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Russia and the Turkey: the Crimean War

The Crimean War was a war originally fought between the declining Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, but the Second French Empire and the British Empire joined on the side of the Ottomans, from October 1853 to February 1856. The war largely led to the Ottomans being on the side of the Central Powers in World War I, and is one of the causes of World War I. It should be noted that although Egypt was officially part of the Ottoman Empire, most troops did not come from Egypt.

Napoleon III had sent his ambassador to the Ottoman Empire with the intent to force the Ottomans to recognize France as the "sovereign authority" over the Christian population, which caused a split between France and Russia.


Russia sent troops into Ottoman Danubian Provinces, and the Ottomans officially declared war on October 23, 1853.


The Allies wanted peace before the war actually started, and sent these 4 demands to Russia.

  • Russia was to give up its protectorate over the Danubian Principalities;
  • It was to abandon any claim granting it the right to interfere in Ottoman affairs on behalf of Orthodox Christians;
  • The Straits Convention of 1841 was to be revised;
  • All nations were to be granted access to the River Danube.
When the Tsar refused to comply with these Four Points, the Crimean War commenced.
The Turkish/Ottoman move up the Danube River was of concern to the Austrians, who moved forces into Transylvania in response. However, the Austrians had begun to fear the Russians more than the Turks. Indeed, like the British, the Austrians were now coming to see that an intact Ottoman Empire was necessary as a bulwark against the Russians. However, the Austrians remained neutral for the war, as did the Prussians.
Great Britain sent troops to the Black Sea, and France joined the war in an attempt to become allies with Great Britain.
Russia sent troops below the Danube River into Ottoman Bulgaria, counting on the Bulgarians the rebel against the Ottomans - however, none did so. Allied forces arrived at Sevastopol, and began sieging it. 
Peace negotiations began in 1856 under Nicholas I's son and successor, Alexander II, through the Congress of Paris which resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Paris on March 30, 1856. In the Paris Treaty, the Tsar and the Sultan agreed not to establish any naval or military arsenal on the Black Sea coast. The Black Sea clauses came at a tremendous disadvantage to Russia, for it greatly diminished the naval threat it posed to the Ottomans. Russian protectorates of Moldavia and Wallachia acquired in the previous war were returned to the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, all of the Great Powers pledged to respect the independence and territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
The Treaty of Paris stood until 1871, when France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War. Prussia and several other German states united to form a powerful German Empire during the German Reunification. France abandoned its opposition to Russia after the establishment of the republic. Russia renounced the Black Sea clauses of the treaty agreed to in 1856. As Great Britain alone could not enforce the clauses, Russia established a fleet in the Black Sea.
Having abandoned its alliance with Russia, Austria was diplomatically isolated following the war, which contributed to its defeat in the Austro-Prussian of 1866 War and its loss of influence in most German-speaking lands. The foundations were in place for creating the diplomatic alliances that would lead to World War 1.

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