The weaknesses of Liberal Italy 1870-1915

Italy 1815-70
Fragmented mess of relatively small quarrelling states,country had rarely been free from war or foreign domination,Italy battleground of Europe,Politically reactionary and economically undeveloped, poverty in south, Central Italy dominated by Pope
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After 1815,new sense of patriotism,demanded political unification,Piedmont driving force behind unification
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When was the kingdom of Italy established as a constitutional monarchy?
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Who was Garibaldi?
The charismatic and popular leader of the radical nationalists in the South who pushed for unification
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Problems facing liberal Italy 1870-1896
Lack of Italian identity,Hostility of the Catholic Church,Economic weaknesses,Weaknesses of the liberal political system
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Lack of Italian identity
Loyalties towards families or immediate locality, only 2% of Italians could speak the language,Public must view themselves as Italians rather than Sicilions or Piedmontese
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Hostility of the Catholic Church
Majority pledged allegiance to Church,Church bitterly resentful of new Kingdom of Italy that had seized Papal states and Rome,Pope banned Catholics from voting - lifted in 1890 but tension still existed
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Economic Weaknesses
68% of population depended on agricultural work, poverty/illiteracy in South,Industries undeveloped,Enterprise small scale,Lack of natural resources,Gov received very little tax
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Weaknesses of the Liberal political system
2% of population could vote - middle/upper class liberals,No clearly defined political parties,Narrow social class in parliament,Transformismo - Factions forming fragile coalitions regardless of differences, pursuit of power, 29 PMs 1870-1922
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Growing Challenges to Liberal Political dominance 1896-1915
Political and economic crises, Socialism, Catholicism, Nationalism
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1890s economic depression
Result of foreign competition and trade disputes,Companies and banks went bust,Some banks printed illegal money and gave to liberal politicians-corruption,Protests/Public disorder,Workers strike and demanded higher wages and lower rents
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What happened in 1894 with regard to the political and economic crisis?
Worker's leaders arrested,Sicily placed under military rule with 40,000 troops in position,Opposition political groups banned,Heavy censorship in media
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Which two countries did Italy involve themselves with in the 1890s?
1890 Eritrea seized, 1896 Adowa humiliating defeat
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Adowa 1896
Italian army humiliated, over 5000 dead, Italy first modern European force to be defeated by an African State
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Consequences of 1890s on politics and economics
Severely damaged the prestige of Liberal politicians and spurred economic depression, national humiliation and political corruption, encouraged growth of opposition movements
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Socialist ideology
Improve the political and economic status of the working class
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How did the 1881 reform benefit Socialists?
Allowed 2 million more Italians to vote
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1891 - organised an Italian worker's congress in Milan, 1895 - Created the PSI
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PSI - Italian Socialist Party
Created by Turati in 1895, 1897 had 27,000 members, in 1900 received over 200,000 votes + 32 seats in the Chamber of deputies
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What did the PSI try to introduce?
Universal male suffrage, 8 hour day, income tax and women's rights
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Catholicism in the years surrounding 1900
Socialism rejected religion and traditional social order,Church removed catholic voting ban in order to head off socialist danger,Pope opposed to a catholic party that might rival his authority but Catholics still presented challenge to Liberals
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Nationalism in the years surrounding 1900
Middle-class intellectuals,few in number,many supporters in media,condemned regime for failing to make Italy great power
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What did Nationalists demand in the years surrounding 1900?
A larger empire in Africa and higher military spending,Austrian empire Italian speaking countries -Tyrol,Trentino,Istria, More aggressive foreign policy
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After the Adowa crisis who was forced to resign?
Francesco Crispi
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What led to unrest in the years before 1900?
Poor harvestn1897, high taxes, pushed up price of food
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How did the government respond to unrest in the years surrounding 1900?
Army suppressed the riots, killing up to 200 people, Martial law declared in four provinces, media heavily censored, thousands jailed
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Consequences of governments repression in the years surrounding 1900?
Opposition did not disappear, Increased public disaffection, led to a rise in extremism, repression was not a viable long term policy
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What did Giolitti believe?
Liberals shouldn't ignore the want of ordinary Italians,didn't believe in repression,Gov should no longer be seen as the enemy of the worker/poor, moderate socialists should be encouraged to play a role in parliament,Gov should be neutral in strikes
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What was Giolitti responsible for?
Laws forcing employers to grant 1 rest day a week and outlawing employment of Children under the age of twelve,Expenditure on public works ^,Taxes on food reduced,arbitrators for strikes
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Consequences of Giolitti's domestic policies on his support?
Employers became more conciliatory,won support from moderate socialists,Catholics voting for liberals and allowed divorce, Transformismo - very fragile and inefficient
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When did Italy invade Libya?
September 1911
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Motivations for the Libyan war
Establish an Italian colony,pressured by media/nationalists - Adowa humiliation still in mind
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Libyan war 1911
Relatively successful,Major Libyan towns/ports taken within three weeks and Turkey formally ceded the territory to Italy in October 1912
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What led to the collapse of Giolitti's ministry?
Transformismo caused collapse of alliance between moderate Socialists and Catholics,Socialists called for the abolition of private property and advocated violent strikes to overthrow state
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Conservative reaction to Giolitti's response to strikes
Appalled of Giolitt's resistance to intervene, argued that this only encouraged extremism
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Nationalist reaction to Giolitti
Accused politicians of neglecting Italian interests, and demanded higher defence spending and colonial expansion - Authoritarian State
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What did Giolitti do to reduce tensions between Liberals and Socialists?
Increased the electorate from 3 million to 8.5 million
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1913 general election results
511 seats on offer - Liberals 318, Socialists 78, Nationalists 3
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How did the Liberals obtain a majority?
Arranging an electoral deal with the moderate Catholics - Liberal government depended on votes from Catholic groups
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When did anticlerical radicals withdraw their support from the coalition?
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When did Giolitti resign?
21st March 1914
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Socialist criticisms of Liberal Italy
Capitalist exploitation of working class,wages low hours v long compared to Europe,Welfare benefits unfavourable,State would use army,Imperialist adventures in East Africa and Libya,Severe poverty,5 million Italians emigrated to USA
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Catholic criticisms of Liberal Italy
Trampled over the Pope's territorial rights,neglected the problems of the poor,Poverty a desperate problem, in Sicily 0.01% of the population owned 50% of land,Liberals represented an urban educated elite who had little interest in the real Italy
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Nationalist criticisms of Liberal Italy
Liberals lacked will to make Italy a major force,Adowa 1896,Vast emigration,Exacerbated the struggle between classes,Giolitti allied with Socialists and Catholics and employed corrupt tactics to win elections - bribe or intimidate voters
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Positives of Liberal Italy before WW1 - Economic
1895 national income 61billion lire, 1915 92billion lire,six-fold increase in foreign trade,taxes on food reduced gov spend^,
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Positives of Liberal Italy before WW1 - Political
Progress in a healthy democracy, From 1912 universal male suffrage, co-opt both moderate Socialists and Catholics into coalition
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Positives of Liberal Italy before WW1 - Patriotism
National military service+free primary education increased nationhood
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Positives of Liberal Italy before WW1 - Foreign Policy
Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, empire in East Africa - Libya 1911
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When did Italy join WW1 and on who's side?
1915 - Britain and France - betraying the triple alliance
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The land in Northen Italy held by Austria after unification
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Pius IX
Pope who banned Catholics from voting in 1874
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The Roman Question
Dispute between Pope and Liberal Gov over the ownership over the Papal city & the role of Catholic Church in Italy
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When did Italy join the Tripple Alliance and why?
After the loss of Tunisia to France, Italy joined in 1881
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After 1815,new sense of patriotism,demanded political unification,Piedmont driving force behind unification



Card 3




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Card 4


The charismatic and popular leader of the radical nationalists in the South who pushed for unification


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Card 5


Lack of Italian identity,Hostility of the Catholic Church,Economic weaknesses,Weaknesses of the liberal political system


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