Italia und Germania. The idea of the existence of a "shared fate" between the Italian and German processes of national unification in Italian public discourse (1848-1871)
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What does it take for two political entities to consider themselves allies? Usually two elements are required: shared interests and a shared enemy. Many among the ranks of the Italian national movement felt between 1848 and 1871 that the German and Italian national causes possessed both of them. It was believed that both nationalities aimed at the unification of their respective countries and were both being obstructed in this by the Habsburg Empire. Consequently, a “shared fate” was envisioned for the two nationalities: Germans and Italians were “natural allies” and were destined to forge their national unifications together by collaborating against the Habsburgs. Such an idea of a fundamental commonality of destinies between the two national causes experienced a widespread diffusion in the discourse of the Risorgimento, often also entering the political vocabulary of official relations between the two nationalities. Historiography has however until now often overlooked this idea, taking its existence mostly for granted and leaving the idea itself, its cultural origins, and its diffusion unproblematized. This thesis analyzes how such a concept, which could be considered as the product of early 19th century historicism and romantic nationalism, entered the political vocabulary of the Italian national movement and was used to foster political action. Using the history of ideas’ framework, along with a contextualist approach, this thesis not only sheds new light on an important episode of the history of relations between the Italian and German world, but also provides a powerful portrait of the element of transnationality of the Italian Risorgimento in the European scenario.