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Franco-Austrian War

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Also known as the Second War of Italian Independence and the Austro-Sardinian War, this conflict of 1859 occurred within the context of the struggle for italian unification , and pitted France and the kingdom of Piedmont (see piedmont-sardinia ) against Austria. In 1858 at plombières , cavour , and napoleon iii had agreed that France would assist Piedmont with a force of 200,000 men if the latter were attacked. In April of the following year, Cavour duly provoked an Austrian declaration of war by refusing to accede to demands for demilitarization. The slow-moving Austrian forces suffered a number of minor local reverses which led the Emperor francis joseph i to take personal command. In June, the Austrians were defeated on the battlefield, first at Magenta and then, more seriously, at Solferino, by forces led by Napoleon III. The Austrians retreated to the quadrilateral , a series of inter-linked fortresses, which the French, who were by now reduced in strength as a result of casualties and disease, were ill-equipped to take. Moreover, Napoleon III was aware of the potential for Prussian interference in France, and accordingly on July 10 he agreed with Francis Joseph an armistice at villafranca . This concluded the immediate conflict, but did not mark an end to French involvement in Italy. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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