John Bright - Simon Schama TV - Jeremy Paxman TV - Empires: Queen Victoria’s Empire TV - Brison D Gooch - John Skelton Curtiss - David M Goldfrank - J P T Bury - A J P Taylor - Shepard Clough - Simon Reeve TV - KGB: The Sword & The Shield TV - Secret Wars Uncovered: Crimea TV - The World According to Putin TV - Putin vs The West TV - John Pilger TV -
The angel of death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings. John Bright, re Crimean war
Mary Seacole was West-Indian ... When Britain joined the Crimean War in 1854 she tried to volunteer her services at the front ... She was turned down by the likes of Nurse Nightingale ... Mary Seacole built her British hotel right on the front line ... Mortars would whizz past the big old woman trundling the front lines. After the war was over the soldiers feted her at a charity gala. She had become briefly an eminent Victorian. Simon Schama, A History of Britain: Forces of Nature, BBC 2000
Just six hundred men charged into the valley against five thousand Russian soldiers and their artillery. Jeremy Paxman, The Victorians: Having It All, BBC 2009
Crimea: It had been forty years since the British army had fought a major war. It was ill prepared and worse led. Empires: Queen Victoria’s Empire II: Passage to India, PBS 2001
Examination of the circumstances which created the Crimean War has proven to be one of modern historiography’s thorniest problems. Brison D Gooch
The Tsar had set his face against change and wanted to use his influence over the Christians of Turkey to keep them from rebellion. He wished, certainly, to obtain a more bearable existence for them, but chiefly in order, as he repeatedly said, to remove the incentive for rebellion against the Ottoman rulers. John Skelton Curtiss, Russia’s Crimean War
Most of Europe’s top statesmen and diplomats were fearful, anxious and frustrated. They considered the Holy Places to have been a stupid pretext for an international crisis, but blamed Nicholas for escalating it and the Turks for not ceding. Both sides seemed incomprehensible, since Russia was becoming more and more isolated, but the Turks could not possibly win a war. David M Goldfrank, The Origins of the Crimean War
The Emperor liked to employ unofficial agents and bypass the regular channels of the Foreign Ministry ... he preferred methods that were clandestine, secret conciliabule and interviews at which he was the sole French negotiator. Thus, in the realm of foreign policy still more than any other department of state, his ministers were often ... ‘not counselors, but mere executors of designs of which they only see fragments’. Foreign policy thus was his peculiar prerogative, the Emperor’s secret, just as it has been sometimes in the eighteenth century the ‘secret of the King’. J P T Bury, Napoleon III and the Second Empire
In some sense the Crimean war was predestined and had deep-seated causes. Neither Nicholas [of Russia] nor Napoleon [III of France] nor the British government could retreat in the conflict for prestige once it was launched. Nicholas needed a subservient Turkey for the sake of Russian security; Napoleon needed success for the sake of his domestic position; the British government needed an independent Turkey for the security of the Eastern Mediterranean ... Mutual fear, not mutual aggression, caused the Crimean war. A J P Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe
The Crimean war was fought for the sake of Europe rather than for the Eastern question; it was fought against Russia, not in favour of Turkey ... The British fought Russia out of resentment and supposed that her defeat would strengthen the European Balance of Power. A J P Taylor
The war ... was not the result of a calculated plan, nor even of hasty last-minute decisions made under stress. It was the consequence of more than two years of fatal blundering in slow-motion by inept statesmen who had months to reflect upon the actions they took. It arose from Napoleon’s search for prestige; Nicholas’ quest for control over the Straits; his naive miscalculation of the probable reactions of the European powers; the failure of those powers to make their positions clear; and the pressure of public opinion in Britain and Constantinople at crucial moments. Shepard Clough, A History of the Western World
One of the most bitterly contested regions on the planet – I’m on my way to Crimea … Crimea is home to nearly two million people. Russia with Simon Reeve III, BBC 2017
Putin has had to pledge vast sums to develop Crimea. ibid.
One year after the annexation of Crimea, a protest march was organised in Moscow by opposition leader Boris Nemsov. On the even of the march, Nemtsov was murdered within sight of the Kremlin. He was shot four times in the head, heart, liver and stomach. All the CCTV cameras in the area were switched off for maintenance. KGB: The Sword & The Shield III, BBC 2019
17th July 2014: Just after midday Flight MH17 takes off from Amsterdam bound for Kuala Lumpur. On board, the 298 passengers and crew … Three hours later MH17 is blown out of the sky over the Russian/Ukraine border. There are no survivors … Suspicion immediately falls on Ukraine’s nearest neighbour – Russia. Secret Wars Uncovered s1e1: Coup in Crimea, Sky History 2020
‘The annexation of Crimea was partly opportunistic and partly reactive. It was a response to what they saw as an aggressive extensive of western Europe.’ ibid. Anthony Brenton, British ambassador to Russia 2000-2008
Putin’s clandestine armies are sowing destruction, confusion and chaos across the region. ibid.
Crimea sits proudly at the top of the Black Sea. Crimea first became part of the Russian empire in the late eighteenth century. Catherine the Great, keen to expand her country’s influence in the east, sent her armies to occupy the region in 1768. But less than a century later, Russia was routed by Turkey and its western allies in a humiliating defeat in the Crimean war. ibid.
In 1954 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted Crimea back to Ukraine as part his programme of de-Stalinisation. ibid.
It holds more warheads than United Kingdom, China and France combined, making it the third largest nuclear power on Earth. ibid.
Ukraine will hand over this nuclear arsenal to be destroyed; in return, Russia will agree to respect the political integrity and independence of the whole of Ukraine, including Crimea. ibid.
Putin orders Russian special forces into Crimea and begins an audacious military coup. And it’s done and dusted before the West can do anything about it. ibid.
Russian forces go on to wage a military campaign in eastern Ukraine. ibid.
These peaceful demonstrations continue. They become known as the Orange Revolution. The Ukrainian Supreme Court declares the result [election] invalid, and orders a new election. On 23 January 2005 to the dismay of Vladimir Putin, [Viktor] Yushchenko finally wins the presidency of Ukraine. ibid.
In 2010, he [Putin] finally installs his puppet – Viktor Yanukovych. ibid.
As membership spreads eastwards, Nato troops and equipment are building up uncomfortably close to Russia’s border. ibid.
There is a secret army made up of mercenaries, volunteers and irregulars. ibid.
Crimea brought relations with the West to a new low. The World According to Putin, Channel 4 2019
‘Now he’s expressing a very very deep frustration and resentment against the West, and not only against the West, against the past, against history.’ Putin vs The West, Jose Manuel Barroso, BBC 2023
Vladimir Putin has rocked the foundations of European security. This is the story of Putin’s path to war; how and why he wrongfooted the West through a decade of clashes. ibid.
Armed forces were appearing across the [Crimean] peninsula. These little green men, as they came to be called, wore unmarked uniforms and carried modern Russian weapons. ibid.
The European Council threatened sanctions unless Putin withdrew his forces. ibid.
‘In the hearts and minds of the our people, Crimea has always been a part of Russia.’ ibid. Putin
What is the role of media in wartime? Is it simply to record or is it to explain, and from whose point of view? John Pilger, Frontline: The Search for Truth in Wartime, ITV 1983
[William Howard] Russell was The Times’ man of the Crimea, a war which Queen Victoria described as ‘popular beyond belief’. It certainly wasn’t that after Russell had got through with it. ibid.
Falklands: The truth of that war is still coming in. Indeed, the Crimea was the last British war before censorship. ibid.