Bismarck VS Cavour Essay Research Paper Germany

Bismarck VS Cavour Essay, Research Paper

Germany and Italy had to face many problems in order to establish their

respective unification. One of Prussia’s main concern was the fear of nearby

nations such as Austria and France. These nations believed a strong united

nation would affect their power of influence.

As for Italy, the main concern was the Vienna peacemakers who wished for a

divided Italy under the control of Austria. Both of these countries had strong

influential supporters for the unification of their country. The two major

supporters were, Bismarck in Germany and Cavour in Italy. These kinds of people

will influence the future of the “nation”.

Otto Von Bismarck played a major role during the German unification. Otto Von

Bismarck was the German “Chancellor”(Prime minister) under the rule of William

I. Bismarck was very pessimistic and opportunistic. He had many goals in which

he desired to accomplish. He wanted the supremacy for his country; and was

obstinate with the idea of having Germany dominate Europe and therefore wanted

Austria to be excluded because of its increasing power.

It was in 1850 that Bismarck wanted to restore imperial “dignity and power” to

the King of Prussia, in which he felt as being his duty. Bismarck always

intended to fight Austria, and unite German Princes under the leadership of

Prussia; he used the opportunity to declare war with Austria. Bismarck fought 3

struggles, and looked to use the German’s people unitary aspirations. He had the

desire to gain respect for the Prussian army and consolidate Prussia’s strength.

Bismarck tried to use diplomacy instead of war if possible. He was for the

German monarchy, and he detested liberalists. The only important matter for him

was the greatness of Prussia. Another of his ideas was creating a Prussian

empire based on the support of the Princes and not on the assent of mass.

Bismarck was not open to economic issues, and feared a strong coalition or

prolonged wars, which would have ruined his aims. However, his ideas about unity

were more involved with Prussian expansionism than with German nationalists.

Cavour was the Prime Minister of Piedmont. His role was significant as a


Leader, with a message. He dominated the Italian political scene for 3 decades

and was the main spokesmen of liberal forces. His fundamental ideas were based

on liberty and progress since he was for evolution. Cavour’s formula was “free

church in a free state”. He wanted a free economy in a free state. A good idea

he had to gain more influence was to incorporate two of his friends in

parliament, one as the minister of justice and the other, of agriculture and

commerce. Cavour also believed that Austria was gaining too much power and

needed to be rejected. However, he believed that to do so, he needed a foreign

help. Cavour augmented taxation and was convinced that a strong military was the

key to Italy’s future. He made his army better trained and equipped.

Bismarck and Cavour were great ministers yet with somehow different approaches

to unification. However, they have many points in common. Both built an army

better trained and equipped because they knew that economic and military power

were the foundations of an effective foreign policy. Neither ministers wanted

the French as a strong foreign power, and both were against Austria because

honourable arrangements could not be agreed. Defending their state, Bismarck and

Cavour succeeded in the unification of their “country”.

Victor Emmanuel felt little sympathy for Cavour, “the pestiferous little man” as

he called him and Guillaume did not like Bismarck at all. He thought he was

unpleasant and worrying. So both men were very habile since they were submitted

to the will of their Kings.

Bismarck and Cavour were both eloquent and clever. Bismarck was not a German

nationalist, he was a man of Prussian state and despite the wars, he always

wished to conduct peaceful politics and government as Cavour. Like Cavour,

Bismarck looked for order, and setup important economic measures like social

assurances. Intentions for Italy were to form a confederation of states like the

German Bund.

Bismarck nationalism can be compared to Cavour’s nationalism. These two master

planners could be considered as expansionists as Cavour made it possible to

enlarge Piedmont Sardinian Kingdom through an unification process; and the same

type of arrangements Bismarck made, taking direct military and diplomatic


Cavour therefore did not differ fundamentally from Bismarck.


The Great Powers 1814-1914

Athor: Eric Wilmot 1992

L’allemagne 1870-1914

Edition: Masson/armand colin


Author: Henry Valloton

Edition: Fayard 1961