Edexcel AS level History - Crimean War


The Crimean War: October 1854 – February 1856


Were the suffering of the British Army a consequence of mismanagement?



-          Correspondents with the Baltic Fleet, including at least one admiral, others in towns and shores of the Baltic

-          Significant impact on public opinion in Britain

-          Double the circulation of it’s rivals in London

For the first time the media bought home to the educated classes the suffering and incompetence of warfare

Demonstrated strengths and weaknesses

Russell told of the drama of battles, operations, disease etc.

Other reporters had little to see and lacked the skills

-          Did not see the collapse of the Russian power in the east and Central Europe

Russell’s work achieved great prominence and distorted the image of war

Media served the war as a loss as apposed to a major defeat for Russia


-          Accepted the British terms for peace

-          Fought for the next 50 year to regain its superiority after the Red Army marched on Berlin in 1945

Emergence of a new breed of war correspondents

Played a large role in bringing the wars to the public

William Howard Russell

-          Only correspondent to stay with the army for the whole war

-          Worked for The Times

-          Reports often detailed and long (6000 words without censorship)

Due to the duty on newspapers they were a luxury item unaffordable to the working class

Improved more than any other war due to

-          Steam engines

-          Telegraph

Before the Crimea officers had relied on officers for reports

Thomas Chenery

-          Descriptions in the British camp and hospital in Scutari

Roger Fenton

-          The first was photographer

-          Made the war real for people at home

Concern for the welfare of the troops was the main theme of Russell’s articles but in time they came to focus on the ills of the army

Impact of reports on Scutari medical base

Russell’s dispatches had prepared the London public for stories of British mismanagement and incompetence

After the Battle of Alma (September 1854) the Times published a series of articles from Thomas Chenery showing

-          Terrible journey

-          Lack of trained nurses and facilities

-          Provoked a national outcry

Response in London

-          Sent Florence Nightingale and 85 nurses to assist in the running of the Army and Navy hospitals

-          Times set up a public fund to contribute

-          Knitwear such as: Balaklava Helmet, the Cardigan woolen jacket and Raglan Sleeve

Crimean winter

Middle classes appalled

Public opinion hardened and demanded a more decisive effort in the war

Identified Lord Palmeston as the man to achieve this

Two key governmental changes due to popular opinion

-          Palmeston replaced Aberdeen as PM

-          Capture of Sevastapol and improvements in the campaign became a political imperative

Lord Raglan became an increasing target for criticism

23rd December – The Times condemned


No comments have yet been made