From the Danube to the Caucasus, conflict raged. The Ottomans were fighting for their territories and their lives, but the full story of their courage is only now being told, says the military historian Mesut Uyar
The political crisis that led to the Crimean war was the outcome of continuous Russian aggression and plans to control strategic parts of the Ottoman Empire, ambitions only thinly disguised as concern for the Holy Places in Jerusalem and the protection of Orthodox Christians. The Ottoman government was fully aware of the horror and military humiliations of the series of Ottoman–Russian wars of the past hundred years but, against this legacy and all odds, stood firm against the new Russian demands. The Russian general staff prepared bolder plans, but in the end the tsar approved the safest: the occupation of the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia and an attack on the Caucasian front.
Mesut Uyar is associate professor at the University of New South Wales and the co-author with Edward J Erickson of ‘A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk’ (Praeger/ABC-Clio $75)
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Aard Streefland tells the story of the Dutch orientalist Marius Bauer (1867–1932)
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