Indeed, in tracing the development of nationalism in the early 19th century, we are confronted with the inherent weaknesses of division, particularism and mass indifference; dubious motives of ‘nationalists' and oft-yieldless attempts to surmount forces of repression- to the point that it is questionable at some stages, if genuine nationalism even existed at all. Nationalism is essentially the belief that people who share a common language, culture or history should be brought together to form a nation-state; the desire of a community to assert its independence and uniqueness from another. Since in Italy and Germany we refer to integrated nationalism, the desire for unification would then invariably be a prerequisite of a nationalist. In the spirit of discussion, we shall not assume the most stringent definitions of a nationalist- this implies not discrediting one wholly based on what type of unity was craved.
[...] The fact that particularism, the antithesis to the idea of a single nation, remained such a veritable thorn in the flesh indicated that nationalism still had a way to go in really infusing the population's mindsets. This brings us to the next stumbling block: the lack of a general popularization of ideas. The middle class liberals had always faced a difficulty in reaching out to the urban artisans and peasant majority, failing enormously in any attempts (if at all) to make the nationalist platform popular and accessible to the masses. [...]
[...] In a sense, perhaps Italian nationalism seemed to have received more encouragement from Napoleon than German nationalism did, because it was more in Napoleon's political interest to do so for the former. Italian was promoted as a national language- an attempt to justify Napoleon's presence and mitigate hostility towards his rule. In Germany where Napoleonic rule was shorter, there was no such promotion of nationalist thinking; instead Napoleon was more intent on “sidetracking the German spirit”. Hence, by 1815 there was the emergence of two kinds of nationalism: liberalism nationalism and romantic nationalism. [...]
[...] Eventually this movement was crushed easily by the government and notably, without much reaction- a demonstration of the weakness of German nationalism at that point in time. It then becomes pertinent at this juncture to assess the relative importance courting foreign aid in Italy and Germany, or conversely the significance of hostile relations. For Italy, the Concert of Europe meant that Britain, traditionally sympathetic towards ideas of liberalism and Constitution, was not prepared to go against Austrian interests in order to lend support to the Italian cause- a huge setback in all the revolts. [...]
[...] Cavour projected Piedmont as the sole Italian state European powers should deal with, and even managed to incite British into breaking off diplomatic relations with Naples for its ‘tyranny'. In Prussia, independent diplomacy was practiced in the unilateral signing of the Malmo Armistice; foreign powers also received Prussian ambassadors over those from the Frankfurt Parliament thus undermining the central body's diplomatic power. Notice above that Prussia was one of the major European powers at that point in time, hence demonstrating a fundamental difference between Piedmont and Prussia: size and dominance. [...]
[...] But most significantly, the Pope's abandonment of the Italian cause meant that nationalism necessarily became more radical in nature- a reason for its increasing unpopularity. In Germany, the King of Prussia had always erratically raised nationalist hopes by creating elected assemblies like the Prussian Parliament, only to crush it later on when further demands for liberal progress were made. The general sentiment at Frankfurt was in favor of unification under Prussian leadership, but Frederick William made no move to implement his promise that Prussia should be merged or fused with Germany, or to assume the leadership, which he romantically believed belonged to the Austrian Hapsburgs. [...]
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