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Thread: Sins of the Fathers (Papal States 1836-'78)

  1. #81
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    Great new AAR you've got here, DCU. I've enjoyed reading through it all just now. Here's hoping we'll see a Catholic Iran (and then some!) emerge out of this Italian unification
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  2. #82
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    Lecture Nine: The Church Triumphant (1864-'67)

    "Rome has substituted for the proud boast of semper eadem, a policy of violence and change in faith" William Gladstone



    The Treaty of Villafranca-Zürich may have disappointed the more rabid irredentists* but there was little disguising the fact that the Italian Question had finally been settled. For the first time in over a millennium the peninsula was a unified political unit ruled by Rome. Or so the theory went. In reality the reorganisation of Italian society was a far more laborious and continual process than was apparent to foreign observers. To the rest of Europe the decisive victory over Austria had been impressive and was enough to secure the new nation a place amongst the Great Powers. Correspondingly Austria's failure was a crushing humiliation for Vienna and did much to erode its influence… particularly amongst the German states. Increasingly the Austrian Empire would appear a sad anachronism in European circles. Conversely the settling of affairs in Italy was perfectly satisfactory to Napoleon III. The Emperor reaped some personal prestige from his involvement and, as due the accord reached in Plombières, the new Italian state ceded the provinces of Annecy, Chambery and Nice to the French Empire. The other Powers were more wary of the changing balance of power but all followed the French lead in recognising Pius IX as the ruler of Italy.

    Perhaps the European Powers would not have been so quick to legitimise Papal rule if they had known just how superficial Italian unity really was. It was a romantic dream to imagine that a nation could be constructed overnight or that a single declaration could erase the divisions of old. The charade of national unity could be fostered while waging war against the common enemy but the challenges of forging a new nationstate could not be indefinitely postponed. Nor would this task be easy - Italy remained a patchwork of differing laws, customs and dialects that had all evolved over the centuries. Crucially there was an enormous gulf between the industrialised North and the large agricultural estates of the South. In Piedmont there was almost universal opposition to any repeal of the freedoms won in 1845 while the peasantry of Naples and Sicily desperately wished for relief from the corrupt aristocracy. Both populations nervously waited to see just what form the new Italian state would take.


    A Great Power: European diplomats remained unaware as to the new country's many weaknesses

    On April 21 1864 Pius IX unveiled his vision for the future of Italy. Contained within two encyclicals - the Quanta Cura (Condemning Current Errors) and Syllabus Errorum (Syllabus of Errors) - the Pope outlined an unrepentantly reactionary and traditional Italy in which all governance was derived from the moral authority of Rome. Seeking to capitalise on its battlefield victories, the Vatican delivered a broadside against its liberal opponents. Virtually every tenant of a modern or democratic society - including freedom of worship, rationalism, separation of Church and State, the will of the public, the primacy of civil law - was included on these lists of "errors". To outraged foreign observers these encyclicals appeared to be nothing short of a medievalist attempt to lay claim to the loyalty of Catholics worldwide and was roundly condemned. This mattered little to a Rome that was very much focused on the hearts and souls of Italian Catholics. The Vatican wasted no time in applying these obsolete precepts to its enlarged domains and set about creating the ideal Christian society by systematically revoking almost every piece of liberal legislation passed on the peninsula in the previous century.

    The most prominent victim to this reactionary wave was the Statuto Albertino of Sardinia-Piedmont which had, theoretically, guaranteed the subjects of Savoy some say in government. There could be no challenge to the absolute rule of the Pope. Similarly laws and administration structures throughout Italy were brought into line with those of the former Papal States. All state clerks were expected to communicate officially in Latin and an aggressive campaign was launched to standardise language and spelling throughout the country. In almost every respect the Vatican acted like a conquering power administrating captured provinces. Indeed the only aspect in which the Papacy respected local traditions was in refusing to dismantle or split the large estates of the South. The accepted agricultural model throughout the rest of Italy was small-scale farming but the Vatican preferred to honour an agreement reached during the previous war and allow the wealthy landowners to retain control over the impoverished peasantry of Naples and Sicily.


    The Syllabus Errorum won Pius IX few friends at home or abroad

    The result of this cultural campaign was predictable unrest throughout the country. Many liberals who had previous advocated unification now found themselves longing for a return to the, limited, rule of Savoy. Crucially the domination of the political sphere by the clergy closed off the traditional route for venting their frustration and effecting change. The bourgeoisie may have felt alienated by the Papal regime but they were still several magnitudes better off than the lower classes. Heavily taxed by the government and denied all political rights, there was considerable resentment amongst the craftsmen of the North with their new rulers. Combined with the desperately poor economic situation (the Vatican would owe over 20 million lire to foreign banks by 1866 as its military expenses soared) it was not surprising that the first mass wave of Italian immigration to the Americas began in these years. Those that remained sought to strengthen their position through the, outlawed, trade union movement. Mutual Aid Associations first established by Mazzini began to take on a more proletarian flavour. A congress of these proto-trade unions met secretly in Napoli in October 1864 and adopted the programme entitled a "Brotherly Agreement between the Italian Working Men’s Associations". This was a far cry from any revolutionary call to arms, although the Papal police certainly viewed it as such, but it did lay the foundations for a national labour movement**

    Obviously no ruling regime is ever without its defenders and the Papacy had good reason to be confident during the 1860s. Economic and financial woes notwithstanding, the process of integrating the various regions into something resembling a country did proceed with pace. The core of the Vatican's following - the conservative rural classes - remained energised and, with the fall of the royal houses of Savoy and Bourbon, the Church no longer faced competition for the loyalty of the country gentry and conservative intellectuals. Rome could at least confidently proclaim that it had "no enemies on the Right". More importantly however was the fact that the creation of a unified Italian state was genuinely popular with much of the population and the stunning victory against Austria had won much respect at home and abroad. Rome lost little opportunity to remind its citizens of its victories and the late 1860's saw a wave of statues and monuments commissioned to reinforce national and patriotic sentiment amongst the population. Even the flag, adopted with haste during the war with Austria, remained the traditional tricolour… albeit one marred by the Papal insignia. Given this behaviour it is little wonder that the Vatican did not spurn the opportunity to rally the nation around this flag in '66.

    "Opportune" is the most accurate description of Papal behaviour in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Lingering religious differences were put aside as Italy offered to support Prussia in order to annex those Italian provinces that Austria had retained following Villafranca-Zürich. The war itself was relatively uneventful and requires little analysis in this text. The Esercito Italiano once again attacked the far left of the Austrian line but the well dug-in defenders fought bravely and Italian progress was slow despite numerical superiority along the front. Overall the campaign proved to be a sideshow to the German front to the north and the war was effectively decided by the crushing Prussian victory at Sadowa in July. The Treaty of Vienna (signed August 3 1866) secured Prussian leadership in Germany and permitted Italy to annex the occupied state of Tirol. For the victors it had been a tidy little war.

    -----


    * Irredentism is a desire to annex territories based on supposed ethnic or historical claims. The phrase originates from the slogan of Italia irredenta (Unredeemed Italy) that gained currency following the limited peace of Villafranca-Zürich. For an overview of such "pan-" movements, see "Ambrosio, T., (2001), Irredentism: Ethnic Conflict and International Politics" while the specific case of Italian Irredentism is ably dealt with by "Vivante, A., (1984), Irredentismo Adriatico"

    ** See "Bowle, J., (1954), Politics and Opinion in the Nineteenth Century, London"
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    First of all I am very aware that the Italian participation in the Austro-Prussian war above seems very brief and "tacked on". Largely because it is brief and tacked on. Originally I was going to leave it at that, it wasn't a particularly interesting war, but I've since decided to expand on this in a mini-update someday this week. So expect something around Wednesday.

    Incidentially, I hope that everyone is reading these comments after the update and that I'm not spoiling anything.

    In other news I'm delighted to report that my shameless plugs have had their desired effect. You are now reading the official Q3 2007 Favourite History-Book AAR (Victoria). This seems like a fitting time to thank all my readers for their interest and feedback. Whether you voted for the AAR or not (traitors! ) its been your patronage that has kept me writing and I am extremely grateful for that. There, that wasn't too gushy, was it?

    -----


    J. Passepartout: Well the end point is coming into sight and I'm sure that many readers have already figured out how it will occur. I'll not give any hints away though.... except to note that Pius IX became Pope on the same date he did historically.

    Kaeso: I've actually been thinking about both. Unfortunately N Africa is currently divided between France and the Ottomans (the latter being surprisingly strong in this game) and the Papal finances are not exactly conductive to massive industrialisation. We'll see how it goes but for now I'm happy to just explore the internal tensions of the new Italy.

    CCA: A communist Pope? You'll know that something like that is in the works if I suddenly start talking about the "Soviet of Cardinals" or the "International Collective Church"

    stnylan: Its a bit of both foreign and domestic content at the moment. I'm not sure if this is likely to change with the Papacy suddenly becoming a major European Power. The next major update will probably focus on the latter but then foreign affairs do have a habit of intruding.

    Lordban:
    On the foreign scene, Italy's and the Papacy's star must shine brighter than ever. And it'd be amusing to read Marxist pamphlets from such a timeline, showing the world just how religion is nothing but another dangerous Imperialism that has to be fought much like the Capitalists
    Well that's one area that I'm hesitant to venture into. I think I've only put words into someone's mouth so far in this AAR. I don't know whether its cowardice or not but I just prefer to rely on historical characters using historical quotes.

    This is particularly true when talking about Marx. In his role as journalist Marx was a 19th C contemporary who wrote about most major world events, including the unification of Italy. I can only imagine his response to Papal Italy ( ). Most of his journalistic output is highly readable and I'd very much recommend it to anyone with an interest in the period.

    But I can't see how the Curia and the Popes could decide to let go all their power now that they've unified Italy by force.
    Indeed, absolute power and all that. I hope I've adequately conveyed this reluctance to impart power in the update above.

    RGB: Thanks. you're right in that the next real challenge for the Vatican is securing its power at home. The rest of this AAR will really be, as indeed the entire AAR has been, dominated by this theme.

    coz1: Funnily enough, as you mention the religious aspect, I've not really given the Pope's religious role all that much weight so far. Thinking back, I've primarily thought of him as a political figure, albeit one who emphasises morality. I suppose that this is fairly historical - when SP occupied Rome in 1870, Pius did his usual excommunication trick and pleaded with Italian Catholics to support him. None was forthcoming and so the Papacy passed from the temporal realm.

    But that's me just wondering aloud. Lombardy and Venice were very nice additions that contribute signficantly to my industrial score. Even if emigration has blighted my factories...

    Kapi: Thanks for taking the time to catch up with the story. I don't get the Iran reference but its still good to have you with us
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    Glad to see the Popes are reassuringly hardline.

    And I thought you weren't elegible this round, otherwise I'd have voted for you too. Congratulations on the award.

    And here's my plug: I'm back with an update.
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  6. #86
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    Kapi: Thanks for taking the time to catch up with the story. I don't get the Iran reference but its still good to have you with us
    I.e. an Italian national state completely controlled and dominated by the Catholic Church and the Vatican. Subtract the limited democracy Iran has and you have your Italy. I do wonder what your international goals are after expanding to the size of modern Italy.

    P.S. Love the graphical part of this AAR. Really adds to the atmosphere.
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  7. #87
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    Congrats for the award!

    And you did a very good job of showing the Papacy's reluctance to let power go, and at explaining why
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    In truth, the "tacked on" feel is fitting in that Austria had already been humiliated. To not go into to detail about yet another victory suggests just how low Vienna has fallen.

    And I suspect the Pope and his men will find some issues with organized crime historically found in Naples and Sicily, especially as the landowners have remained in place. Between that and a rising socialism, he's going to have his hands full.
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    A matter of tidying up - so while 'tacked on' perhaps, it fits considering the real war has already been fought.
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    The Syllabus of Errors is all well and good if you don't actually hold any territory and can therefore declare principles without the threat of alienating your populace. Revolts galore, I think.

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    Ouch! That's pretty controversial! This seems to suggest that the Pope has rather spectacularly fallen off that crest of a wave he's been riding since unification- hope it doesn't hurt too much...

    Fantastic writing- continues to impress, and well done on your award! (I voted for you- so you must have deserved it ).
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    Good to see the Papal Italy getting back the irredent lands in a brief and bloodless 1866 war. Are other lands missing to get a full and complete unification of Italians?
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  13. #93
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    It seems that Trieste is still missing. Let see if the Pope manage to settle the inner trouble and low industrialization to keep his rank.
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    Such intransigence at home can't put off conflicts indefinitely, despite victories abroad. Looking forward to seeing how domestic oppostion to the Church takes shape.

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    Supplement: The Austro-Prussian War

    "The great man is known by three signs - generosity in design, humanity in execution, and moderation in success" Otto von Bismarck


    A Matter of Leadership

    Parallel to the emergence of a unified Italy under Papal rule in the 1860s was the continued development of the pan-German movement. Under the watchful eye of the Otto von Bismarck, the most famed statesman since Metternich, Prussian dominance over the various petty states of the German Confederation was slowly extended and deepened. While the influence of the "Iron Chancellor" is often overstated, the Customs Union (Zollverein) and short war with Denmark (1864) effectively established a Prussian hegemony over the northern states of the Confederation. The only other internal check to a Prussian-led Germany lay with the Austrian Empire to the south. It was unthinkable, despite its recent humiliation at the hands of Italian armies, that Austria would allow the Prussians to take steps towards formalising their position as the pre-eminent German state. Inevitably the ambitions of Berlin and Vienna came to war in 1866.

    Despite a change of flag, Papal foreign policy had not changed significantly since unification. Given the role played by Napoleon III in the creation of the Italian state, it was only natural that the new country should fall into the French sphere of influence. However the French Emperor was not alone in recognising that the lynchpin of Southern Europe had shifted from Vienna to Rome. In 1866, with Napoleon III nonchalant, foolishly so in hindsight, towards the German war, Bismarck approached the Papacy with the surprising offer of an alliance. Italy and Prussia were not natural allies but the latter could offer the tempting prize of Austrian lands. Italian irredentists could once again dream of an Adriatic Empire. On 15 March 1866 the Italian armies, under the command of General Maggio, mobilised along the Austrian border and the Papacy declared its support for the Prussian cause.

    The Italian Front

    Spirits amongst the Italian General Staff were high going into the war with memories of the previous victories over the Austrians still very fresh in memory. In helping to prove the old adage that generals always prepare to "fight the last war", General Maggio deployed his divisions for a hard thrust at the left of the Austrian line in an attempt to repeat the glories of the May Offensive. The first operation of the new war began on 13 April as the Esercito Italiano staged a strong push through Bozen. Initially rapid progress was made with the province falling on the 22nd of the month. Supporting divisions then proceeded to move into the encircled city of Trento as General Maggio brought his army towards Innsbruck. It was here that the success stopped for the Italians. Having committed too few divisions to his thrust, Maggio's offensive came to a halt outside Innsbruck as the Austrians counterattacked and forced a stalemate in July. There was no great shattering of the Austrian lines and vast bulk of the Italian army remained idle in Udine while expecting a breakthrough that never occurred. By the time the Prussians ended the war with a crushing victory at Sadowa, on the German front, the Holy See had only Bozen and Trento to show for tens of thousands of losses.


    Major operations on the Italian Front: Black (Italian advance), Red (Austrian counterattack)


    Unsympathetic to the Italians, whose primary contribution to the war had been tying up Austrian divisions, and eager to preserve Austria as a viable European Power, Bismarck's Treaty of Vienna was not what the Papacy had expected. Italy gained naught but its occupied towns of Bozen and Trento (in the Tirol region) and the Iron Chancellor even went so far as to warn the Vatican against further territorial ambitions in the region. The latter proved a useful concession as Bismarck sought to bind the weakened Austro-Hungarian Empire (as it would become) to a Prussian-led Germany.

    Conclusions

    On the surface the Austro-Prussian war was a tidy little affair for Papacy that led to a further expansion of its borders. However the disappointment of the army's performance and the concessions made in the Treaty of Vienna made it a bittersweet victory. The latter was most easily dealt with as ties with Prussia were swiftly cut and the Papacy returned to its centuries old ally France (a permanent military alliance would be formalised in June 1868). The collapse of the army's cohesion and efficiency was far more serious however. Admittedly the Austrians had prepared well and the terrain had not favoured the Italians, but this cannot excuse the tepidity of the generals or the incompetence of their staffs. Maggio's vision of a daring thrust had failed to rupture the Austrian lines but there was no other commander who had dared risk a frontal assault of the enemy positions. Maggio himself was swiftly removed from command but the accusations of cowardice would continue to haunt his deputies.

    On an even lower level there was a marked lack of competence from what had once been a well drilled professional force. It is hard not to agree with critics at the time in that the move towards a national conscript army, a key institution in building national identity, had produced an expensively vast but poorly trained and organised army. This state of affairs was not aided by political nature of the institution nor by its de facto peacetime role as a police force in suppressing riots and strikes. The latter were a particular headache for the Italian planners with the elite Esercito Pontificio being conspicuously missing from the theatre of war - it was busy putting down a minor summer revolt, sparked by a confrontation over the imposition of Papal laws, in Firenze. The Papacy was, perhaps willingly, blind to these underlying factors and refused to address them.

    -----
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    I promised a mini-update dealing with the Austro-Prussian and so a mini-update you shall have. This is a "Supplement" which means that I knocked it all up in half an hour. I'm tempted to go away for another week and bring it up to the standard of the rest of the AAR but its really not worth the effort. Indeed its already twice the length that I had originally imagined it. The next update (Saturday) will return us to usual programming and the internal affairs of Papal Italy.

    -----


    Dr. Gonzo:
    Well it all depends on your perspective. If you are of the opinion that freedom of speech/conscience and other associated rights (not to mention the separation of church and state!) are products of a world that has succumbed to degenerate Modernism, then perhaps this really was a Kingdom of God...

    RGB: Back in the 19th C men were men and Popes were Popes. There was none of this "forgiveness" crap - if you thought that the girls were wearing short skirts or that men were actually thinking then you issued a dense Papal bull forbidding such sinful behaviour! :nods:

    Its great to see your, excellent, AAR back in action. You probably won't believe me at this stage but I've not forgotten about Les Journals either.

    Kapi: What will the Papacy do next? Launch a programme to enrich uranium of course! Unfortunately Heisenberg and Oppenheimer won't be along for another thirty years or so...

    Lordban: Thanks. I can safely say that the matter of why my characters/parties act as they do has been one of the primary drivers behind my writing from my very first AAR post

    coz1: Yes, that is exactly what I intended with the brief mention of the war *cough*

    stnylan: Well I can never resist the opportunity to throw another challenge in the way of the Holy See. That, and outlining another facet of Papal Italy, was what convinced me to do this mini-update.

    J. Passepartout: I'm going to give up dodging your accurate predictions and say that you are correct. The next update will shed some light on the enemies produced by Papal policies.

    DerKaiser: Well one theme that I've been trying to explore in the past few updates is that the strength of Papal Italy, much like our historical Italy, was/is pretty superficial. That is difficult given the stunning success in the 1863 war but its in the nature of AARs to produce such bursts of competence in order to drive the story forward.

    Hastu Neon: Well the irredentists will want most of the Adriatic coast but, as you can see above, that ambition has taken a blow. I'll not rule anything out but for now I'm happy to have reached the modern borders.

    Kaeso: The slow industrialisation is a worry, albeit a historical one. My original plan had been for a fairly concerted industrialisation drive after the war with Austria but the poor budget (with first preference being given to paying off London bankers) and rising social tensions conspire to make a decade of peace (a la the '50s) increasingly unlikely.

    LeonTrotsky: I thought you would ( ). My intention in the last proper update was to deal with the Papal regime before devoting the next to the "opposition". Changes have been made but that's still the basic plan.
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  17. #97
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    All in all, a good idea to explain the war in a little more detail.

    And oh, that Bismark fellow, he's up to no good.
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  18. #98
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    One of those wars where the taste of a pitiful victory is more bitter than a defeat.

    So, the diplomatic map is reshaped again. It sounds to me like further fighting on that border is only a matter of time.
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  19. #99
    A victory is better than a defeat, but as it plays out in your post the Pope seems to have annoyed the left by his reactionism and the right by not pursuing victory vigourously enough. Is this revolt you confirm is going to happen an alliance of convenience of everybody versus His Holines the Vicar of Christ??

  20. #100
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    As I recall I think this AAR is supposed to end in the 1870's which brings up several possible directions that things could go...

    One that I think has potential would be a Communist revolution. This one I think has a lot of merit given how the Pope has been (as he should be) a total reactionary. If that did happen, I would really like to see how things played out after that.

    Anyway, great stuff as usual
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