Crimea: the War That Didn't Boil

A.J.P. Taylor gives a decidedly mid-20th century view of a mid-19th century war, its aims, and legacy. 

John Bright, with ponderous Victorian wit, called the Crimean War "a crime"; most historians have presented it as a bewildering series of diplomatic and military blunders. With the experience of the last five years to enlighten us, we should do better: we know that the diplomatic tangles since 1945, which may seem bewildering to the future historian, conceal the reality of "the cold war". The Crimean War was the cold war in an earlier phase. Two world-systems, mutually uncomprehending, lurched against each other, each convinced of its defensive good-faith. The struggle between them was fought in a ragged way at the edges. Both sides shrank from the head-on collision hich would have produced a war to remake the world — Russia from lack of strength, the Westem Powers from lack of conviction, Though the Crimean War seemed indecisive, great decisions followed from it.

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