HIS103Y Lecture 27 January 18th.
Napoleon III and the Wars of Italian Unification
• French war aims – split Quadruple Alliance, military victory justifying war by
capture of Sebastopol, Austro-Anglo-Russian tri-parted breaking up – ready for
peace Buol-Bourqueney agreement
• The one opposition to peace was Palmerston, who demanded more territorial
• Neutral Black Sea – Russian naval reserve broken, but Palmerston also argued
that the Sea of Azov and Russian rivers should become neutral
• Russia must concede territory in concession to uphold Ottoman Empire as strong
state (Georgia and Circassia must be detached from Russia)
• However Clarendon (GB) found that it had no support for these demands GB
would have fought on, but army was decimated by diseases and fatigue
• Napoleon III was then in charge to dictate the terms of the peace
• Congress of Paris, February 1856 to March Treaty of Paris
• Benedetti (France) – treaty was equal and fair to all regardless of victor or loser
• This was because Napoleon didn’t want to isolate Russia
• Russia also had won a major victory at Kars against the Ottomans (Kars was the
Verdun of Turkey) in the last weeks of the war
• This allowed Russia to trade Kars to retain Bessarabia, a territory north of the
• British proposal to neutralize Sea of Azov also undone, effectively allowing
Russians to enter the Black Sea at will
• Great Britain felt it hadn’t achieved its goals, Napoleon was successful, Russia
was to, but Austria was the major loser of the Crimean conflict
• In April 1856 Austria, GB, and France signed a defensive alliance to protect the
Treaty of Paris
• Austria was very isolated post Crimean. Austria was under pressure from both
East and West to evacuate Danubian Principalities – they had annoyed everyone
• Austria had been able to put out nationalistic rebellions pre-Crimean due to
• Now Russia was no longer committed to putting out liberal rebellions
• So now Italy and Germany had freedom to work on their national unification
• Napoleon recognized this and saw the need to adjust the international system to
this growing power. Didn’t have a proper mechanism to do this
• January 14 1858 – Napoleon nearly assassinated by Orsini, Italian patriot, begins
to actively work on the problem
• July 1858 Napoleon meets Cavour at Plombieres plotted a war against Austria
• France and Piedmont-Sardinia fight against Lombardy and Vienna (Austria) and
France would get Nice and Savoy
• Only possible if Russia sanctioned action to discourage Prussian intervention. In
March 1859 Alexander II agreed to remain neutral • Two weeks later Alexander proposes an international conference to discuss
Austrian influence in Italy
• This was good for France since it needed to justify its actions, ‘what is it that I
want, that Austria leave the congress isolated.’
• Napoleon painted Austria to look like they were oppressors at the congress to try
and justify the war
• Buol felt the congress would isolate Russia and demanded that Piedmont-Sardinia
• Now Napoleon and Cavour could go to war with European consent
• At Magenta and Solferino in June Austria defeated, so Lombardy was under
control, but then Napoleon broke pact of Plombieres by signing a armistice at
Villafranca with Austrians, became a peace at Zurich in the next year without
• Napoleon did so, because he did not want to be, ‘the leader of the scum of
• Naples in the South, Papal States, Piedmont-Sardinia and a Northern Federation –
this would make Italy always reliant on France
• However as France ran through Lombardy revolts in Parma, Modena, Papal
States, and Tuscany announced support for a unified Italy under Piedmont-
• So Napoleon tried to stop the process
• May 1860 Garibaldi led 8000 red shirts to invade Sicily and Naples and defeated
• So Napoleon allowed Cavour to occupy papal states but then Garibaldi instead of
fighting against Piedmont-Sardinia for control of Italy he hands over his winnings
to Victor Emanuel
• Handshake at Teano – 1861 the Kingdom of Italy
- Napoleon III had an uncanny ability to bring about the great powers into a collision
without displaying France as the instigator.
- Thus lead to the breakdown of the Holy Alliance – as well as the Quadruple Alliance.
- After the Napoleonic War and the Congress century – Napoleon gained a free hand to
establish a territorial establishment much like the Congress of Vienna.
- Napoleon III thought that France deserved the natural frontiers – low countries,
Rhinelands, Northern Italy etc.
- Wanted to make France the diplomatic arbitrator of Europe.
- He wanted to improve France’s position and encourage territorial expansion.
- Quadruple Alliance, Holy Alliance destroyed – Russia destroyed due to the Crimean War.
- Britain and France allied – France had the ability to reach her diplomatic poweress.
- Spring of 1856: An opportunity to regain their prior international position.
- France – unprecedented loss of territories and international position despite th