Knowledge to Assess

Sources A and B agree with the interpretation that the creation of the Kingdom of Northern Italy was due mainly to the support of France with Source A arguably providing the strongest argument for this. Both the Sources confirm that France was committed to providing military assistance to Piedmont with Source A clearly stating that France has ‘decided to support Piedmont with all [their] power in a war against Austria’ and Source B backing this up by saying ‘Piedmont might rely upon our vigorous support if attacked by Austria’.

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Both the Sources also prove that French support was important as both Sources show concern for the diplomatic consequences in the event of war with Austria with Source A saying ‘provided the war could be justified in diplomatic circles and in the eyes of…French public opinion’ and Source B confirming this by saying ‘my first duty was to my country and its interests’. Both Sources are reliable as evidence that the creation of the Kingdom of Northern Italy was due mainly to the support of France. In Source A, Cavour is attempting to persuade the King to support war as Piedmont has the support of the French. The author and purpose prove reliable as at the Congress of Paris after the Crimean War, a healthy relationship was established between Piedmont and France. Cavour is right to say such things in his letter as Napoleon did in fact show a great enthusiasm for the Italian cause and was a dedicated supporter of the Carbonari in his youth.

In Source B, Napoleon is attempting to gain support from Queen Victoria of England whilst not alarming her at the prospect of war with Austria, a country whom she was pre-disposed to liking. What Napoleon says in Source B is unsurprising and he is correct to say such things as 7 months have passed since the ‘secret meeting’ at Plombieres which was in fact no longer secret by now. Tensions had been raised and Napoleon had become alarmed by this. The author, date and purpose of Source B prove reliable in Source B as well as Source A. The importance of French support is also mentioned briefly in Source E where Victor Emmanuel states that Piedmont has ‘gratitude to France for the services she has rendered to Italy’ and makes a ‘sacrifice’ for France.

Again Source E is reliable as concessions in the form of Savoy and Nice were made to France in return for their support in the 1859 war against Austria. Arguably Source C also implies that French support was important in creating the Kingdom of Northern Italy. Piedmont are seen to be struggling alone and French support was therefore important in victories such as those at Magenta and Solferino where French military support was the main factor in securing the victory. To conclude, Sources A and B provide the strongest evidence that French support was the main reason that a Kingdom of Northern Italy was created with Sources C and E also backing this up. Source A and B are reliable, accurate evidence considering opinions from both the French and Piedmontese making this group in support of the interpretation very strong.

On the other hand, Sources C, D and E disagree with the interpretation that the creation of the Kingdom of Northern Italy was due mainly to the support of France with Sources E and D providing the strongest argument for this and claiming Piedmontese initiatives to be of greater importance. Both these Sources state that the work of Piedmontese citizens were far more important in securing the creation of a Kingdom of Northern Italy with Source E clearly stating ‘central Italy has been delivered thanks to the remarkable courage of its inhabitants’ and ‘Lombardy has been freed thanks to the glorious exploits of our heroes’ and Source D backing this up by saying ‘Assemblies which now exist in central Italy’.

Contrastingly, Source C claims that French support was extremely lacking and accuses Napoleon of inactivity and duplicity, forcing the burden of the war effort to be shouldered by Piedmont whilst implying that France were self-interested and enquiring as to what they would get out of it.

Sources D and E are reliable as evidence that the creation of the Kingdom of Northern Italy was due to Piedmontese initiatives. In Source D, Walewski is warning the Piedmontese of the consequences of sidelining the French in the Central Duchies. Walewski is right to make such warnings as the French had concerns about instability spreading into the Papal States and that therefore the terms of the Villafranca agreement would be invalid and Piedmont would not be guaranteed the possession of Lombardy.

In Source E, Victor Emmanuel is attempting to explain to the Parliament in Turin why he has ‘sacrificed’ ‘Savoy and Nice’. What Victor Emmanuel says in source E is also unsurprising as it is typical of him to make a Risorgimento speech crediting Italians rather than the French as he was a believer in ‘Italia fara da se’. The date of Source E also makes it reliable as in April 1860, the war against Austria had finished and, when compared with source C and D, Victor Emmanuel has the advantage of hindsight enabling him to comment on both the importance of Italian initiatives as well as French support, despite leaving ‘the services’ that France rendered to Italy undefined.

However, Source C is far less reliable as evidence that the creation of the Kingdom of Northern Italy was not due to the support of France. In Source C, the English political cartoon is attempting to belittle the importance of French support by making the French out to look greedy. What the cartoonist shows in Source C is unsurprising as British hostility toward Napoleon and the French was rife due to the long wars with Napoleon Bonaparte which ended in 1815 and the bitter relations that then existed between the British and the French. To conclude, sources B and D, written by the French Napoleon and Walewski stress the importance French in regard to diplomacy and agreements made between France and Piedmont. Sources A and E however, written by the Piedmontese Cavour and Victor Emmanuel stress the role of Cavour’s diplomacy and Italian heroes whilst simply acknowledging moral and military support of the French.

In summary, the importance of the French was an extremely important factor in the creation of a Kingdom of Northern Italy as France provided military support at the battles of Magenta and Solferino and gave Lombardy and eventually Venetia over to Piedmont thus creating a Kingdom of Northern Italy.

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