Italy's debt to France: The meeting at Plombieres.

Essay by longordUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

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In 1870, with the onset of the Franco-Prussian War, France was forced to withdraw its troops from Rome where they had secured the Pope's authority since 1849. With the absence of the French soldiers, Rome came under Italian rule and this same year was declared the new capital. With this addition to the state, the task of Italian unification was complete. Finally, after eleven years of plotting, war, and compromise Italy was one. But, would any of this been possible had it not been for one crucial meeting? A meeting that resulted in the alliance of France and the Italian state of Piedmont that gave Piedmont the force it needed to run the Austrians off of the peninsula and make way for unification. This meeting at the French spa of Plombieres between Camillo Cavour and Louis Napoleon III was most definitely the catalyst that sprung the Italian unification. In this paper I plan to dissect the occurrences of the meeting, as well as display its importance and unveil the underlying factors that molded the decisions that were made.

(Cohen p. 818)

Cavour knew that if there was any chance of a united Italy that it would require more effort and force than Piedmont could provide. Knowing this, Cavour entered Italy into the Crimean War on the side of the Allies in order to get a seat at the treaty talks and in turn meet with Louis Napoleon of France and Lord Clarendon of England. After meeting with both men at the Congress of Paris, Cavour was convinced that it would be the French that he would rely on for assistance (Orsi p. 219). It is no surprise that the French were willing to aid Italy in their attempt for unification, in fact there are several reasons. Primarily for the reason...