L'oltre Adriatico, un obiettivo mancato nel processo di unificazione nazionale. Cause e conseguenze politiche ed economiche
The Adriatic Eastern Shores, a Missed Target in the Italian Unification Process: Political and Economic Involvements. This paper introduces a book devoted to the second millennium of the history of the Adriatic Sea (Luigi Tomaz, In Adriatico nel secondo millennio. Dai dogi Orseolo alla prima Guerra mondiale, Conselve, 2011) and focuses on the pages dealing with the Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy established in 1805, the Vienna settlement of the peninsula of 1815 and the Italian independence wars up to WWI. The main issues of the paper relate to the eastern shores of the Adriatic, one of the targets pointed by the fathers of Risorgimento. The Italian unification was achieved making use of good leadership and clever international relations management under favourable circumstances. In this framework it was significantly helpful the role played in different ways and times for a variety of motives by three among the great European powers at that time, France, Great Britain and Prussia. On the other hand Austria obviously bitterly opposed this harmful event that could overthrow its political and economic hegemony on this region, cunningly constructed by Metternich in the context of the Restoration. However all these countries, with the addition of Russia, although moved by diverse aims, resisted or disliked the reacquisition by the young Italy of the Adriatic eastern shores and islands mostly belonged in the past to the Venetian Commonwealth and later to the Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy. The paper analyzes then economic and political causes as well as consequences of the failure to achieve this crucial target. Dalmatia and Istria suffered when, at the end of the Third Independence War, the centuries-old economic and cultural ties with Venice were cut off in 1866 because of the annexation of Venetia to the Savoyard Kingdom of Italy. On the contrary, Trieste and Fiume (today Rijeka), seaports and trade hubs of the Mittel-European economy flourished during a further half-century under Austrian-Hungarian rule. On the political side this failure brought about in Italy the nationalism, stemmed from irredentism, the participation to WWI joining the Entente Powers and, in the aftermath of the war, the spread of the myth of “mutilated victory”. The following outcomes were the rise to power of fascism, and, in international politics, the adoption of revisionism, the membership to the Axis and eventually the involvement in WWII on the Nazi Germany side.
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