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[Read] ➪ Crimea ➲ Orlando Figes – Cravenjobs.co.uk


  • Hardcover
  • 575 pages
  • Crimea
  • Orlando Figes
  • English
  • 28 August 2019
  • 9780805074604

10 thoughts on “Crimea

  1. says:

    Excellent This is actually three books The first one up to p 140 or so is about the origins of the Crimean war At the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem Catholic and Orthodox Christians would fight each other to the death for the right to, say, be the first to celebrate the Easter Mass Disingenuously, Nicholas I of Russia used a concern for the Orthodox living under Turkish rule as an opportunity for imperialist expansion He really wanted to partition Turkey Russophobic Britain was having none of it They believed, not without reason, that Russia wanted India This pushed them into an alliance with France to challenge Russia when it occupied the Danubian Principalities, Ottoman territory.The second book is an account of the conflict itself, which was brutal and marked by an appalling lack of planning and leadership on all but the French side For the British it devolves to the point of travesty The incompetence of British officers leaves one astonished, gaping For example, no provision was made for the Crimea s harsh winter because British leaders thought it would be a short campaign When the harsh weather came the ensuing tragedy had to make headlines in London before asses were gotten in gear and the appropriate supplies made available By then of course it was too late for the first winter The tommies in their made for summer tents, soaked through for months at a time, died in their thousands.The third and final book is on the aftermath of the war How it affected the principal combatants France, Britain, Russia, Turkey economically and politically Russia s humiliating loss became a significant factor in her decision to free the serfs One can t after all fight with an army of slaves there s a certain problem of motivation Tolstoy was at the Siege of Sevastopol and his comments, taken from Sevastopal Sketches as well as his letters, deepen the book in surprising ways The first great battle, fought in the fog at Balaclava, is a breathtaking read What I liked most was the way the book served as a linking narrative for me to many events I had already read about from Napoleon s Retreat from Moscow in 1812 through World War II Written in simple, declarative prose there is little or no use of tedious novelistic devices I warmly recommend The Crimean War Now, if you would be so kind, please sign the Charter for Compassion at Peace bar


  2. says:

    This book began rather slowly for me but I soon became engrossed in Figes narrative of this somewhat forgotten war which claimed so many lives for so little I have always been fascinated by the Crimean War and this book added to my knowledge as the author had access to sources not previously available to other authors It was a war of incompetent leadership, missed opportunities, outdated military tactics, and rampant disease Much mystique and legend regarding the war has grown over the years based solely on the suicidal charge of the Light Brigade, a perfect example of the miscommunication and lack of military leadership so prevalent in the Crimea The author gives equal attention to the battles of Inkerman, the river Alma, and the siege of Sevastopol which were of much importance than the infamous charge Highly recommended for the lover of military history.


  3. says:

    The Crimean War A History, by Orlando Figes, is a large history of the Crimean War between Russia on one side, and France, Britain and the Ottoman Empire on the other The war began over religious scuffling between Catholic and Greek Orthodox pilgrims in Jerusalem then part of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman s had recently passed policy favourable to Catholic pilgrims at the expense of Orthodox pilgrims in the city, with religious rights and priorities being granted to Catholic churches at the behest of the French government Previously, Russia had imposed similar measures on the Ottoman government for their pilgrims, and this tit for tat led to a strong response by the Russian government An ultimatum was sent, and Russian troops sent into the Danubian principalities Wallachia and Moldova , which were Romanian states under Ottoman suzerainty France and Britain were both alarmed by this move, and sent their backing to the Ottoman government Britain was quite concerned with growing Russian power in the region, and was afraid that the balance of power would shift to Russia on the continent France, under the newly crowned Emperor Napoleon III, needed a strong military showing to gain prestige at home, and quell growing unrest within the army.Russia s aims were many First, they wished to gain the status of Protector of the Orthodox in the Ottoman Empire, in order to encourage an end to anti Christian policies in the Porte, and give the Russian s a means to meddle in internal Ottoman affairs The Russians also had pan Slavic intentions, and were interested in seeing nation states created in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania all then under Ottoman control Russia s borders with the Ottoman s were also contested in the Caucus mountains and in Bessarabia in Romania Moldova Russia did not believe that Britain would join in the hostilities, and was also counting on the support of Austria, their long time ally Russia had made diplomatic maneuvers in Britain that seemed to suppose an indifferent response from the British, but in fact Russophobes had become influential in the government, and Britain sided strongly with the Ottomans The first maneuvers of the war were in Romania, but the pan Slavic elements of the early war disquieted the Austrian government, which had Slavic populations in Croatia and Bohemia The Austrian government did not join the Russian war, and even mobilized troops to threaten the Russians into a withdrawal from the Danubian principalities At this point in the war, the Russians also used their Black Sea fleet to bombard the Turkish coast, and destroyed the city of Sinope The Turks encouraged an uprising by Muslim tribes in the Circassian and Caucus regions of Russia, and sent men and material in support The other allies France and Britain, began to debate plans for attack Sorties into the Baltic to encourage the Swedes to join the war against Russia and toward St Petersburg were rejected as too dangerous Marching a land army into Poland to support a Polish uprising was strongly favoured by the French government, but ultimately rejected as it would have had a hostile reaction in Prussia and Austria, both states with their own Polish minorities The Crimea was the region chosen This valuable peninsula allowed Russia to control Black Sea trade, and put pressure on the Ottoman government due to its important position in the Black Sea trading routes and its transportation capacities to Constantinople If Britain and France could take the region from Russia, this valuable spot could be shaved off the Russian Empire and reduce its power in the region, and weaken it as a whole War aims were grand from the allies, who wanted nothing than the removal of Russian influence from Western Europe Allied troops landed in the Crimea and quickly engaged the Russians in the Battle of Alma, in which the allies handed the Russian s their first defeat However, allied mismanagement of the war would become clear soon after The allies then settled in for the Siege of Sevastopol, which would last many months and lead to thousands upon thousands of allied and Russian deaths These deaths were the result of tragic mismanagement of logistics and supplies most notably from the British Greatcoats were not supplied to troops in the winter, tents were not weather proof, food was scarce and of poor quality, and hospital ships were incompetently equipped to the point of malicious neglect The British public learned of these tidings through the press, and both mobilized in support of the troops and brought down the British government in support of a rational approach to the war British performance in the Crimean War was notably lacking, and the shortcomings encouraged a modernization of the army toward WWI France suffered from shortcomings as well, but the French army was much better equipped during the war The French paved roads from the landing sight to the French camps around Sevastopol, and the French army was well supplied with winter gear, food and luxuries French rifles were also far superior to Russian arms during the war, and could outpace the Russian s by hundreds of meters The French, like the Russians and British, fell short in warfare The Crimean War saw the eclipse of cavalry as a valuable fighting unit, with notable massacres of British and French cavalry units a commonality in early skirmishes Siege works, trenches and artillery, as well as infantry bayonet charges against fortified trench lines, was the common maneuver during the war, leading to high casualties on both sides These maneuvers were the per cursors of trench warfare in the early twentieth century Russia s military was far behind in terms of military technology in the 1850 s It had peaked during the defeat of Napoleon in 1812, and had done little to improve since then Russian rifles were horribly incompetent during the war, and a similar incompetency beset the Russian high command as that of the allies Russian casualties were massive during the war, as generals changed plans mid maneuver, battalion commanders ignored orders, and Russian troops struggled to survive with little supplies Russia made up for this in its sophisticated defensive engineering at Sevastopol, which kept the allies at bay for many months, and ground their armies to a halt Russian field pieces and artillery were also up to standard during the war, and performed well against the allies, giving as good as they got during bombardments The fall of Sevastopol marked the end of the war, as Russia, diplomatically isolated and humiliated by its loss, as well as recently facing the death of Tsar Nicholas I, was willing to seek peace The French were also craving an end to hostilities Popular opinion in France for the war was stagnant to hostile, and rumors of coup attempts began to alarm Emperor Napoleon French rapprochement with Russia was swift, and their mutual hostility with Austria began to transcend even the war itself Peace came in Paris, with Russia ceding a chunk of Bessarabia to the Ottomans, the Black Sea domination by Russian fleets coming to and end, and a mutual guarantee of the rights of Christians in the Ottoman Empire signed by all parties at the table Russia lost some territory, and its valuable hold over the Ottoman Empire However, Russia was able to gain back all it had lost and within about 20 years of the wars conclusion Unrest and reprisal between Christian and Muslim communities in the Ottoman Empire led to the collapse of good will to the Porte by Western powers, and allowed Russia to orchestrate the independence of Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Romania from the Ottomans, with a subsequent return of Bessarabian territories lost in the war The growing power of Prussia Germany and its defeat of Austria and France in land wars gave way to an agreement between Austria, Germany and Russia renouncing the Black Sea clauses in the peace treaty Russia also stepped up its game in the Caucus, defeating rebels in the region and pushing back British influence in Persia Even so, the dominance of Russia in European affairs had ended The Concert of Europe alliance between Austria and Russia was broken and never repaired French and British interests would remain aligned, and Russia would ultimately lose the game in the Ottoman Empire to the two Western powers interests Russia held some sway in the Balkan s, but these fractious states would drag Russia into many dangerous wars, leading ultimately to the collapse of the Russian Empire after WWI The Crimean War had minor territorial consequences, but massive consequences for the peace and stability of Europe.Figes has written an interesting and in depth account of the war, moving past legends like the Light Brigade and Florence Nightingale although he talks about them and instead examines the war through the eyes of the various belligerents in the war The diplomatic and religious precursors to the war are examined, as well as the opening maneuvers and the immediate and future consequences Battles are described in blow by blow accounts, examining maneuvers by each army, defensive lines, sorties and charges and so on in an in depth look at the battles The logistical considerations or lack thereof are examined The politics and diplomacy behind the war are looked at in depth This is a really well written account of the war and features good criticism, great analysis and an interesting comparison of perspective between the belligerents I had some small concerns about sourcing in a few of the chapters, but aside from this, this is a great history book, and one worth a read for those interested in European history from this era, as well as those looking for a good, chunky military history book A great read, and easily recommended to history buffs.


  4. says:

    An impressive new history of a war which seems to be almost completely forgotten over here, with the exception of The Charge of the Light Brigade It covers the war in all aspects, from the grisly siege of Sevastopol, the snarled diplomatic efforts which led to the start of the war, comparisons of the major players, the effects of religious differences, and the relatively neglected campaigns in the Baltic and Caucasus A worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in the era, to say nothing of the conflict itself Its effects are far widespread than any could conceive.


  5. says:

    A comprehensive history of the war with excellent chapters on the aftermath in world politics and national identity on the aftermath of the war The Crimean War reinforced in Russia a long felt sense of resentment against Europe There was a feeling of betrayal that the West had sided with the Turks against Russia It was the first time in history that a European alliance had fought on the side of a Muslim power against another Christian state in a major war. All around the Black Sea rim, the Crimean War resulted in the uprooting and transmigration of ethnic and religious groups They crossed in both directions over the religious line separating Russia from the Muslim world. But if the Paris treaty made few immediate changes to the European map, it marked a crucial watershed for international relations and politics, effectively ending the old balance of power, in which Austria and Russia had controlled the Continent between themselves, and forging new alignments that would pave the way for the emergence of nation states in Italy, Romania and Germany. The Crimean War provides a thorough and engaging explanation of the causes and course of the war It also lays out subsequent events that were precipitated by its peace settlement as well as by unsettled issues and persistent national attitudes Figes s well organized history makes the war seem like the essential pivot point between the Treaty of Vienna after the Napoleonic Wars and the start of WWI I recommend it very highly.Figes decides the most important causes of the conflict were a Russian religious fervor to put all Orthodox believers under jurisdiction of Christian nations if possible Russia itself and the western European Russophobia that feared the Bear would persist in the expansionist phase started by Catherine the Great until it reached India and gobbled up eastern Europe The critical players were Nicholas I of Russia, growing increasingly unstable, and the British prime minister, Palmerston But there were hosts of players on the diplomatic field in the years leading up to hostilities Turcophile Englishmen like Urquart and Canning, Emperor Napoleon of France who needed legitimization and was thinking strategically to future moves regarding Italian unification, pan Slavic activists in the Balkans, Polish exiles, etc etc Figes is meticulous in identifying the motives and communications among these groups.The war itself could probably have been avoided, but in Figes s view the role of the press in forming fervent pro war public opinion made this the first modern war in that sense The British public was bombarded with scare stories about the Russians, so that cooler heads in the cabinet were forced into a position they didn t want to be in On the other side, Nicholas and his successor Alexander were stubborn throughout It was also a modern war in the need for decision making power to filter down to smaller units, the use of steamships, and longer range rifles.The descriptions of the war itself are horrifying The British effort was criminally disorganized The soldiers lived in indescribable conditions, particularly during the winter The French did much better, and in fact carried on the bulk of the fighting they were primarily responsible for the victory, such as it was All sent stupefying numbers of men into sure death, storming enemy strong points But many, many died of disease.And then there were the filthy hospitals and the arrival of Florence Nightingale She was not the only one to save lives there is a nice portrait of a pioneering Russian surgeon, Nikolai Pirogov.But Figes finest achievement is showing how the war and the peace terms altered the geopolitics of the region In particular, there were mass relocations of ethnic groups based on religion that affected the Balkans especially France was in the ascendant again after its post Napoleonic second tier position, and Britain s reputation suffered Russia felt abused by the western powers, and took Sebastopol as the epitome of the absolute dedication of citizen to country, willing to die for Russia whether in 1812, 1857, or eventually in the siege of Leningrad.My reading notes The Charge of the Light Brigade was caused by garbled instructions, and personal dislike among the officers, but it actually helped turned the tide of the battle I had thought it was futile None of the combatants could justify the war with the real reason they were fighting they all needed cover stories Early on, Turkish soldiers arrived to help the allies, but the allies ordered them forward without provisions or rest, and what provisions they got were not halal, so they could not eat They carried out a reasonable retreat, were berated and treated terribly for the rest of the war How often both the Russians and the allies lost a chance to end the war by failing to pursue an enemy in retreat.Again, an extremely useful book I am not a historian so I have no way to judge how balanced a picture Figes paints, but in comparison to Paul Johnson s The Birth of the Modern, which I m also reading and which has a blatant conservative slant, this seems even This book is very well written an immense amount of material is just where it ought to be There are useful maps, and fascinating plates that reflect the first war with photographic evidence, war correspondents, and fairly rapid communication from front to capitols.


  6. says:

    It s Good Friday, April 10, 1846 Jerusalem is packed with pilgrims on an Easter weekend that happened to fall on the same date in both the Latin and Orthodox calendars The mood is tense The two religious communities had been arguing over who has the right to be first to carry out the rituals at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest places in Christendom, standing on the spot where Jesus is said to have been crucified.That Friday was to be anything but good The Catholics arrived only to find that the Greeks were there first A fight broke out, priest against priest, soon to be joined by monks and pilgrims from the respective camps People fought not just with fists but anything they could get a hold of crucifixes, candlesticks, chalices, lamps and incense burners Wood was torn from the sacred shrines and used as clubs Knives and pistols were smuggled into the church By the time the Mehemet Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Jerusalem, had restored order forty people lay dead.This dreadful incident, all in the name of a shared belief, marks the departure for Orlando Figes Crimea, the Last Crusade, the first full account of the Crimean War that I have read I know Figes well, one of the best specialists on Russian history in the English speaking world, the author of the superlative A People s Tragedy the Russian Revolution, 1891 1924 Although his history of the Crimean War lacks the range and power of the latter book, he has done a tremendous service, placing the conflict firmly within the context of the Eastern Question the issues arising from the continuing decline of the Ottoman Empire and European power politics as a whole.I m not completely convinced by his crusading hook , I have to say Yes the war did begin with a conflict over who had the best claim to protect the holy places within the Turkish empire, the Catholic French or the Orthodox Russians, and again, yes, Tsar Nicholas I was strong in his conviction that he was a defender of the true faith, a defender of the Orthodox faithful in all the Turkish lands But almost immediately, when the fighting started, the religious issue was obscured by general issues arising from European geopolitics Besides, a war which involved Turkish Muslims, British Protestants and French Catholics, on one side, against Orthodox Russians, on the other, does not look much like a crusade The Tsar may have begun with crusading thoughts, but before his death in March 1855 he was preoccupied by the decline in Russian power.Figes greatest service has been to rescue the conflict from fragmentation and partiality, the preserve, at best, of amateur military historians, interested in the clash of arms than the reason for the clash of arms The war may have been tragic and unnecessary but it still marks and important stage in the development of European politics and diplomacy It marks the end of the Concert of Europe, the arrangement between the powers to police the settlement of 1815 emerging from the Napoleonic Wars It marks the break in the informal alliance between Russia and Austria that helped preserved that settlement in aspic, allowing for the rise of new nations like Italy and Germany So, in all, it was so much than the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Thin Red Line and the Lady with the Lamp.So far as the conflict itself is concerned there was really no need, as the author shows, for the Crimean War ever to have been the Crimean War There was no need, in other words, for the landing on the Crimean peninsula, followed by the lengthy, and bloody, siege of the port of Sevastopol, for the simple reason that the Russians had suffered a serious tactical and strategic reverse in early 1854.They had previously occupied the semi autonomous Ottoman provinces of Moldavia and Walachia, now Romania, with a view to pushing south of the Danube in a march on Constantinople But unexpectedly tough resistance by the Turks at the fortress of Silistria prevented any further advance When this was coupled with the landings of the French and British at Varna, in what is now Bulgaria, and the threat of Austrian intervention, the Russians had no choice but to withdraw from the occupied provinces But the blood was up the war had to run its course, Russia had to be humbled Sevastopol had to fall.Crimea marks a vital stage in the development of warfare, combining elements of the old and the new, combining the Napoleonic Wars at one remove and the First World War at the other It was the last of the old wars, if you like, containing the seeds of the new Although it may come as a surprise, the campaign on the Crimea itself, and its eventual outcome, was far a French than a British affair The French contributed many troops It was their capture of the Malakhov redoubt in September 1855 that led to the fall of Sevastopol and the end of the war.Diplomatically their role was also decisive Palmerston, who succeeded the far less militant Aberdeen as prime minister in 1855, rather took on the role of Cato the Elder Cartago delenda est was his war cry His Carthage was Russia, which he intended to remove forever as a threat to the British Empire If he had had his way the Russian borders would have returned to those of 1709, before Peter the Great s victory over the Swedes at Poltava The press was behind his war drive, the people were behind him, even the Queen was behind him the French were not He did not have his way because Napoleon III had other visions Britain may have had the fleet, but the French had the army.This is a good story, an important story told with verve and style, told in a wholly compelling fashion with plenty of balance and nuance, placing the Crimean War in proper context The author is to be commended for his industry and his scholarship, for writing a first class account of an important passage in European history.


  7. says:

    To look into given the recent developmentsOrlando Figes is a


  8. says:

    In this history of the Crimean War by Orlando Figes, the fighting does not begin until about a third of the way into the book This is not a weakness, however, because understanding the events that led to the war is essential for making sense of what followed It was a complex mix of politics, economics, imperial ambitions, and religion in its most arrogant, intolerant forms Protestants, Roman Catholics, multiple minor Catholic sects, Russian Orthodox, and both moderate and fanatical Muslims were competing, often violently, for influence and control over the holy sites around Jerusalem Tsar Nicholas I, who was rapidly succumbing to hereditary mental instability, was convinced by his priests that he was god s chosen agent to expel the Muslims from Europe, conquer Constantinople and reconsecrate the Hagia Sophia as a church, and extend his empire all the way to Egypt.Georges Clemenceau famously said that, War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory This statement encapsulates the Crimean War perfectly It was badly planned, badly led, and badly supported It was the first of the modern wars, where the killing power of the weapons vastly outran the development of tactical doctrine, and none of the armies were prepared for the huge numbers of terribly wounded soldiers that resulted The Allies could not even agree on what they were fighting for or what intermediate objectives they should pursue Napoleon III wanted a quick victory to silence criticism at home the British government didn t want to fight at all but found themselves hounded into it by the baying of an irresponsible press and politicians concerned with their own advancement than the good of the country.Lord Raglan was chosen to lead the British army Sixty five years old, a veteran of Waterloo, where he lost an arm to French canon fire, he was entirely unequal to the task He was not the most incompetent general ever to command an army there is a lot of competition for that distinction , but he made terrible decisions which cost the British important advantages, and threw away lives by the thousands Any halfway competent general would have walked all over him Fortunately, he was fighting the Russians, who had their own crippling military weaknesses, including a commanding general who faked being wounded so that he could turn over command and flee the battlefield As always, the Russian soldiers were brave, hardy, and resourceful, but their training had consisted almost entirely of parade ground drill, and they were badly led at every level They were also initially equipped with muskets, with an effective range of 300 yards, against the the French and British Mini rifles, which were far accurate and lethal to 1200 yards The Ottoman Empire, correctly dubbed the sick man of Europe by the Tsar in the years before the war, was a collapsing state Fundamentalist factions opposed all forms of modernization, leaving it militarily, industrially, and technically far behind the European powers, and corruption was endemic at all levels The Russians had defeated them repeatedly in wars since the 16th century, conquering the Crimea and pushing them back on both sides of the Black Sea.It is worth noting that there were no good guys in these wars The Russians behaved like they behaved in Germany in the closing days of World War II, with massacres and mass expulsions everywhere they got the upper hand The Turks, for their part, were no better After putting down a revolt on the island of Chios, they hung 20,000 people and expelled 70,000 to slave markets, leaving the island almost depopulated.The British and the French were reluctant allies The Napoleonic wars were for them only as distant as the war in Vietnam is for us today, and there were many veterans still alive to keep the fires of distrust burning However, neither country was willing to allow the Russians to dominate the Middle East, so they entered into a complicated relationship where they spent as much time worrying that their ally was trying to use them to further its own political and economic interests as they did trying to win the war.The British had the stronger navy, but the French army was vastly superior in training, logistics, leadership, and professionalism France provided two thirds of the ground troops, the majority of whom had experience fighting in Algeria They also had a conscript based system, so most of their soldiers were peasants and thus adept at shooting, foraging, scouting, and building shelters Their officers lived among them, sharing their hardships and gaining their confidence When the French and British armies first put ashore the French arrived with an entire logistical support system hospitals, bakeries, repair facilities, veterinarians, and everything else needed to sustain an army in the field The British soldiers arrived with nothing but their packs and rifles.The British army at this time was at its nadir in terms of professionalism and competence It was just starting to make the transition from aristocratic pastime to a merit based organization, and was filled with officers who owed their rank and position to their influence at court Five of Lord Raglan s ADCs were nephews of his At the outbreak of war two thirds of the regular army was overseas on colonial duties, so there was a rush to recruit anyone who was willing to join up in return for a recruitment bounty The ranks were filled with debtors and the city underclasses and their performance showed it Although they were able to learn the simplified rifle drill of the day, they had no experience fending for themselves in the country and suffered greatly They arrived for the siege of Sevastopol with only their summer uniforms because how many times has this happened the Army was sure the fighting would be over before winter When the government did realize it needed to provide winter gear, the ships carrying winter coats and other essential cold weather equipment were lost in a freak storm as they sat offshore waiting to unload.British enlisted personnel suffered horribly during the winter, with thousands dying of exposure, frostbite, and disease Their situation was not helped by Raglan s decision to have them spend the winter on the exposed hilltops overlooking Sevastopol rather than keeping most of them in the sheltered valleys below Medical care for the sick and wounded was nightmarish, almost medieval in its primitive barbarity Lord Raglan did not want these troops cluttering up his rear area, so he sent them to hospitals in northern Anatolia aboard overloaded transports, many of them crammed onto open decks without so much as a blanket Mortality rates were what would be expected Even those who survived to reach the hospitals found them a horrific experience of overcrowded wards and too few competent medical personnel Florence Nightingale deserves all the praise she has received for bringing order to this chaos, often over the strenuous resistance of the official medical staffs, who could not abide the thought of a woman with authority.While the enlisted soldiers suffered, the officers did not Attending to the well being of their troops was not a priority for officers at this time that was a matter for the sergeants and the army support staff Officers lived apart from their units, often miles away The senior among them lived comfortably in requisitioned houses, and even junior officers could find the means to construct secure shelters with furniture, stone floors, and stoves Coal was never a problem The army brought in vast quantities of it and allocated a daily ration to all personnel, officer and enlisted For the enlisted, however, it meant a six or seven mile trek to the port, in freezing weather and up and down steep hills and ravines Few of them made the journey, so there was always plenty for the officers, who could send their servants to get as much as they wanted.In any case, many officers did not spend the cold months in Sevastopol anyway They could request to spend the winter in warmer, cosmopolitan places such as Constantinople, and only returned when spring had arrived Officers frequently had no idea what their troops were enduring, and expressed surprise when they read about it in newspaper stories from home This was a time when becoming an officer meant coming from a good family, knowing how to read, and being brave, dashing, and stupid.Eventually the tide of battle turned from stalemate to favor the Allies They started to get organized, brought in and artillery, and began relying heavily on private contractors to manage logistics, such as building a railroad from the British port to the front line sector They were successful in cutting off most of the Russian supply lines and their continual bombardments inflicted casualties the Russians could not sustain The key to the defense of Sevastopol was the powerful bastions that circled the city, and the key to the bastions was the critical and well fortified Malakov heights below which the entire city lay exposed The French took Malakov with a powerful artillery barrage followed by a massive infantry assault Casualties were horrendous, as the soldiers charged directly into massed cannon and musket fire, but eventually they were successful The British attacked and won a smaller bastion to the west of Malakov, but their success was only possible with the French victory.At that point Sevastopol became indefensible, and plans were made for evacuating the city The Russians were fortunate to have a brilliant engineer who built a long pontoon bridge that others said was impossible, and what remained of the city was demolished as the troops left Among the very last to go was Leo Tolstoy, in command of an artillery battery.Negotiations then began to find a way to end the war The French public was tired of the fighting, and Napoleon III had had his great victory with the capture of the city, so the sooner the war ended the better for France Britain wanted to continue fighting because they had sacrificed so many soldiers without ever achieving a clear victory Russia knew they needed to end the fighting but wanted what they considered honorable terms Eventually something was worked out Russia felt the treaty was a national humiliation, and immediately set about undermining it Within twenty years they had regained everything the treaty had taken away.If war is a series of catastrophes that end in victory, the catastrophes of the Crimean War did not stop with the peace treaty Russia began an even greater push to remove Muslims from around the Black Sea, murdering and expelling hundreds of thousands Meanwhile, armed Muslim bands too much of a rabble to be called soldiers attacked the Christian settlements in the Circassian region In addition to rape and pillage their goal was to kidnap children for sale in the slave markets of Constantinople.So, what was the cost For Britain 98,000 soldiers and sailors were sent to the Crimea, and 20,813 died, 80% of them from sickness or disease France sent 310,000 one in three did not return home Turkey had 120,000 casualties, almost half of the total troops involved Russia s losses can only be guessed the official count is 450,015 deaths, but estimates run as high as 600,000.The war started because of the Tsar s messianic pride it continued because once soldiers started dying the public demanded pageantry and victories It ended when the countries involved were losing public support and were willing to settle for whatever terms they could get Nothing was resolved, no one s honor was vindicated Politicians today still make foolish decisions and involve their countries in pointless wars Nothing gained in the fighting comes remotely close to making up for the bloodshed and loss of national treasure The Crimean War was not the first meaningless war, and it was not the last Such is the human condition.


  9. says:

    A complete book on the Crimean War that starts from far behind to reveal all its causes and continues to provide a wealth of information on every aspect of this conflict Interestingly, the author does this in a way that makes the book part of the serious historiography but also completely accessible to the general public It is certainly ideal for those who know little about this subject, with most of them coming from historical myths, they will learn much, and will leave these myths behind.


  10. says:

    I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in current conflict in Ukraine Crimea, who wants to understand historical, geopolitical and political roots of idiotic modern strife between Russia and the West and who at the same time is sick of media taking sides and in fact enkindling the conflict by that The book itself only covers that old XIX century war between Russia and Allies GB, France and Turkey of course, but it reflects current events so much it is even scary O Figes, being an English professor, manages to remain almost neutral, at least he finds where Allies and Russia and Turkey went wrong and which stupidity and inability to understand one another have lead to war at those times When Crimean War itself breaks out Figes is starting to struggle with keeping this neutrality, with Russian soldiers always being wild and cowardly, and Allied soldiers always being brave, but that s a forgivable setback In the end the books is a thriller, it is so vividly shown in it, how all this war shit builds itself from nothing I m liking it a lot haven t finished yet


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characters Crimea, audiobook Crimea, files book Crimea, today Crimea, Crimea ad172 From The Great Storyteller Of Modern Russian Historians, Financial Times The Definitive Account Of The Forgotten War That Shaped The Modern AgeThe Charge Of The Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale These Are The Enduring Icons Of The Crimean War Less Well Known Is That This Savage War Killed Almost A Million Soldiers And Countless Civilians That It Enmeshed Four Great Empires The British, French, Turkish, And Russian In A Battle Over Religion As Well As Territory That It Fixed The Fault Lines Between Russia And The West That It Set In Motion The Conflicts That Would Dominate The Century To ComeIn This Masterly History, Orlando Figes Reconstructs The First Full Conflagration Of Modernity, A Global Industrialized Struggle Fought With Unusual Ferocity And Incompetence Drawing On Untapped Russian And Ottoman As Well As European Sources, Figes Vividly Depicts The World At War, From The Palaces Of St Petersburg To The Holy Sites Of Jerusalem From The Young Tolstoy Reporting In Sevastopol To Tsar Nicolas, Haunted By Dreams Of Religious Salvation From The Ordinary Soldiers And Nurses On The Battlefields To The Women And Children In Towns Under SiegeOriginal, Magisterial, Alive With Voices Of The Time, The Crimean War Is A Historical Tour De Force Whose Depiction Of Ethnic Cleansing And The West S Relations With The Muslim World Resonates With Contemporary Overtones At Once A Rigorous, Original Study And A Sweeping, Panoramic Narrative, The Crimean War Is The Definitive Account Of The War That Mapped The Terrain For Today S World


About the Author: Orlando Figes

Orlando Figes is a British historian of Russia, and a professor of history at Birkbeck, University of London.