The Charge of the Light Brigade and the Siege of Sevastopol: A Blunder and a Catalyst for Change

TLDR The charge of the light brigade during the siege of Sevastopol was a military blunder, resulting in significant casualties but also serving as powerful propaganda. The Crimean War brought awareness of the soldiers' conditions and failures, leading to middle class initiatives to support the troops and a deep sense of resentment and nationalism in Russia.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The podcast episode discusses the charge of the light brigade and the previous episode's topic of the siege of Sevastopol.
04:47 The Russians attempted to break the siege by attacking the Allied supply lines at Balaklava, where the British brought in their supplies, and the Turks, who were treated as draft labor, were depicted as porters carrying the British kit.
09:40 The British cavalry charges the Russian guns in a suicidal mission, resulting in the deaths of about 100 men and 362 horses, but they do manage to scatter the Russians and take some of their guns.
14:15 The charge of the light brigade is seen as a blunder, with the wrong order and inaccurate justification, but it still has powerful propaganda on both sides and feeds into the British myth of war and glorious defeat.
18:30 The British public became aware of the conditions and failures of the soldiers in the Crimean War through reports, letters, and diaries, leading to a growing awareness and catalyst for middle class initiatives to send supplies and support the troops.
22:52 Nikolai Pyrogov, a Russian physician, introduced the modern system of triage and was the first military surgeon to use anesthesia during the Crimean War, but his contributions have been overlooked by historians.
27:03 The Battle of Incommon on November 5, 1854 was the last major attempt by the Russians to break the siege, resulting in significant losses and growing doubt among the Russian public about the continuation of the war.
31:46 The war continues with reports of atrocities on all sides, including looting, rape, and killing of civilians, as well as the shooting of wounded soldiers, and the Russians eventually evacuate Sevastopol in August 1855 as the Allies launch a successful assault on the heavily fortified defensive positions.
36:18 The Allies bombard Sevastopol with 50,000 shells a day, leading to the eventual capitulation of the Russians and the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1856, which includes the demilitarization of the Black Sea fleet and is seen as a humiliation by the Russians.
40:30 The defeat and humiliation of Russia in the Crimean War led to a deep sense of resentment and nationalism, which influenced Russian foreign policy and led to a turn towards the East and the building of their empire in Central Asia.
44:58 The future of Crimea and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is uncertain, with the possibility that Crimea may be the point of compromise for peace, as it holds great significance to Russia and is unlikely to be given back.
Categories: History

The Charge of the Light Brigade and the Siege of Sevastopol: A Blunder and a Catalyst for Change

83. The Charge of the Light Brigade
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