Background on the War

The immediate cause of the war involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was part of the Ottoman Empire. France championed the rights of Christians, while Russia the rights of Eastern Orthodox minorities. A secondary cause involved Britain and France refusing to allow Russia to occupy more territory at the expense of the shrinking Ottoman Empire.

While the religious disputes were worked out by the various religious authorities, Russia continued to demand control over its Eastern Orthodox subjects. In July 1853, Russian troops occupied the Danubian Principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia). In October 1853 with the support of Britain and France, the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia.

The Crimea circa 1855

The war would rage on for almost three years and include significant naval and land battles.

The major engagements of the war included:
The Battle of Alma [September 20, 1854]
The Battle of Balaklava [October 25, 1854]
The Battle of Inkerman [November 5, 1854]
The Siege of Sevastopol [September 11, 1854 to September 9, 1855]
The Azoff Naval Expedition in the Sea of Azov [May 25 to September 22, 1855]

The Crimean War marked a turning point for the Russian Empire. The war weakened the Imperial Russian Army, drained the treasury and undermined Russia's influence in Europe. Russia would take decades to recover. The humiliation forced Russia's educated elites to identify the Empire's problems and to recognize the need for fundamental reforms. They saw rapid modernization of the country as its sole path to recover the status of a European power. The war thus became a catalyst for reforms of Russia's social institutions, including the abolition of serfdom, overhaul of its justice system, local self-government policies, education system and military service requirements.

The Crimean War was also one of the first conflicts in which the military used modern technologies such as explosive naval shells, railways, and telegraph systems. The war was one of the first to be documented extensively in written reports and in photographs (although finding actual photographs is a challenge). Nonetheless, the war quickly became a symbol of logistical, medical, and tactical failures and mismanagement. The reaction in Britain led to a demand for professionalization in medical care, which most famously (notoriously in some quarters) was achieved by Florence Nightingale.

Website Maintained by Vaudezilla