History

Quiz for modern europe class

Answers to these questions are based on my reading of the material cited in the reference list. Count Cavour and King Victor Emmanuel II were respectively the prime minister and king of Sardinia. Their alliance with Napoleon III was to attack Austria in 1859 sparked the war that later came to be known as the Second Italian War of Independence. According to Beales (2002), as prime minister and king, they owed the duty to show the strongest sense of patriotism to unify the state of Italy which had lost a very important territory, the Duchy of Modena, to Austria as far back as 1803. The Italian leaders therefore knew that Austrian influence over Italy had to be dealt with before Italy could ever become a nation. Apart from this, Italy had one of the world’s oldest universities in Modena, and had lost it to the Austrian control. With this seat of knowledge under Austrian auspices, the Italian rulers were aware that a university would be one of the most deadly weapons for Austria to remain a European superpower and maintain its control Italy on Italy. Hence, to restore its pride as the birth place of the renaissance, Sardinia believed engaging Austria in a war was a reasonable way to regain Modena and unify knowledge.
In my opinion, to build a nation not every ‘justified’ means should be used. The concrete terms, the means I am against here is war. This is because it has repeatedly been proven that wars have actually created more problems than it actually intended to redress. One of the most recent of such happenings is the war in Iraq. On the contrary, using bilateral negotiations in nation building should be the best solution, as seen recently between the two African states of Cameroon and Nigeria over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula.
The allies placed moral responsibility on Germany for causing the war because under the directives of the William II, it engineered the first attack on Serbia in retaliation to the sudden assassination of Archduke Frank Ferdinand, heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne. This reaction was to crush the Black Hand, the secret organization that was believed to be behind the assassination. The decision to attack Serbia was deeply rooted in William II’s staunch support for a union between Austria and Hungary. As a personal friend to Frank Ferdinand, William II (fondly called the Kaiser), was sure that should Frank Ferdinand come to power, then the synergy created between Austria, Hungary and Germany would be a European and world superpower. So, in effect the allied placed moral responsibility on Germany for inciting the war because Germany lost the war, and the biggest blow to loosing this war came when William II abdicated his throne. The allies therefore stood the logical grounds that by accepting defeat, Germany equally accepted responsibility for all human, material and financial damages caused to the allied member states. Hence, Germany had to pay reparations for these atrocities. However, The Kaiser’s support for the Austria-Hungarian Empire was in sharp contrast to Bismarck’s foreign policies on the expansion of other European states. For example, Bismarck went to war with Austria to prevent Austria’s expansion with the territory of Holstein.
The most fundamental reason why the Allies’s policy on reparations and war debts failed is that they wanted this money to be paid in cash. Going by the rules of monetary economics, this could not be feasible because it would entail printing more money. As a natural and normal response, Germany printed more currency and the result was one of the worst inflation in human history.
The Congress of Vienna in 1815 was so different from the Versailles Conference in 1919 on two strategic issues. Firstly, almost all the states of Europe were represented in Vienna, and France which had been defeated in the war leading to the conference was represented. On the contrary, just the Allies who emerged victorious in the First World War were represented. Secondly, the actors at the Congress of Vienna adopted a fair policy such that no party to the conference was to be punished nor rewarded. As for the Versailles Conference, Germany was punished to pay reparations and war debts, and had to loose some of its colonial territories both in Europe and Africa.
Reference
Beales, D. (2002). The Risorgimento and the Unification of Italy. 2nd Ed. Longman
The Unification of Italy. The New York Times. Archives, February 23, 1860
MacMillan, M.(2002) Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World

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