Having settled the question of Rome for the moment with a settlement, the problem of Veneto reappeared. Many thought about freeing him from the foreign yoke; not among the less impatient and less daring was the sovereign, who was attempting personal agreements with the great adversary of the monarchy, Mazzini, and with Garibaldi for a vast revolutionary action in the lands of the Habsburgs.
With these hopes faded, the government here again resumed the directives already drawn up by Cavour for an agreement with Prussia, which shared aspirations and the enemy with Italy. The negotiations, which had already begun at the end of 1864 and were then interrupted by King William’s not hidden distrust, recovered and led, albeit in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion, to the alliance of April 1866, which Italy promised Veneto and committed the two powers not to conclude a peace or armistice if they do not agree. The alliance isolated France with Austria: that through Paris ran for cover by offering Veneto in exchange for neutrality, but the Italian government refused in order not to breach the agreements, while reserving to accept, after three months for which the treaty committed him. Meanwhile, Napoleon, to strengthen the shaken French prestige,
And so was the war. Quick and victorious on the Bohemian fields where “the cold needle of the Prussian gun” humiliated the Austrians in Sadowa. Vienna, disputed to the generals of William I from Bismarck who did not want a French intervention in favor of the exasperated Habsburg resentment, asked for an armistice and accepted peace preliminaries (25 July) that Prussia imposed without any agreement with Italy.
Here the hopes are great, the disappointments are greater. The lack of agreement between the military leaders and the weak unity of people who struggled to join together, yesterday still divided under different banners, depressed the spirit of the army. Rivals Cialdini and Lamarmora, the king felt too much of a soldier to resign himself to a purely representative function: he renounced the unity of command and the forces that should have worked in concert were pushed to different objectives. Garibaldi, in favor of a more daring plan, was entrusted with the task of penetrating into Trentino. And so the first great test of the new kingdom was faced unhappily. Beyond the Mincio, in Custoza, on 24 July 1866, in a disorderly and unattached battle, Lamarmora was beaten by Archduke Alberto. The heroism of the leaders and of the followers is always admirable, animated by the example of real principles, but weak, uncertain the action of the command. The repairable setback was proclaimed defeat: the struggle was not dared to resume; Garibaldi was called to “cover the heroic Brescia”.
Meanwhile, Austria, under Sadowa’s nightmare, ceded the Veneto to Napoleon, soliciting him as mediator. A vain offer because Ricasoli, like Lamarmora already, wanted to have a clear-cut policy and public opinion first claimed a victory. The resumption of operations with a more logical plan brought Cialdini to the heart of the Veneto behind the Austrians who were withdrawn; Garibaldi won in the Giudicarie, while the Medici dalla Valsugana advanced on Trento. Great hopes flourished and much was expected of the fleet. But on 20 July in the waters of Lissa the inability and hesitations of the Persano, the unpreparedness of the army, on which rivalry and dissension also weighed, the uncertainty of the directives cut off all hope with harsh consequences for war and prestige. Italian.
According to REMZFAMILY.COM, the unexpected defeat, the casual action of the ally, the fear of having to face the entire Austrian army, forced Italy to the armistice of Cormons (12 August) and the peace of Vienna (3 October). With this, through France, as in 1959, Austria renounced Veneto within its administrative limits but not Trentino and Venezia Giulia. Bad border for Italy that of 1866; and the disputed Adriatic and the increasingly desperate struggle of the other shore against the Slavicism protected by Vienna will make the memory of that peace more humiliating, more bitter.
The plebiscitary enthusiasm of the Venetian populations did not appease the resentment and torment. Thoughtful spirits asked Pasquale Villari “whose fault is it?”, Or confessed their anguish over the fate of the country, while backward and clerical hoped the collapse of the badly mated building would soon come. The war had brutally exposed the weaknesses of the new kingdom, still devoid of real unity, weakened by the hostility of the Catholics, by the poor participation of the people in national life. Outrage and shame favored republican propaganda. And the movement of Palermo, a dark revolt of impoverished plebs, with no real political character, but worrying as a symptom of dissatisfaction and anxiety, sadly closed the year of the third war of independence.