The Crimean War took place between 1853 - 1856.
The war began when Russia occupied territory previously controlled by Turkey on the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea. Britain and France were concerned about Russian expansionist policies and sent their armies to remove the Russians. At the height, about 1 million British, French and allies were facing 700,000 Russian and allies.
Following several battles and much stalemate as well as considerable losses due to poor planning and inadequate sanitary facilities, the war ended in 1856 when Russia withdrew and signed a peace treaty.
Italian involvement in the war was instigated by King Victor Emmanuel who convinced an initially reluctant Cavour who was prime minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia which was central to the unification movement. Cavour went to war for a number of reasons.
- He hoped to win friends amongst the major European powers, namely Britain and France, so that when the time came, they would support him in the unification of Italy.
- He hoped that the issue of Italian unification - while it could not be discussed directly - could at least be raised and publicised at the Congress of Paris which took place following the war. As it happened it was ignored.
- During the time leading up to the war Russia took a conservative stance on Europe in general and opposed changes made to frontiers and governments within it; they would likely be oppose to Italian unification and Cavour felt that if Russia were weakened their opposition would carry less weight.
- Finally there was the situation with Austria who, at the time, controlled several regions in Italy. Austria and Russia were both neighbours and allies so by weakening Russia this would also weaken Austria, leaving it more isolated. This objective was achieved and Austria did indeed become more isolated within Europe.
Shortly after the war, Cavour met with the French and agreed secretly that if the French helped him remove the Austrians from eastern Italy, France would receive Nice and Savoy in return.
Cavour sent some 15,000 soldiers under General Alfonso La Marmora to fight alongside British and French forces. The force arrived in 1855 and within a few weeks 5% had died of cholera, including La Marmora.
Militarily they fought well and impressed the allies with the power of what a small, well trained force could do.
|Whos here now: Members 0 Guests 1 Bots & Crawlers 0|