Between Waterloo and the Alma: The Polish-Russian War of 1831, Part I: Grochow

Tadeusz Stachowski explains how revolutionary aspirations of the 1830s travelled east in Europe and precipitated a war between the Tsarist Empire and its province, the Kingdom of Poland.1

Some recent books on the Crimean War refer to the Battle of the Alma as the first full-scale battle between European nations since Waterloo.2 During the Polish-Russian War of 1831, which lasted nearly a year, several major engagements took place, two of which, at Grochow on February 25th and three months later at Ostrolenka, were indeed full-scale confrontations.

Poland, once a major European power, lost her independence just before Napoleon’s meteoric rise to power. Not unnaturally, the Poles enthusiastically supported the French Emperor against the established order in Europe, which did not provide for the existence of their country. At the Congress of Vienna, Tsar Alexander I interceded for Poland but his motives were suspect.

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