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The Crimean War (1853-1856

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Leading up the year 1853, Russia was often called the “backwards man” of Europe.
Russia was behind in modernization, industrialization, technology, science, medicine,
and in warfare compared to Western European countries like Britain, France, and
Germany. Russia also had very unfavorable (negative) geographic conditions. To start,
Russia was very large, and thus, a
large supply of food was needed to
feed the population. However, due to
cold, snowy winters, food was scare
(rare / limited) at times. Russia could
not import (bring in) any food or
items as well, since all ports and
harbors would be frozen in the winter.
Thus, ships could not enter the ports,
due to the snow and ice, and bring
goods to Russia. Russia also lacked
many natural resources needed for
modernization and industrialization.
In order to try to gain food, resources
and other goods for it’s country,
Russia wanted to obtain a warmwater port. A warm-water port is a
port that would never freeze. This
would allow Russia to bring in goods
any time of the year. But where would
they find that warm-water port?
Russia turned to the declining (falling
apart) Ottoman Empire for that port.
The Russians attacked the “Sick
Man” Ottoman Empire due to the
empire quickly crumbling, and
becoming weak. In 1853, Russia
attacked the Ottomans from the north
in hopes of getting a warm-water
port on the Black Sea. Meanwhile,
Western European countries like
Britain and France were also raging
(fighting) war on the Ottomans. When
the Russians attacked the Ottomans,
Britain and France felt Russia’s attack
was aggressiveness towards them.
Thus, on March 27, 1854, Britain and
France made a deal with the

Ottomans and joined the Ottomans in their fight against the Russians. The British and
French considered the Russians to be “different”, and thus outcasts (rejects) of Europe.
They feared Russia from becoming powerful, and would rather have a weak Ottoman
Empire instead of a strong Russia. With Britain’s modernized and strong navy, they
quickly destroyed and sunk any Russian navy ships on the Black Sea. Meanwhile, British
and French soldiers, who had betters up-to-date weapons, armor, and technology quickly
shot back Russian forces, who fought with weapons that were over 50 years old now, on
land. In 1855, Italy and Austria joined Britain and France in fighting the Russians. Both
countries, like Britain and France, did not want a strong Russia. By February 1856, the
united European countries forced the Russians out of the Ottoman Empire, and the
Russians were forced to surrender.
The Crimean War was embarrassing and devastating (terrible) for the Russians. First,
the Russians failed at obtaining a warm-water port. Second, an entire united Western
Europe supported the “Sick Man of
Europe” Ottoman Empire over the
Russians. Lastly, the war, which ended
in Russian defeat, showed the new
Russian czar (king) the
“backwardness” of Russia. It was
severely behind in technology,
industrialization, science, weapons,
railroads, and education. It also showed
the need to free the serfs. The Russian
army was filled with serfs. Serfs were
uneducated, unhealthy, not fed well,
and had no experience in warfare. If Russia was to compete with Western Europe,
changes needed to occur quickly!
Questions and Reflections On The Crimean War (1853-1856)
Part 1: Complete TWO of the following questions in a response of at least EIGHT
SENTENCES. Be sure to provide examples, evidence, details, explanations, and
analysis in your answers. Everyone must do Question #3. If done early, see part 2 for
extra credit.
1) What problems did Russia have? How did Russia attempt to solve those problems?
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2) What was the Crimean War? What were the causes and results? Why was Russia
unsuccessful in the war?
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3) Some people say the Crimean War was a “wake up call” and “turning point” in
Russian history. Do you agree? Why or why not? Provide examples, evidence, and back
up your arguments and reasons.
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Extra Credit – If you were the Russian czar, how would you use the results of the
Crimean War to make changes in your country? What would you change? Why? How
would you change things?
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Extra Credit Part 2: True or False. Put a T if the statement is true. Put an F if the
statement is false. If it is false, change a word to make it true.
1)________Western European countries were less modernized and industrialized then
Russia
2) ________Russia could not industrialize because it did not have any natural resources
3) ________Russia has very warm winters
4) ________Russia’s main goal of the Crimean War was to obtain new lands to create an
empire
5) ________In the Crimean War, Russia attacked the Ottomans
6) ________Britain and France came into the war on the side of the Ottomans
7) ________Russia’s strength was it had a stronger navy then Britain

8) ________The Crimean War ended with the Russians obtaining a warm-water port
9) ________ The Crimean War made the Russian czar realize Russia’s “backwardness”