impact of the Crimean War

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  • Created by: Ellie
  • Created on: 31-03-14 18:48

significance of newspaper reporting

Roger Fenton - photographer

  • was instructed not to record the horrors of war, also the technology did not allow him to record moving scenes such as battles
  • he took 400 usable photographs, many of which were displayed in London then taken on tour throughout Britain

William Russell - journalist

  • sent to the Crimea by The Times
  • was the 1st professional journalist to cover a war
  • went without permission of army or gov
  • his reports exposed appalling conditions and administrative incompetence 
  • shocked Victorian England and did much to swing public opinion against the war and in favour of reform
  • however, he was violently anti-Turk and anti-French and cannot have witnessed all of the events he describes, also the identity of his informants is unkown so reliability of their accounts cannot be verified
  • he was not in the Crimea for most of the appalling winter as he stayed in luxury accomodation

Impact of reporters: 1) pressure to reform the officer class and organisation of army (reforms were made after the Crimean War) 2) political crisis that demonstrated power of public opinion and press - Prime Minister, Lord Aberdeen, resigned and was replaced by Lord Palmerston, 3) public concerned with conditions experienced by soldiers

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charge of the light brigade

  • Lord Raglan ordered Lord Lucan to stop Russians from removing captured cannon from the Causeway Heights that overlooked two valleys close to Balavlava.
  • Confusion amongst commanders, due to the written order by Captain Nolan, led to Lucan sending the Light Brigade up the wrong valley.
  • The total number of men killed, wounded and missing = 409
  • Lord Tennyson's 'Charge of the Light Brigade' glorifies the battle, calls for the deaths to be seen as noble sacrifices, to see the soldiers as heroes. However it does highlight human error through 'someone had blundered'. The courage of troops is also glorified in the poem; he uses emotive language to evoke and involve the readers and try to make them share his views. - PICTURE OF BLUNDER REDEEMED BY THE BRAVERY AND HEROISM OF SOLDIERS
  • Raglan wrote to Queen Victoria, in response to her concern for the welfare of the troops: 'eddeavouring to provide for the various wants of your Majesties troops' 'not in his power to lighten the burden of their duties'
  • William Russell sent a detailed account of the Charge of the Light Brigade, which was published in the Times on 14th November 1984. In this he referred to the charge as an 'exhibition of valour, courage, daring chivalry and yet a disaster'. He also describes the men as 'herioc...glitering...swept proudly'; the language used in this report glorifies the men and their actions. However, as Russell wanted to embarrass Raglan's incompetence during the Charge his emphasis on the mens' selfless action may be over exaggerated. - CREATED IMPRESSION OF MONUMENTAL ERROR BY ARMY LEADERSHIP AND A TRAGIC WASTE OF LIFE
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Florence Nightingale

  • William Howard Russell was areporter for The Times. He wrote that he had seen soldiers dying of hunger and cold. Many were sick. There was no proper medical care.
  • Florence Nightingale: After seeing the poor conditions in the Crimea: set up training for nurses to go out to the Crimea. Went out to the Crimea with team of nurses to a hospital in Scutari. Seen as 'angel of mercy' by British Public, privided comfort and care for sick + dying
  • 'Lady with the Lamp' myth created. - At night Florence walked around thewards, to make sure the men were comfortable. She sat with dying soldiers. She wrote letters home for men who could not write. She carried a lantern, so the soldiers called her 'The Lady with the Lamp'.
  • Florence Nightingale made hospitals cleaner places. She showed that trained nurses and clean hospitals helped sick people get better. She was the founder of modern nursing.
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Mary Seacole

  • Mary Seacole went to the Crimean War, to help British soldiers. She nursed sick and wounded soldiers. When battles were raging, she gave everyone food, blankets, clean clothes and kindness. The soldiers called her 'Mother Seacole'.
  • Mary was turned away when she offered to go with a second group of nurses to the Crimea
  • she did not give up and set off for the Crimea by ship, she met Nightingale in Turkey at the army hospital then carried on to the Crimea
  • Mary Seacole and Thomas Day opened the British Hotel. It was a hut made of metal sheets. It was close to Balaclava, where a battle was fought in October 1854
  • The hotel served hot food and drinks. Mary's store sold warm clothes, blankets, boots and saddles for horses. She bought vegetables from the local market. She nursed sick and wounded men in their huts and on the battlefield.
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effect on reputations: Raglan

Lord Raglan: the leader of the British Army

Evidence they were to blame:

  • initally only sent a verbal message
  • gave vague orders (e.g. didn't specify where the Light Brigade should advance to, which guns they needed to reclaim etc.)

Evidence they weren't to blame:

  • Argued that Lucan/Cardgian should have used their initiative
  • the order was made even more unclear by Nolan's delivery of it

Impact upon their reputation

  • received great criticisms for his actions
  • was regarded as an incompetent leader
  • tried to place the blame on Lucan
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effect on reputations: Cardigan

Lord Cardigan: Led the Light Brigade

Evidence they were to blame:

  • blindly accepted the order without questioning it
  • didn't care about his men
  • cared more that Nolan had tried to ride in front of him

Evidence they weren't to blame:

  • would have been punished for questioning Raglan's order - had no choice but to blindly accept
  • double chekced the other with Lucan (even if he didn't verify it with Raglan)

Impact on their reputation:

  • Left the Crimea of his own accord
  • Was welcomed home as a hero, considered brave for obeying orders and charging out ahead of his troops
  • later accused of deserting the Brigade at crucial moment of battle and incompetence of distributing provisions in Balaclava
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effect on reputations: Nolan

Captain Nolan: Staff Officer chosen to deliver Raglan's orders

Evidence they were to blame:

  • was conceited and openly critical of Lucan and Cardigan (so not the ideal messenger)
  • assumed he knew which cannons Raglan reffered to - gave own interpretation of the command to Cardigan
  • gestured vaguely which direction they should advance in

Evidence they weren't to blame:

  • the order itself was vague so he couldn't have given a specific direction for the Light Brigade to advance in even if he'd wanted to
  • did try to stop the Light Brigade once he realised they were charging towards the wrong guns

Impact on their reputation:

  • Nolan was killed by shrapnel when trying to warn Cardigan that they were advancing towards the wrong guns
  • polarised public opinions - some blamed him whereas others defended him and his actions
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disorganisation and inefficiency of army

  • The Crimean War had revealed various flaws within the army, such as:

    • many of the British Officers were old fashionedincompetent and were given their rank because of their wealth/status rather than actual ability 
    • officers attained job through purchase of commission rather than promotion or merit
    • other Officers had never even been in active service before
    • the structure of the British military was extremely complicated and inefficient - e.g. 11 different departments in charge of supply and welfare
    • out datedineffective tactics/equipment used (winter 1854-55 and charge of LB)
    • the army was constantly short of men and recruitment was difficult
    • men often had to serve for long periods overseas
    • the soldiers were neglected and brutally punished by the high ranking officers
    • inadequate medical supplies
    • poor sheltering - camped in tents during Great Storm and cold winter 1854-55
    • ships Resolute and Prince sank carrying ammunition, winter clothing and hay for horses
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Cardwell's army reforms 1870-71

Edward Carwell was a Secretary of State for War between 1868 and 1874, he introduced a series of reforms to improve the British army, known as 'The Cardwell Reforms'. These reforms were supported by William Gladstone who was the Liberal Prime Minister at the time.

  • The War Office Act 1870 - several departments merged, all moved into one central building and combined under the responsibility of one department- the War Office - made it easier for departments to cooperate, the roles of Secretary for War and Commander in Chief were merged to avoid conflict
  • The Army Enlistment Act 1870 - limited length of service to 6 year active then 6 years reserve (used to be 21 years), also gave an option to enlist for another 12 years, many did as 12 years seemed much less than 21 so was more desirable
  • Flogging 1871 - banning flogging was against the wishes of many senior officers who considered harsh punishment to be necessary, however it was flogging and 21 year englistment that was putting men off of joining - aim to attract more recruits and improve lifestyle of soldiers
  • The Sales of Commissions 1871 - abolished, made army more meritocratic (deserved ranks they got), aim to improve standard of leadership and get rid of social heirarchy, this would unite the army and help it function more adequately
  • the reorganisation of battalions - 69 different districts, each with 2 battalions - 1 for overseas and 1 at home, this was to evenly distribute recruitment throughout Britain 
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war overview

Date: 1853 - 1856

fought between: Russian Empire vs. Britain, France and Ottoman Empire

Britain and France got involved in 1854 when the Russians sunk the Ottomand fleet in the Black Sea at Sinope.


  • religious disputes - Russians and Ottomans in dispute about control of the Church and the position of Orthadox Christians within the Ottoman Empire
  • territory and control - Ottoman Empire weakening, Russian Tsar referred to it as 'sick man of Europe', also Russia wanted to expand empire whereas Britain and Franc didn't want the Russians becoming too powerful
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The Thin Red Line

  • In Battle of Balaclava - Russian soldiers advanced on the British Line
  • British organised in formation of two rows - 93rd Highlanders stopped Russians by firing musket shots
  • William Howard Russell depicted soldiers as 'thin red streak'
  • soldiers have been remembered as a symbol of determination and heroism 

Commanders of the British Army in the Crimea:

- Lord Raglan - Commander-in-Chief of the British Army during Crimean War - died in the Crimea 1855

- Lord Lucan - commander of the Cavalry Division which included Heavy Brigade and Light Brigade

- Lord Cardigan - commander of the Light Brigade

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medical provision during Crimean War

  • major British hospitals based in Scutari - could treat approx 6000 men
  • only 4 medical assistants per 100 soldiers - inadequate
  • 18,058 British deaths of which only 1761 killed by enemy action - most killed by disease
  • poor sanitation and hygeine led to problems with typhus, typhoid, dysentery and cholera
  • anaesthesia infrequently used and no treatment available for septicemia

Sanitary Commission:

  • as death toll remained high in hospitals (52% of those admitted to Scutari in Feb 1855 died) Lord Paldmore ordered a Sanitary Commission to inspect and improve hospitals
  • they arrived March 1855
  • they identified ventilation and sanitation problems
  • recognising what Nightingale had not about ventilation, they ordered structural works to rectify this
  • death toll was as low as 5.2% by May 1855
  • also worked on improving sanitary conditions at the British base at Balaclava
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