Foreign soldiers in the risorgimento and anti-risorgimento : a transnational military history of Germans in the Italian armed groups, 1834-1870
Title: Foreign soldiers in the risorgimento and anti-risorgimento : a transnational military history of Germans in the Italian armed groups, 1834-1870
Author: GÖHDE, Ferdinand Nicolas
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2014
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This thesis compares the motives, experiences and practices of Germans in the Papal, Bourbon and Garibaldian armed groups. It shows how solidarity was, on all political sides, increasingly conceptualized as an act by and between nations and argues that political mobilization did not necessarily directly inform the single enlistment. Recruitment activities not only combined mercenary traditions with new forms of communication and association, but they also overlapped, leading many to change between armed groups. The study provides the first in-depth statistical analysis of these Germans based on soldiers’ registers, contextualizing it with transnational soldiering across Europe; not only did Germans stay in the regular armies for quite long periods, but previous and later enlistments in other armies were common - this also holds true for the "German" Garibaldians. Examining hitherto neglected economic incentives, the study demonstrates the plurality of political, cultural, economic and professional motives of single soldiers, thus blurring the lines of the opposition between the militarily inexperienced political war volunteer and the mercenary that is so central to the polemics of the time and "new Risorgimento historiography". Based on legal sources and soldiers’ reports, the study analyses the every-day life of Germans in the Italian armed groups in terms of a culturally revived "new military history", and is particularly attentive to issues of masculinity. The different institutional contexts the Germans were placed in - e.g. foreigners’ corps, ministries - informed differing experiences. In contrast to the multi-national make-up of many corps, imagery of national grouping progressively superseded formal military structures, resulting in continuous comparisons of corps and nationalities and increases in "nationalizing" experiences. This goes counter to the image of foreign commitment in Italy as a cosmopolitan experience and an a priori positive understanding of the "transnational". Hence, the role of foreign soldiers was crucial for the "military" Risorgimento and "revirilization".
LC Subject Heading: Subject Italy -- History -- 1849-1870; Italy -- History, Military -- 19th century; Italy -- Foreign relations -- Germany; Germany -- Foreign relations -- Italy
Defence date: 3 October 2014; Examining Board: Professor Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, supervisor (European University Institute); Professor Lucy Riall (European University Institute); Professor Catherine Brice (Université Paris-Est Créteil); Professor Oliver Janz (Freie Universität Berlin).
Type of Access: embargoedAccess