Crimea: The Last Crusade

Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes:

Any historian is tempted to invest his subject with special importance, but Figes makes a convincing case. The conservative alliance of Russia and Austria, which had effectively suppressed nascent European liberalism and nationalism, was ended by the Crimean War, and Russia was further angered by the sight of two Christian powers fighting alongside a Muslim ally. Lingering Russian resentment was one cause of the disruption of international relations and the destabilisation in the Balkans that ultimately led to the Great War. And the participation of the greatest Muslim power in a European war opened the Muslim world to Western arms and technology, ‘accelerated its integration into the global capitalist economy, and sparked an Islamic reaction against the West which continues to this day’: large consequences indeed.

(LRB 25 August 2011)

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