I partly agree with the statement saying that the Crimean War was the most senseless war in the 19th century. Looking only on immediate results we can say that was quite senseless and it was only good for few countries like Prussia, France or Ottoman Empire. However, the further effects of the Crimean War had great impact on major historical events that changed the world.At the beginning it is important to consider the immediate results of the War. Firstly, I present the casualties of the Crimean War.
The Crimean war involved far heavier casualties than any other European war fought between 1815 – 1914. Between 650,000 and 750,000 are thought to have died. Britain lost 22,000, France 90,000, Russia (at least) 45,000 and Turkey 150,000. Only one in five lost their lives in battle; most died of diseases. War was ill-prepared. The conditions were disastrous – lack of medical supplies, chaos in hospitals and bad sanitary conditions.
All of these reasons resulted in the great lost in people. This lost was unnecessary.Initially allies had achieved most of their objectives: Russia was considerably weakened, her Balkan ambitions checked and her navy kept out of the Mediterranean. Moreover, the Turkish Empire had survived and the Eastern Question was put on hold for two decades.
However, after 1856 Russia’s main diplomatic aim in Europe was to remove the humiliation restrictions imposed on her naval power in the Black Sea and this was achieve in 1870-1871. While pursuing a cautious policy in Europe, Russia followed an expansionist policy in Asia where it was possible to win prestige, as well as land, markets and sources of raw materials without the major war. Between 1857 and 1864 Russian forces pacified the Caucasus and then won control over larger area of central Asia.
Russia was getting stronger and increasing her position on the international scene. In fact the war didn’t prevent her form expansion. In period 1856-63 Russia aligned herself first with France and then from 1863-70 with Prussia, both of whom were pursuing anti-Austrian policies. Russia regarded Austria as a “betrayal”.The war was a real disastrous for Austria.
Unable to relay on Russian help, Austria could not prevent unification of Italy and Germany, both of which were disastrous from an Austrian perspective.Great Britain also didn’t gain a lot. Britain’s military reputation had been damaged. The sacrifices of men and money had achieved little. Britain stood aside from playing a major role in continental diplomacy for a generation after 1856. France only gained quite a lot after war.
She played larger military role than Britain and the Paris became the center of Europe. Prussia emerged with little glory from the war and suffered the humiliation of being excluded form most of the sessions of the Congress of Paris. However, her passive role during the war meant that, unlike Austria, she had avoided alienating Russia.
As it turned out, the war created favorable conditions for Prussian expansion in the 1860s.The next are further results of the war. It had impact on destroying balance of Europe and influence on First World War. Austria-Hungary emerged from the war diplomatically isolated. This was of vital importance over the next 50 years or so because it determined the course of European history and was partly responsible for the First World War. Austrian neutrality upset Russia, Britain and France because they all anticipated Austrian help. Her isolation subsequently led to Italian and German Unification because no-one would aid Austria-Hungary in her time of need. These two new nations upset the balance of power in Europe.
As we can see, the Crimean War was senseless, because leaded to many cruel events. However we have to ask one question: What would happen if it didn’t occur? Germany and Italy wouldn’t be unified, Russia could gain whole Ottoman Empire and also her further territorial gains in central Asia and would be twice stronger. She could even gain some territories in Europe. The whole Europe could be different.
The history could turn 360ï¿½ round. No one knows what would happen. We can only speculate.