Condenced Notes - Realpolitik Crimea to Italy 1861

2 britain and france intervene a britain and france

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2. Britain and France Intervene a. Britain and France were determined to keep Russia out of the Mediterranean. They intervened with their modern navies and thousands of troops. b. The Black Sea was swept free of Russian ships. British, French and Turkish forces landed in the Crimean peninsula and laid siege to its principal city the fortress of Sevastopol. The siege of this city would last one year. c. France and Britain easily supplied their attacking forces by water. Russia had dirt roads. They lacked rail transport. All reinforcements and supplies had to traverse hundreds of miles to reach the city. d. Disease killed far more soldiers than cannon and musket. Russian losses exceeded 500,000 dead. The French and British lost 60,000 killed. Russia’s economy was driven to the brink of collapse by the strain of war. Serf revolts multiplied and their tsar died at the end of 1855. e. The new tsar, Alexander II took power and was informed by Austria’s ambassador that if Russia did not quit the war, Austrian armies would join France, Britain, Turkey and Sardinia and launch an invasion of Russia. 3. Sardinia and Count Cavour a. Sardinia’s king had hoped to unify large Italian provinces under his nation’s flag in 1848. Austria’s powerful military had crushed this ambition defeating Italian forces in Lombardy and Venetia which were forcibly returned to the Austrian empire. b. Sardinia’s shrewd prime minister, Cavour, recognized it would take a great power to defeat a great power. To win a powerful friend he joined France and Britain in their war on Russia in January of 1855. When the war ended a year later Cavour had gained the friendship of both nations. c. He was invited to the peace conference in Paris and there flattered Napoleon III who had travelled to the Italian states in 1830 to fight the Austrians on the behalf of Italian nationalists. Napoleon III never saw battle. He and his brother were stricken with measles. Napoleon III’s brother Philip succumbed to the illness.
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