Compare and contrast the processes and results of national unification in Italy and Germany. Did liberalism and nationalism relate in the same way in each society?

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When Germany was unified, it became a much bigger country with huge economic woes. The same was true of Italy to a certain extent. It's always more difficult to manage the stress of unification and the growing pains of moving from two small countries to one big one, leading to the situation of world war II.
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Both states were unified by a powerful monarchy. In the case of Italy, it was Sardinia, in Germany's case, Prussia. Both were unified by the pragmatic, often ruthless actions of statist leaders, Cavour in Italy and of course Bismarck in Germany. Both were forged in war. Germany fought three wars, against Denmark, Austria, and France to achieve unity, while Italy fought against France, Austria, and finally, under Garibaldi, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. With these similarities aside, however, Germany under Bismarck's leadership was much more effective in forging a unified, modern state than was Italy, which, while not quite a mere "geographic expression," to use Metternich's words, still remained poor and provincial throughout the rest of the nineteenth century.

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Both Italy and Germany went through their unification into nation-states at the same time in the 1860's. There appears to be a pattern with the rise of nation states in Europe moving west to east; England, France, and Spain, for example, unified much earlier than the rest of Eastern Europe, parts of which are still engaged in the process today. In Germany and Italy's case, both had strong leaders to pull the disparate parts together, and part of the reason for their respective unifications was due to the competition introduced by the more Western European countries.  There appear to be more similarities in their struggle to unify than differences; the most significant point being that both, after unifying at the same time, fought on the same side of World War II 80 years later.

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In both cases, war was a major part of the process.  In Germany, war was used as a rallying point to get the people of the various parts the German nation (as opposed to country) to see themselves as one people.  In Italy, war was used to some extent in the same way.  Cavour's war, for example, helped push some of the northern areas over towards nationalism.

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One result of the lengthy process of unification of both Germany and Italy may have been a kind of hyper-nationalism that helped cause these two nations to feel a need to "prove" that they were indeed nations. Such proof resulted, at least during World War II, in warfare on a horrific scale.

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