The Crimean War

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The Crimean war (1854-1856) demonstrates fundamental changes in the nature of warfare. * Identify the ways in which wars were changing with examples (tactical implications of the changes) * Explain root causes of these changes

The Crimean war demonstrated the fundamental changes in the nature of warfare. This essay will examine the changes in the nature of warfare. Looking at what caused these changes and how they differed from times before. The Crimean war represents the first major political war. Beforehand war had been about the glory of a nation not political gain.

The Crimean war marked a transition in the way war was fought. It is arguably the beginning of modern warfare. The Napoleonic era had preceded the Crimean war. Napoleon changed the meaning and tactics of warfare, of pre 1792. Men did not take up arms for a King, but for a nation, to defend ones nation from the horrors of being occupied, this can be seen in the French revolution. Napoleon created the concept of a large-scale war, with his ‘Grande Armee,’ to defeat the enemy, a concept adopted by the king’s armies of Europe at the end of this period. However, the armies fighting in the Crimea did not adopt this. This therefore demonstrates a fundamental change in the nature of warfare. No longer did we see the use of large armies, but small professional armies, such as the British expeditionary force. Armies were no longer large rabbles of largely untrained conscripted men, rather professional well-trained men.

Napoleons tactics such as ‘marching dispersed,’ proved effective and therefore was copied by the king’s armies. This was an effective tactic on large battlefields, however the small mountainous terrain of the Crimea, meant that warfare was more static. Pre-1854 men would fight on large expanses of land in formation; we would not have seen a dug in defensive position. But the Crimean war introduce the world to trench warfare. This is seen in WW1 and again illustrates a...
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