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Crimean War

CRIMEAN WAR

The Crimean War (18531856) was Europe's greatest war between 1815 and 1914, pitting first Turkey, then France and England, and finally PiedmontSardinia against Russia.

The incautious and miscalculated decision by Nicholas I to activate his southern army corps and Black Sea fleet in late December 1852 can be attributed to several general misperceptions: the official myth that Russia legally protected the Ottoman Orthodox; disinformative claims of Ottoman perfidy regarding the OrthodoxCatholic dispute over Christian Holy Places; and illusions of Austrian loyalty and British friendship. Attempts to interest the British in a partition of the Ottoman Empire failed. Britain followed France in sending a fleet to the Aegean to back Turkey, after Russia's extraordinary ambassador to Istanbul, Alexander Menshikov, acted peremptorily, following the tsar's instructions, in March 1852. Blaming Turkish obstinacy on the British ambassador Stratford de Redcliffe, the Russians refused to accept the Ottoman compromise proposal on the Holy Places on the grounds that it skirted the protection issue. Russia broke relations with Turkey in May and occupied Moldavia and Wallachia in July.

While the Ottomans mobilized, European statesmen sought an exit. Russia's outright rejection in September of another Ottoman compromise finessing the protection issue, one which the British found reasonable, emboldened the Turks to declare war and attack Russian positions in Wallachia and the eastern Black Sea (October). Admiral Pavel

Nakhimov's Black Sea squadron destroyed a Turkish supply convoy off Sinope (November 30), and the combined AngloFrenchTurkish fleet entered the Black Sea on January 1, 1854. Russia refused the humiliating allied demand to keep to port, and by early April, Britain and France were at war with Russia.

Russia's millionman army was larger than that of the allies, but had fewer rifles and deployed 600,000 troops from Finland to Bessarabia as insurance against attacks from the west. AngloFrench fleets and logistics far outclassed Russia's.

The war operated on several fronts. The Russians crossed the Danube in March and besieged Silistra, only to retreat and evacuate Wallachia and Moldavia in June in the face of AustroGerman threats. AngloFrench naval squadrons entered the Baltic and destroyed Russia's fortifications at Bomarsund and Sveaborg, but did not harm Kronstadt. In Transcaucasia, Russian counterattacks and superior tactics led to advances into Eastern Anatolia and the eventual investment of Kars in September 1855.

The key theater was Crimea, where the capture of Sevastopol was the chief Allied goal. Both sides made mistakes. The Russians could have mounted a more energetic defense against Allied landings, while the Allies might have taken Sevastopol before the Russians fortified their defenses with sunken ships and naval ordnance under Admiral Vladimir Kornilov and army engineer Adjutant Eduard Totleben. The Allies landed at Evpatoria, defeated the Russians at the Alma River (September 20, 1854), and redeployed south of Sevastopol. The Russian attempt to drive the Allies from Balaklava failed even before the British Light Brigade made its celebrated, illfated charge (October 25, 1854). The welloutnumbered allies then tried to besiege Sevastopol and thus exposed themselves to a counterattack at Inkerman on November 5, 1854, which the Russians completely mishandled with their outmoded tactics, negligible staff work, and command rivalries.

Despite a terrible winter, the Allies reinforced and renewed their siege in February 1855. Allied reoccupation of Evpatoria, where the Turks held off a Russian counterattack, and a summer descent on Kerch disrupted the flow of Russian supplies. The death of Nicholas I and accession of Alexander II (March 2) meant little at first. As per imperial wishes, the Russians mounted a hopeless attack on the besiegers' positions on the Chernaya River (August 16). The constant Allied bombardment and French-led assaults on Sevastopol's outer defenses led to an orderly evacuation (September 89). The Russians in turn captured Kars in Eastern Anatolia (November 26), thereby gaining a bargaining chip. Hostilities soon abated.

Russia lost the war in the Baltic, Crimea, and lower Danube, with the demilitarization of the Åland Islands and the Black Sea and retrocession of southern Bessarabia, but, at the cost of 400,000-500,000 casualties, defended the empire's integrity from maximal AngloOttoman rollback goals and won the war in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. The evidence of Russia's technological and structural inferiority to the West, as well as the massive turnout of peasant serfs expecting emancipation in return for volunteer service, were major catalysts of the Great Reforms under Alexander II. Russia became more like the other great powers, adhering to the demands of cynical self-interest.

See also: great britain, relations with; military, imperial era; nesselrode, karl robert; sevastopol; turkey, relations with

bibliography

Baumgart, Winfried. (1999). The Crimean War, 1853-1856. London: Arnold.

Goldfrank, David. (1994). The Origins of the Crimean War. London: Longman.

David M. Goldfrank

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"Crimean War." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Crimean War." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crimean-war

"Crimean War." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crimean-war

Crimean War

CRIMEAN WAR

the crimean war developed out of a basic misunderstanding between great britain and imperial russia over fundamental aims regarding the disposition of the territories of the greatly weakened ottoman empire.

About 1830, a Russian war against the Ottoman Empire had assured the independence of Greece. Until that time, the British, a close trade partner of Russia, had largely acquiesced to Russian acquisition of protector status over certain of the Ottoman Empire's Orthodox Christian territories, such as Serbia and the Romanian principalities.

There had always been Russophobes among British leaders, including William Pitt, the Younger, and George Canning. But it was only when Lord Palmerston was appointed secretary of state for external affairs that a clear British policy concerning the Middle East was conceived. The Treaty of Hunkar-Iskelesi, following Egypt's invasion of Asia Minor in 1833, appears to have been the catalyst. Apart from awarding to Muhammad Ali Pasha control of Syria and the island of Crete, a secret clause recognized Russia's right to intervene in Turkish affairs to "protect" the interests of Orthodox subjects. Palmerston made it clear to Parliament that this arrangement must be undone. He proposed that, to protect Britain's lifeline to India, Britain must either station soldiers in the Middle East at strategic points or energetically assist the Ottoman leadership to reform its armed forces and liberalize its system of government.

Britain chose the less expensive route of assisting such pro-British viziers as Mustafa Reşid Paşa and their protégés to reform the Ottoman system. Upon the accession of Sultan Abdülmecit I in 1839, the Ottoman government launched the so-called Tanzimat reform, which would culminate in the first Ottoman constitution of 1876. Also in 1839, the combined European powers forced Muhammad Ali, who was on the verge of usurping further powers from the Ottoman sultan, to withdraw his forces from Syria and the Sudan in exchange for the conciliatory gesture of receiving Egypt as his hereditary kingdom.

Despite this heightened British interest in the Mediterranean region, apparently Russia missed the message. When Czar Nicholas I (18251855) paid a state visit to Britain in 1842, he queried the British about the disposition of "the Sick Man of Europe." In typical British fashion, officials in London failed to give the czar a direct answer; consequently, he and his delegation concluded that if Russia strengthened its hold over Ottoman Turkey, Britain would not be upset.

A clash of interest and a cause célèbre was not long in developing. Sultan Abdülmecit, after consulting the powerful and popular British resident

ambassador, Stratford Canning, decided to award to France the traditional function and title of Protector of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Imperial Russia, which annually sent thousands of pilgrims to the Holy Land and had recently invested sizable funds in Jerusalem for churches and pilgrim hostels, took grave offense at not receiving the honored designation. After long drawn-out bickering over the issue, Russia issued an ultimatum. With the Ottomans supported by the British ambassador, who now ordered the British fleet into the Black Sea, Russia declared war and marched on the Balkans, where the Turks put up a stiff resistance. Meanwhile, the British and French landed troops in the Crimea in 1853 and 1854 and besieged Russian fortifications at Inkerman and Sebastapol. Ill-equipped and ravaged by cholera, the Russians capitulated in 1855, and Czar Nicholas abdicated to be replaced by Czar Alexander II.

In the Peace of Paris (1856), Ottoman Turkey, France, Britain, and Austriathe latter not having been an active participantforced upon Russia a humiliating settlement. Russia was to cease its meddling in Ottoman affairs, including Romania, and it was not permitted to fortify any point on the Black Sea. Her naval vessels also were placed under strict control of the allies.

This embarrassing result was an important factor in forcing Czar Alexander to declare the liberation of the serfs in 1861. Moreover, the heavy commitment by Britain in the war and the great loss of life, in spite of heroic medical assistance by Florence Nightingale's field hospital in Istanbul, played a major role in Britain's decision twenty-five years later to occupy Cyprus and then Egypt to assure its lifeline to India without recourse to Ottoman Turkey.

see also abdÜlmecit i; canning, stratford; hunkar-iskelesi, treaty of (1833); muhammad ali; mustafa reŞid; ottoman empire; palmerston, lord henry john temple; tanzimat.

C. Max Kortepeter

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"Crimean War." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Crimean War." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crimean-war

Crimean War

Crimean War, 1853–6. Known to contemporaries as ‘the Russian War’, this arose from long-term Russian ambitions to expand westward and southward, resisted by Britain as a matter of policy. The immediate cause was a petty struggle between Russia and France over rights in Ottoman Turkey. This produced an ultimatum from Russia to Turkey in March 1853, followed by Russian occupation of the Ottoman Danubian provinces (modern Romania) and a naval victory over Turkey at Sinope on 27 November. Britain and France (later joined by Sardinia as well as Turkey) issued their own ultimatum on 27 March 1854.

The Black Sea theatre dominated contemporary perspectives of the war. Britain supplied a field army of about 28,000, which, with a French contingent of equal size, landed in May 1854 at Varna to defend it against Russian forces crossing the Danube. When this threat failed to materialize, the allied armies were transferred to the Crimean peninsula, landing north of the main Russian naval base of Sebastopol on 14 September. Their first victory, at the Alma six days later, enabled them to continue south around Sebastopol from the landward side to Balaclava, so establishing a partial siege of the base.

Through the autumn the Russians tried to break the siege of Sebastopol, the two major attacks being at Balaclava in October and Inkerman in November. After surviving a bad winter, for which they were not equipped, the allies launched naval expeditions against the smaller Russian bases of Kerch at the eastern end of the Crimea in May and Kinburn (near Odessa) in October 1855. Meanwhile, the Russians made one final attempt to relieve Sebastopol in August at the Tchernaya (in which the British were hardly involved). Repeated British and French attacks on Sebastopol finally led to the base becoming untenable and the Russians abandoned it in October.

Modern historical study pays at least as much attention to the purely naval campaign fought in the Baltic as to the Crimean theatre. The end of the war came about not through the fall of Sebastopol but through the British victory in August 1855 in destroying by bombardment the Russian dockyard at Sweaborg (outside modern Helsinki). Together with Kinburn, this demonstrated the vulnerability of Russian naval bases to British ships, a threat made explicit that winter with the building of the ‘Great Armament’, a floating siege train of over 360 vessels intended to capture the main Russian naval base in the Baltic at Cronstadt. Rather than face the loss of Cronstadt as well as Sebastopol, the Russians agreed to moderate allied peace terms in the treaty of Paris of 30 March 1856, with the Black Sea declared neutral and the Danube an open waterway.

The result of the Crimean War has been much debated. By pursuing a realistic limited aim the Allies held Russia in check for a generation, rather than destroying themselves by marching on Moscow. Equally, although British performance in the Crimea was a contemporary byword for incompetence, it is recognized that the army did not perform much worse than at the start of the Napoleonic wars, was as much a victim of government parsimony as of its own faults, and that by the winter of 1855 most of its problems were solved.

Stephen Badsey

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"Crimean War." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Crimean War

Crimean War (krīmē´ən), 1853–56, war between Russia on the one hand and the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, France, and Sardinia on the other. The causes of the conflict were inherent in the unsolved Eastern Question. The more immediate occasion was a dispute between Russia and France over the Palestinian holy places. Challenging the claim of Russia to guardianship of the holy places, France in 1852 secured from Sultan Abd al-Majid certain privileges for the Latin churches. Russian counterdemands were turned down (1853) by the Ottoman government.

In July, 1853, Russia retorted by occupying the Ottoman vassal states of Moldavia and Walachia, and in October, after futile negotiations, the Ottomans declared war. In Mar., 1854, Britain and France, having already dispatched fleets to the Black Sea, declared war on Russia; Sardinia followed suit in Jan., 1855. Austria remained neutral, but by threatening to enter the war on the Ottoman side forced Russia to evacuate Moldavia and Walachia, which were occupied (Aug., 1854) by Austrian troops.

In Sept., 1854, allied troops landed in the Crimea, with the object of capturing Sevastopol. The Russian fortress, defended by Totleben, resisted heroically until Sept., 1855. Allied commanders were Lord Raglan for the British and Marshal Saint-Arnaud, succeeded later by Marshal Canrobert, for the French. Military operations, which were marked on both sides by great stubbornness, gallantry, and disregard for casualties, remained localized. Famous episodes were the battles of Balaklava and Inkerman (1854) and the allied capture (1855) of Malakhov and Redan, which preceded the fall of Sevastopol. On the Asian front the Russians gained advantages and occupied Kars.

The accession (1855) of Czar Alexander II and the capture of Sevastopol led to peace negotiations that resulted (Feb., 1856) in the Treaty of Paris (see Paris, Congress of). The Crimean War ended the dominant role of Russia in SE Europe; the cooling of Austro-Russian relations was an important factor in subsequent European history. The scandalous treatment of the troops, particularly the wounded, depicted by war correspondents, prompted the work of Florence Nightingale, which was perhaps the most positive result of the war.

See studies by D. Wetzel (1985), A. Palmer (1987), T. Royle (2000), S. Markovitz (2009), and O. Figes (2011).

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"Crimean War." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Crimean War." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crimean-war

Crimean War

Crimean War (1853–56) Fought by Britain, France, and the Ottoman Turks against Russia. In 1853, Russia occupied Turkish territory and France and Britain, determined to preserve the Ottoman Empire, invaded the Crimea (1854) to attack Sevastopol. The war was marked on both sides by incompetent leadership and organization. The Charge of the Light Brigade is the best-known example. Sevastopol was eventually captured (1855). At the Treaty of Paris (1856) Russia surrendered its claims on the Ottoman Empire.

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"Crimean War." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Crimean War." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crimean-war

Crimean War

Crimean War a war (1853–6) between Russia and an alliance of Great Britain, France, Sardinia, and Turkey. Russian aggression against Turkey led to war, with Turkey's European allies intervening to destroy Russian naval power in the Black Sea in 1854 and eventually capture the fortress city of Sebastopol in 1855 after a lengthy siege. In Britain the war was chiefly remembered for the deficiencies in the British army's medical services exposed by the work of Florence Nightingale and others.

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