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Imperial Russia

The French encouraged Pasha Mehemet Ali of Egypt to make a move against the Sultan. Fearing that Mehemet Ali would succeed. The Russians dispatched a division and a flotilla to Constantinople. Mehement Ali backed down. Then the Russians demanded compensation. The result was a new treaty.

The Russians would protect the Straits. The British would limit their role to Egypt and Syria. The resulting tensions resulted in the Treaty of London in 1840. They agreed to maintain the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. The Treaty of London supplemented the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi.

The Straits Convention of 1841 supplemented the Treat of London. Closed the Straits to all but the Sultans naval forces during times of peace. This continued until World War I. Partially met Russian security needs. Excluded foreign warships. Also closed the Straits from Russian warships. Russia had to accept this.

Nicholas faced a choice between 1839-41. Nicholas had to either agree to the status quo. Or embark on a more belligerent position. Nicholas would accept the second option. Believing that the British could be bought off. The British believed that they had restrained Nicholas I.

Nicholas did not realize that the British wanted to save the Sultan. Between 1844-53, Nicholas considered that the British would remain benevolent and embark on a scheme to dissect the Ottoman Empire.

The Roman Catholic Clergy had claimed that the Orthodox Clergy had illegally gained the keys to the Holy Places. Especially the main door to the Church of the Nativity. Located in Bethlehem. And stole the Star of Bethlehem in the process. Napoleon II then pressed the Sultan to respect Roman Catholic Rights in the Holy Land.

In 1852, Napoleon II threatened to use force if the key was not returned. And the Sultan complied. The Sultans deference to the Napoleon II was seen as an insult to Nicholas I. Especially since Nicholas was viewed as the protector of the Sultans Orthodox subjects. If the Sultan agreed, then it would permit Russia to intervene in the domestic affairs of the Ottoman Empire.

The British Ambassador, Strafford Canning, had his own objectives. He secretly stiffened the Sultans resolve. Because the Sultan believed if war came, London was on his side. Nicholas I believed that the British would remain neutral. As a result, the Russians and Turks moved closer to war.

The British did not want the Ottoman Empire dismembered. Why? British exports increased seven fold between 1827 and 1852. The Ottoman Empire provided cover for India. As a result, Constantinople and the Straits had to be kept in Turkish hands. When the Russians moved into Persia and Afghanistan, the British saw this as a threat to the Jewel in the Crown.

Stratford like the Turks and advised them. He distrusted the Russians and worked constantly against their interests. Even Aberdeen and Clarendon was dissatisfied with him. And believed that he was working against his instructions. But Clarendon did nothing to recall him. Aberdeen even thought that Stratford would develop and alliance with Palmerston and stampede England into war.

Russian troops under Gen. Paskevich entered the Principalities in July 1853. The purpose was to force the Sultan to make concessions. European diplomacy swung into action. In order to avoid the first crisis since the Napoleonic wars. Russia neither wanted to fight nor could it back down. Who was the only person that wanted war?

In Oct. 1853, the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia. Britain tried to maintain the peace. By Nov. the Russians under Adm. Pavel Nakhimov destroyed the Turkish fleet at Sinope Bay. The Russians then occupied the Principalities again.

The Russian move convinced the British and French that there was a need for intervention. In March 1854, the Russians refused to evacuate. The British and French followed with a declaration of war.

Shocked with the British. As well as with the Austrians. And the Prussians. Both Austria and Prussia refused to be benevolently neutral. Neither wanted to take a stand for Nicholas. Paskevich withdrew. Followed by the Austrians moving into the region.

The Tsars foreign minister, Nesselrode, warned Nicholas not to press it. Since a threatening stance would or could align the European powers against Russia. In such a situation Russia could lose. Nicholas I pointed to the agreements reached in the Treaties of Kutchuk Kainardji (1774) and Adrianople (1829). Where Russia had the right to protect the Orthodox subjects of the Porte. Or at least that is the way Nicholas interpreted the treatys articles.

The British public disliked the way Russia ran roughshod over the Poles. The way Nicholas I served as the Gendarme of Europe. The manner that the Russians crushed the Hungarians in 1849.

The British and French had no luck either with the Swedes. The Allies even tempted Stockholm with promises of Finland. An area lost to Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. The Allies felt that they were not giving their publics the war that they desired. Now they had to find an area that they could attack.

Austria had considerable interests in Italy. She always had to look to the South, if and when she looked toward the Balkans. Likewise Austria could not permit Russian control of the Balkans and the Principalities since Austria depended on the Danube River. Even with the Munchengratz Agreement in 1833 Austria and Russia were antithetical.

In November 1853 the Turks moved a squadron into the Black Sea. The Russians responded by destroying the Turkish forces off Sinope by Admiral Nakhimov. After four hours of fighting the Turks lost eleven (out of twelve) warships and nearly 4,000 men. Nicholas was now sobered and hoped that a draft agreement could be reached. Once the Sultan agreed, then he would withdraw the Russian forces from the Principalities. And the British and French would withdraw their naval forces from the Straits.

In February 1854 Nicholas sent his proposals to the Powers in Vienna. They were rejected out of hand. Britain and France immediately declared war on Russia. France joined the fighting because the British did. However, this was Napoleon IIIs fondest wish.

After 1848 the British public took pride in their institutions. They had nothing but contempt for foreigners in general. Plus they had a moral duty to intervene in other nations affairs. Plus there was a sense that the British need to do something exciting. Even Lord Tennyson expressed those feelings.

They didnt move quickly against Sevastopol when they could have. They gave the Russians time to dig in and prepare their defenses. This was particularly true following the Battle of the Alma River. The Russian Army had seriously deteriorated during the waning days of Nicholas Is reign.

The war came because of inept diplomacy on all sides. The belligerents made moves that were totally inappropriate given the international situation. The newspapers played a role too, at least according to Thomas Carlyle. He felt that the ministers were too fearful to act.

The Allies declared war on Russia in March 1854. Yet the Allies did not close with the Russians until Sept. In the interregnum the Allies sought to have Austria enter the conflict. Austrian military officials opposed war because they feared the combined might of the Russian Army. Then the Russians helped the situation by evacuating the Principalities. The Prussians chose neutrality too. But the Allies lacked clear plans.

Poor logistics roads and railroads to the Crimea did not exist. Poor leadership most Russian field commanders were old and well passed their prime. Poor equipment the Russians did not have the new rifled muskets available to the British and French. Poor tactics The Russians attempted to use detailed and complicated maneuvers to overcome the Allies. Instead, the Allies laid siege to Sevastopol that lasted until June 1855.

The British attempted to take the Russians on at Balakava, where the Light Brigade made their infamous charge in October 1854. Then again at Inkerman in November 1854. After that the war waged on as a war of attrition. Soon, the media, especially by reports by W. H. Russell depicted the horrors of the conflict. The public lost their romantic views of war. Even when Sevastopol eventually fell, the Allies had no intention to fight for eve

The Allies decided that something had to be done to convince Nicholas I that he would have to fight a wider war. How was that to be done? Add additional allies. The first was adding Piedmont. Cavour had an ulterior motive to do this. What do you think was he reason for embarking on this course of action?

The Principalities were outside of Russian influence. Russia was denied the right to protect the rights of the Sultans Orthodox subjects. The Russians could not fortify the Aaland Islands in the Baltic. Kars was returned to the Ottomans. The Black Sea was neutralized. Warships could not enter the Dardanelles. Fortifications along the Black Sea was forbidden.

Redefined the rules of war at sea. Especially what was contraband. One concept was that free ships equal free goods. Neutral goods had to be respected. Denied the concept of paper blockades. Made it illegal to issue letters of marques to privateers. Blockades could only be used if properly enforced.

The Turks were now included into the Concert of Europe. The Turks did agree to respect the rights of all the Christian subjects in the Ottoman Empire.

The heroic efforts of the English nurse, Florence Nightingale, who organized field hospitals for soldiers stricken with cholera. An Tennysons Charge of the Light Brigade. An order that had the unit attack in the wrong direction against the Russian positions. No belligerent left the conflict the glory that was anticipated.