By it Sardinia was to gain Lombardy but Venice was to continue under Austrian rule. Nevertheless the first phase of Italian unification was completed.
    • The next step was the spontaneous movement in central Italy towards unity and liberty. The Duchies of Tuscany, Parma, Modena and the Romagna expelled their despotic rulers and voted their own absorption into the kingdom of Sardinia.
    • The Subsequent stage in Italian liberty was connected with the exploits of Garibaldi.
    BUT the ground for all the above was prepared only with Sardinia’s participation in Crimean war. Thus Crimean war played an important role in Italian unification.