IGCSE History Component-2: Specimen Questions with Answers 6 - 6 of 6



Liberalism & Nationalism in Italy & Germany, 1848 - 1871

The Problems of Italian Nationalists

Read the sources and then answer both the parts of the question.

Source A
  • It is not from outside that we fear that we shall see obstacles put in the way of Italian Independence. Alas! It has to be said that it is Italy itself which now, as always, manages to produce her own most cruel enemies and to raise almost insurmountable obstacles to the achievement of the long and painful process of her freedom. These obstacles are the absence of any bonds of unity. There is a antagonism which continues between provinces and even between towns. There is the lack of patriotic feeling and the impossibility of achieving united action. There is also a situation that always calls in the foreigner to re-establish peace and order. The enemies are the political parties and enthusiasts, victims of impossible and wild dreams who willingly sacrifice the interests of their country to their hatreds or fantasies. Such men abandoned the army of Piedmont when it faced Austria.
  • The Belgian Ambassador reports the situation in Rome in his journal, September 1848.
Source B
  • You will find full proof of Austria՚s programme to have a undue influence over the internal affairs of Piedmont. She wishes to cripple Victor Emmanuel and his government and make them powerless in the future. The plan calls upon the king, by a simple royal order, to cancel laws passed by the Parliament of Piedmont. If the king agrees to Austria՚s demand he would violate the Constitution that he had promised to maintain at the very beginning of his reign. The Austrian demand is an obvious attempt to crush a young king when he has problems. I hope that Britain and France, by acting firmly, can quickly prove that they have the power and willingness to resist oppression. This will be the best way of avoiding war breaking out again.
  • The British Ambassador in Piedmont reports to the British Foreign Minister, April 1849
Source C
  • In Sicily, Garibaldi has let himself become intoxicated with his success. Instead of carrying out the annexation of Sicily by Piedmont, he dreams of conquering Naples and unifying all of Italy. It would be very helpful if moderate advice came from Britain, for which he has great respect. I know that you cannot make direct contact with Garibaldi but you could seek the help of others. The annexation of Sicily by Piedmont would get out of an embarrassment because it would bring back Garibaldi into a regular situation. If annexation is delayed, I predict the greatest difficulties. As for Naples, I do not know precisely what to say. I f Naples did really agree to surrender Sicily and would help us to free Rome, I believe that we could come to an agreement.
  • Cavour՚s letter to Piedmont Ambassador in Britain, July 1860.
Source D
  • The work to which we consecrated our life is accomplished. After long trials, Italy has its capital. Our people after centuries of separation, find themselves for the first time solely reunited. We have proclaimed the separation of Church and State. Having recognized the independence of the spiritual authority, we are convinced that Rome, the capital of Italy, will continue to be peaceful and respected seat of the papacy.
  • Economic and financial affairs claim our most careful attention. Now that Italy is established, it is necessary to make it prosperous by putting its finances in order. Good finances will be the means of re-enforcing our military organization. Our greatest desire is for peace.
  • A vast range of activity opens before you. I hope that the national unity which we have gained will make less bitter the struggles of parties that we have seen in the past. A brilliant future opens before us.
  • King Victor Emmanuel 2, speaking to Parliament at the declaration of a United Italy, 1871.

Question 6 (2 of 2 Based on Passage)


Describe in Detail


Compare and contrast Sources A and B as evidence about the attitudes of foreigners towards Italy. [Marks 15]


(A) Though ‘Italy’ did not exist in 1848 – 49, except as a mere geographical expression, the use of the word in the question is taken to mean events in Italy at the time.

  • Both sources are written by foreigners and by foreigners from two western European countries that were living in Italy at the time of the 1848 – 49 revolutions. Both sources are written by ambassadors who were expected to report with some objectivity on the countries in which they served. At the same time, they were reporting to their political masters in their native countries and thus could be expected to reflect the culture of those countries. Source A was written by the ambassador from Belgium, a newly independent country formed by revolution in the 1830s, which was strongly Roman Catholic.
  • He was reporting from Rome, the home of the Pope. Source B was written by the ambassador from the UK, a Protestant country and a great power. He was reporting from Piedmont, at that time a minor European state with ambitions to become a leading state in Italy, fighting Austria in 1848 – 49 to try and do so. Those attempts resulted in defeat in July 1848 at Custoza and in March 1849 at Novara. After Novara, the king of Piedmont abdicated in favor of his son, Victor Emmanuel.
  • Both sources are in favor of change in Italy, which is to be expected given the two countries they represent. Source A fears that obstacles will be put in the way of independence; Source B talks of Britain acting firmly to stop oppression of Italian freedoms. Both focus on obstacles to reform, whether for national independence (Source A) or the freedom of one Italian state (Source B) . Context tells us that this state was trying to put itself at the head of the movement for national freedom, which means that the two sources are concerned with obstacles to national unity.
  • Source A sees those obstacles as coming from the Italians themselves. States and towns are antagonistic towards each other. Patriotism is hard to find. Political parties put their own interests before those of Italy. Source B, however, identifies a different obstacle, namely the intervention of an external power, Austria, to crush a monarch who had promised to maintain constitutional government. Whereas Source A has no interest in great power politics – in fact it begins by saying that the main obstacle to freedom does not come from outside Italy – Source B has no interest in Italian domestic politics. Both take a pessimistic, even patronizing view of Italy, seeing Italians as too weak or too divided to achieve the national revolutions which both Britain and Belgium had achieved.

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