This is a blog for use in both of my HIS 241 and HIS 242 Russian history survey courses at Northern Virginia Community College.

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06 April 2008

Aleksandr II

When Aleksandr II ascended the throne of Russia, he had to immediately confront the issue of the Crimean War. In a way, the situation resembled a cruel joke that had been played on Russia. In 1815, Russian armies stood victorious in the triumph over Napoleon, and it was tsar Aleksandr I who had led the march down the Champs Elysees in Paris. (almost) Nicholas II had then ruled Russia for over twenty years, seemingly emphasizing the military might of Russia that entire time and ruling like a commanding general, but then along came this nasty little conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, and suddenly the allies that had helped Russia in the struggle with Napoleon were turned against Russia and allied with the Turks. In addition to that little bit of irony, it was the Turks, French and British who invaded Russian territory on the Crimean peninsula, and it was those armies, supplied over a tenuous thousand mile sea voyage, who were doing better than the Russian armies. While the Russians fought bravely, they were terribly under-supplied and forced to fight in dreadful circumstances. So, when Aleksandr became tsar he had to deal with the war situation (he almost immediately began peace negotiations which turned out better than the Russians could have expected), and then he had to figure out what had put Russia into the debacle. His answer was that Russia needed to reform itself if it was to remain a great power.

6 comments :

Rolland La Haie said...

The need for Russian reform was indeed great after the Crimean War, but it would be safe to say that whatever was needed, did not happen. Looking at the Russo-Japanese War, and the First World War, again Russia had the largest army in the field out of all the nations involved, but in some cases was fielding troops with no rifles, ammunition, suitable uniforms, etc. Either the army's leadership was just that shortsighted in campaign planning, or the quartermaster corps was extremely corrupt, inept, uncooperative, and lazy, and stockpiled the uniforms and food stuffs for themselves.

Anonymous said...

After the Crimean War the issue of the serfs became a big burden to Alexander II and he emancipated them to help the Russian economy because serfs' masters were going into debt.

Anonymous said...

After the Crimean War the issue of the serfs became a big burden to Alexander II and he emancipated them to help the Russian economy because serfs' masters were going into debt.

Heather Fahrenwald said...

After the Crimean War the issue of the serfs became a big burden to Alexander II and he emancipated them to help the Russian economy because serfs' masters were going into debt.

Captholly said...

The emancipation of the serfs and the other reforms were exciting to the public, but I think they could have been organized a little better. After the reforms Russia main problem became the fall of organization and control.

Captholly said...

After the emancipation of the serfs and the other reforms, the only thing the government lacked was organization. If the country had been more organized and if they had a strong leader, the country would have faired a lot better in the years following.