History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1985: Q.5 (b)

History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1985: Q.5 (b)

Q.5 (b) “They have stopped me from making Italy by diplomacy from the North, I will make it by revolution from the South.” Comment.


Cavour was the Italian prime minister of Sardinia and was called the mind of Italian Unification. He was a great diplomat who used his skills in the international cooperation, diplomacy and warfare to unite various parts of erstwhile Italy.

He realized that Piedmont alone cannot achieve unification of Italy and he used diplomacy to involve other European powers to isolate Austria to achieve unification. His participation in the Crimean war and entry into the Congress of Paris in 1856 was results of this diplomatic policy.

In yet another brilliant move, Cavour prompted Napoleon of France to sign an agreement known as the Pact of Plumbers by which Napoleon agreed to join Sardinia in the event of a war with Austria, provided that Austria turns out to be the aggressor. Austria had held the Northern areas of Lombardy and Venetia of Italy.

Assured of the French support to Italian cause, Cavour provoked Austria of Sardinia and France captured Lombardy by defeating Austria. Then, just when the capture of Venice appeared within the reach of the allied forces, Napoleon III called a halt and arranged for truce at villa Franca between Italy and Austria in 1859. Sardinia could annex Lombardy, but could not get Venice. Hence, Italian unification at the North remained incomplete.

Cavour got frustrated after being checkmated in the north and his Northern diplomacy came to the halt. He then thought of achieving Italian unification from the south through the revolution. He said: “They have stopped me from making Italy by diplomacy from the North, I will make it by revolution from the South.”

In this spirit the Count turned to the party of Mazzini and Young Italy, and supported hot-headed nationalist Garibaldi. In 1860 when the inhabitants of Sicily re­volted against its autocratic ruler, Cavour encouraged and assisted Garibaldi and his ‘Red Shirts’ in helping the people of Southern Italian states (Naples and Silicy) in throwing the yoke of Bourbon dynasty. Garibaldi landed with his ‘Red Shirts’ to Palemo, the capital of Sicily and ousted the ruler with the help of the people. He also inflicted a defeat on the army of Naples. At the same time when Garibaldi marched to Rome, Cavour blocked it by political maneuvering as he was fearful that the Italian Unification was being turned into a popular movement by the radical followers of Garibaldi and that France would intervene if Rome were attacked.

Cavour was mastermind in inspiring the people for plebiscites in south which decided in favour of joining with the kingdom of Sardinia and Italy, though not completely unified, became one more step closer to complete unification. In 1861, the first Italian parliament representing all Italy except Rome and Venetia met at and Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia was made the King of Italy. Cavour’s policy of revolution from south proved successful.

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