The fall of Cairoli, and the formation of a second Depretis cabinet in 1878, brought no substantial change in the attitude of the government towards Irredentism, nor was the position improved by the return of Cairoli to power in the following July.
The visit was marked by the greatest cordiality, Count Robilants fears of inopportune pressure with regard to Irredentism proving groundless.
Doubts, however, soon sprang up as to its effect upon the minds of Austrian statesmen, since on the 8th of November the language employed by Kllay and Count Andrssy to the Hungarian delegations on the subject of Irredentism was scarcely calculated to soothe Italian susceptibilities.
A revival of Irredentism in connection with the execution of an Austrian deserter named Oberdank, who after escaping into Italy endeavoured to return to Austria with explosive bombs in his possession, and the cordial references to France made by Depretis at Stradella (8th October 1882), prevented the French government from suspecting the existence of the alliance, or from ceasing to strive after a Franco-Italian understanding.
So vigorous was his treatment of Irredentism that he dismissed without warning his colleague Seismit Doda, minister of finance, for having failed to protest against Irredentist speeches delivered in his presence at Udine.
One of the causes of ill-feeling was the university question; the Austrian government had persistently refused to create an Italian university for its Italian subjects, fearing lest it should become a hotbed of irredentism, the Italianspeaking students being thus obliged to attend the GermanAustrian universities.
Up to the World War there was actually no articulate irredentism among the Austrian Poles; they were more contented than their co-nationals in Russia and Germany, and this explains their attitude of vacillation and indecision during a long period of the war.
The Ladins, who formed about a quarter of this group, were not affected by irredentism, but looked rather towards German culture, and were to the end outspoken in their Austrianism.