In the 19th century both Italy and Germany were split into many separate ruling states. The German and Italian unification began with the rising tides of nationalism and liberalism. From nationalism a desire for unification was born. Italian Unification was more complex than German unification.
Italy had not been a single political unit since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. Italian Unification is referred to in Italian as the Risorgimento. The Italian Unification had three separate men that were working on unification of Italy: Guiseppe Mazzini, Count Camillo Cavour, and Guiseppe Garibaldi. Cavour entered into a secret alliance with France, to kick out Austria from Italy, since he knew that the only way that Italian unification could take place is by kicking out the Austrians. Italian unification started with the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and ended with the Franco - Prussian war in 1871.
Germany, during the 19th century, was also fragmented. There was a nationalistic movement calling for the unification of Germany. It was Bismarck who strengthened German unity and power by calling on the nationalistic thoughts of the German people. Bismarck was able to unite Germany through his policy of Realpolitik, or realistic politics. Bismarck was a strong proponent of "Blood and Iron". Blood represented the sacrifices the German people would have to make in achieving the goal of unification, iron being the need to industrialize because Germany needed to catch up with the rest of Europe on technology and factory production. German power achieved through nationalism would foster a period of imperialization and would set the stage for the outbreak of World War I. The Unification of Germany took place on January 18, 1871, when Otto von Bismarck managed to unify independent states into one nation, this created the German Empire.