FIrst Italian War of Independence 1848-1849

[ 1848 - 1849 ]

A liberal revolution in 1821 forced Victor Emmanuel I to abdicate in favour of his brother, Charles Felix. On the death of the latter in 1831, Charles Albert, of the Carignano branch of the family, obtained the throne. He contributed to the cause of unification under Piedmont's leadership by modernizing his government (granting a constitution in 1848) and fighting against Austrian power in Italy in the First War of Independence of 1848-49. 

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When the Milanese revolution against the Austrians (March 18-22) raised the question of war with Austria, Charles Albert at first hesitated, but then declared war. After enjoying great successes through the beginning of June, he remained inactive for more than a month, confused by political conflicts between the various Italian states and shifting foreign alliances. This respite allowed the Austrians to reorganize and mount a vigorous counteroffensive. Defeated decisively at Custoza, and then at Milan, the King was forced to sign the armistice of Salasco on August 9.

Republican and nationalist forces, however, agitated ever more strongly for a new war with Austria. Seeking to vindicate his past failures, Charles Albert broke the armistice with Austria on March 12, 1849. Promptly defeated at Novara on March 23, he abdicated in favour of his son Victor Emmanuel II. He exiled himself to Portugal. 

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The first battle, on July 24, 1848, was a crushing defeat for the forces of Charles Albert, king of Sardinia-Piedmont, at the hands of the 82-year-old Austrian veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky. An armistice was signed August 9.

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Battle of Novara, (March 23, 1849), battle of the first Italian War of Independence in which 70,000 Austrian troops under Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky thoroughly defeated 100,000 poorly trained Italian troops (not all of whom were actually employed in the battle) under Charles Albert, king of Sardinia-Piedmont. It was fought at Novara, 28 miles (45 km) west of Milan, 11 days after Charles Albert had denounced the armistice that he had signed the previous August after his defeat at the first Battle of Custoza. This new defeat, a result of Radetzky's military superiority and Piedmont's lack of support from the smaller Italian states, led to a treaty on Aug. 9, 1849, which included an indemnity of 65 million francs to be paid to Austria. The defeat also led to the abdication of Charles Albert in favour of his son Victor Emmanuel II.

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On March 23 Charles Albert of Sardinia-Piedmont declared war on Austria. It was a risky decision, but prospects for a national war seemed promising; and he wanted to seize the initiative to preclude republican and democratic domination of the insurgency. Annexing Parma and Modena, whose rulers had been driven out by insurgents, the Piedmontese won a few more victories before suffering reverses. Pius IX, Leopold II, and Ferdinand II, all of whom had initially sent troops to northern Italy to support the Piedmontese army, hastily withdrew their forces. The pope's address to the cardinals on April 29 revealed his reluctance to back national movements against Austria and did much to discredit him among patriots. Lombardy and Venetia, though not without internal opposition, accepted merger with Piedmont. Nevertheless, the Piedmontese army was unable to withstand the Austrian counteroffensive. After a series of defeats, Charles Albert's forces withdrew from Milan. On August 6 they crossed the Ticino River, leaving the city and its insurgents to the mercy of the returning Austrians. Accusations of royal treachery, formulated by Lombard democrats at that moment, long survived in Italian political debates. By the terms of the Salasco armistice (Aug. 9, 1848), the Piedmontese army abandoned Lombardy. In Piedmont the new constitution, the Statuto (Statute), remained in force, and democratic ideas survived.

<p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: medium; line-height: normal;"><font face="Arial" size="2">[also called Austro-Sardinian War]</font></p><table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Austria</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1848</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1849</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">600000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">35000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">20000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Italy</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1848</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1849</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">250000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">25000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">20000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 40000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 40000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Note
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Austrian Empire and Kingdom of Sardinia 1848 / 3 / 23 1849 / 3 / 24 View

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts