Napoleon III and Emperor Francis Joseph Meet at Villafranca (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Napoleon III and Emperor Francis Joseph meet at Villafranca to engage in a diplomatic meeting that leads to an armistice.
Summary of Event
On April 29, 1859, Austria declared war on the Italian kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont. On May 3, France entered the war against Austria. The combatants were under the titular command of the three sovereigns, although neither Napoleon III nor Francis Joseph had ever commanded an army on the battlefield. Two signal victories were won by the Franco-Sardinian allies at Magenta and Solferino. By the end of June, the allies held almost all of Lombardy, and their fleets were concentrating in the Adriatic Sea to open an amphibious attack on Austrian Venetia. At Plombières in July of 1858, Napoleon III had pledged that he would sustain war against Austria until Sardinia might acquire Lombardy and Venetia.
Nevertheless, continuing the war posed dangers to discourage Napoleon III. At a personal level, the excessive heat and the hideous bloodshed disturbed the emperor. He was also distressed by the fact that Sardinian troops had invaded territories belonging to the pope. Already he was receiving reports from home that the deeply pious Roman Catholic French peasantry regretted sending their sons to fight in such a war. Napoleon’s greatest fear, however, concerned the behavior of the German states.
At the outbreak of the war, Prussia had convened a...
(The entire section is 1664 words.)
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