Camillo Cavour and Otto von Bismarck helped build the Italian and German national states and represent two major models of political leadership. Implementing political guidance reflecting a liberal parliamentary approach, within a lively and tough political context laden with conflict, Cavour was an indomitable leader in Parliament and a stout defender of Parliament. Thus emerged the "Cavour model" which German liberals found so appealing. But German unity undertook a different path thanks to Bismarck, who embodied the principle of monarchic authority and was willing to use democracy in a more ruthless manner. In constant tension and conflict with Parliament, Bismarck could bring into play a formidable military tool: the Prussian army. Against the backdrop of events in Italy in 1859-61 and in Germany in 1866-67, this book chronicles Cavour's and Bismarck's decision-making processes, their styles of government, and their relationship (which remains timely) with both Liberalism and Caesarism.
Gian Enrico Rusconi is professor emeritus at the University of Turin.