The Great Illusion: Blueprints of Collaboration between Revolutions in Italy and Germany (1848) by Stefano Lissi

Modern Italy
August 2021

In April 1848, a proclamation of friendship to the Germans sent by the Provisional Government of Milan to the Fünfzigerausschuss (Committee of Fifty) in Frankfurt was rejected by the latter, creating widespread outrage in Italy. Concurrently, a parallel controversy over the possession of South Tyrol arose between the two revolutions. This article provides an exploratory analysis of these two episodes, examining the role they played in shaping relations between the two revolutions, and in influencing the image Italians had of the revolution in Germany. Shedding light on an episode until now overlooked by historiography, this article seeks to contribute to the salient debate on the peculiar relationship between internationalist ideals and nationalist claims during the 1848 revolution. It argues that the disillusioning impact on revolutionary audiences of specific ‘episodes of friction’, such as those examined in this article, was greater than the ‘natural convergence of goals’ of the various national revolutions in 1848.

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