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The Making of Germany, Italy and Britain

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The rise of Nationalism in Europe was stimulated by the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Before the nineteenth century, European countries were not in the form they are today, they were ruled by dynastic empires. The countries were ruled by monarchies that enjoyed absolute power over their subjects. Various technological and the ensuing social changes helped in developing the ideas of nationalism amongst individuals and the process of creation of nation-states began in 1789 with the French Revolution.

French Revolution

In 1789, the French revolution led to many political and constitutional changes in France. During that time France was under the Bourbon dynasty, the revolution proclaimed that the citizens will shape the destiny of the country, and the power to be shifted from the monarchy to the body of citizens.

Various measures and practices were introduced such as:

  1. The idea of la Patrie( the fatherland) and le citoyen(the citizen) was one of the measures undertaken to create a feeling of collective identity among the people of France.
  2. A new French flag was introduced and the tricolor was chosen to replace a former one.
  3. Martyrs were commemorated in the name of the nation and new hymns were composed.
  4. French became the common language of the nation.
  5. A uniform system of measurement was adopted.
  6. Democracy was destroyed in France by Napoleon and the civil code of 1804 known as the Napoleonic Code did away with all privileges based on birth, established equality before the law, and secured the right to property.

Nationalism in Europe moved away after 1848, and Germany and Italy came to be unified as a nation-state.

Making of Germany

Over 30 German states had an alliance known as German Confederation, while the Austrian Empire dominated it. The unification process of Germany was taken up by the state of Prussia.

  • In 1862, Otto von Bismarck was selected as the Prime minister by the king of Prussia Wilhelm I.
  • Bismarck took control of the government and told the parliament that, “it is not by means of speeches and resolutions that the great issues will be resolved but by the means of blood and iron”.
  • A war with Austria was initiated by Bismarck bought Prussia more territory.
  • Next, he helped to engineer a conflict with France over border states in 1870. It became a Franco-Prussian war and the Prussian victory was the ultimate piece in the unification of Germany.
  • The crown to the Prussian king Wilhelm I and Germany became the united, large, and powerful force in Europe.

Making of Italy

The Italian peninsula was divided, the largest region was the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which was most of southern Italy.

  • The southern part was under Spanish and Austrian control before independence. The merging of the kingdom of Sicily and the kingdom of Naples formed the kingdom and it was named as “Kingdom of Sicily”, therefore it was named “Two Sicilies”.
  • The northern part was under Spanish and French control, the kingdom of Sardinia. In 1852, the Prime Minister of the state, Count Cavour sought to use political negotiation and conflict to help the unification of Italy.
  • He engineered a war with Austria with the support of France.
  • The southern part was led by Giuseppe Garibaldi(Italian general, patriot, and republican). He led the Redshirts, an army that wore red shirts into the battle.
  • They captured the island of Sicily and then the mainland. The southern areas were conquered and agreed to unite with Piedmont-Sardinia in the north.
  • The Province of Venetia too joined and lastly the Papal states, a large region of central Italy that was under the control of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church came under united Italy’s control. Rome was declared the new capital of the country.

Making of Britain

  • The history of Nationalism in Britain was a different one from that of countries like Italy and Germany, it wasn’t a sudden process. In the British nation before the 19th century, the peoples residing here were English, Welsh, Scots, and Irish.
  • As the English begin to grow wealthy they started to dominate other islands. In 1688, the English Parliament seized the power from the monarchy
  • The Parliament passed an act in 1707, the Act of Union by which England and Scotland were unified resulting in the formation of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain”.
  • The domination power was in the hands of the English and the Catholics in Scotland were systematically suppressed whenever they raised their voice for independence.
  • Ireland’s inhabitants were the Protestants and the Catholics, the English supported the Protestants and established the English rule with their help. Catholics protested many times and were always suppressed. Ireland, in 1801 became part of Britain, forcefully.
  • After a long-drawn process, Britain united, it wasn’t part of a sudden upheaval or revolution, therefore, it was called a strange case of unification of Britain.

FAQs on The Making of Germany, Italy, and Britain

Question 1: Which factors contributed to the process of unification of Italy and Germany?


The ideas of nationalism and enlightenment have influenced the processes of Unification in both Italy and Germany.

Question 2: What was one of the main problems of the unification of Italy?


One of the foremost problems of the unification of Italy was the lack of unity and increasing regional differences among the states.

Question 3: What were the 3 wars of German unification?


The three wars of german unification were the war with Denmark, the Austro- Prussian war, and Franco- the Prussian war.

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Last Updated : 13 Mar, 2023
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