Recommended Reading – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Crimean War (But Never Thought to Ask)

Soldiers of the 68th Durham Regiment as depicted by 19th Century war photographer, Roger Fenton. The unfolding crisis in the Black Sea has spawned renewed interest in the Crimean War.

Soldiers of the 68th Durham Regiment as depicted by 19th Century war photographer, Roger Fenton. The unfolding crisis in the Black Sea has spawned renewed interest in the Crimean War.

“We interrupt our ongoing wall-to-wall coverage of the 100th anniversary of the First World War to bring you this backgrounder on the Crimean War…”

With Russian boots on the ground in the Crimea, media outlets worldwide have put their Great War retrospectives on hold (at least temporarily) and are now rushing to serve up a quick refresher course on the semi-autonomous Black Sea region’s long and troubled history. As expected, the recent surge in stories includes a heavy emphasis on the 1853 to 1856 Crimean War, a conflict that pitted a coalition of  Ottoman Turks, French, British and even Sardinians against the vast forces of Imperial Russia. MHN has been monitoring the coverage of late and has picked out some of the more worthwhile items for your consideration. Check these stories out:

Late last week, Canada’s Toronto Star published this concise summary of the conflict entitled “The Original Crimean War – What You Need to Know” – a great place to start if your knowledge of the period is limited.

National Public Radio blogger Steve Drummond offers us this fascinating summary about the legacy of conflict in his entry: “From Weapons to Fashion – Crimea’s Indelible Mark on History“. In it, the author explores how the three-year fight introduced us to everything from war photography and press censorship to the telegraph and the balaclava (which seems to be again in vogue among Russia’s occupying army, judging by the images coming out of the region this past week). A fantastic read.

Meanwhile the English-language Arab news site Al Arabiya published this piece reminding westerners that in addition to the 400,000 French troops and a quarter million British soldiers sent into battle in the Black Sea in 1854, more than 300,000 Muslim troops took part in the conflict as well – a fact that the author complains is often overlooked outside the Middle East. A new perspective perhaps?

The current crisis also led to this intriguing item about the how the current Russian occupiers (or perhaps some pro-Putin locals with a lot of time on their hands) have bottled up a Ukrainian port by scuttling a derelict Soviet-era cruiser at the mouth of the harbour. The article, which was published by the U.S. magazine Popular Mechanics, tracks how this very same tactic has been used in a number of other conflicts, including the Crimean War, to deny ships to the enemy as well as to close ports – another compelling read.

And while we’re on the subject of the Crimean War, below is a documentary on the conflict produced some years ago by the British network UKTV.

Did we miss any? Drop us a comment below and let us know.

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