The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853-56

The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853-56

The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853-56

The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853-56

Synopsis

In contrast to every other book about the conflict Andrew Lambert's ground-breaking study The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853-1856 is neither an operational history of the armies in the Crimea, nor a study of the diplomacy of the conflict. The core concern is with grand strategy, the development and implementation of national policy and strategy. The key concepts are strategic, derived from the works of Carl von Clausewitz and Sir Julian Corbett, and the main focus is on naval, not military operations. This original approach rejected the 'Continentalist' orthodoxy that dominated contemporary writing about the history of war, reflecting an era when British security policy was dominated by Inner German Frontier, the British Army of the Rhine and Air Force Germany. Originally published in 1990 the book appeared just as the Cold War ended; the strategic landscape for Britain began shifting away from the continent, and new commitments were emerging that heralded a return to maritime strategy, as adumbrated in the defence policy papers of the 1990s. With a new introduction that contextualises the 1990 text and situates it in the developing historiography of the Crimean War the new edition makes this essential book available to a new generation of scholars.

Excerpt

In contrast to every other book dealing with the Crimean War this book is neither an operational history of the armies in the Crimea nor a study of the diplomacy of the conflict. The core concern is with grand strategy, the development and implementation of national policy and strategy. The key concepts are strategic, derived from the works of Carl von Clausewitz and Sir Julian Corbett, and the main focus is on naval, not military operations. This original approach rejected the ‘continentalist’ orthodoxy that dominated writing about the history of war, and in the War Studies community generally, in the 1980s, reflecting an era when British security policy was dominated by Inner German Frontier, the British Army of the Rhine and Air Force Germany.

Originally published by Manchester University Press in 1990, the initial two print runs of 1,000 copies sold out immediately, making the book effectively impossible to obtain for more than a decade. The purpose of this new edition is to make the original work available to all those interested in the Crimean War as history and strategy. Conceiving that it would be wholly improper to tinker with the original text of the first edition, a work written in very different times, and equally foolhardy to attempt a major revision, the current edition reproduces the original book. The introduction will contextualise the original text, assess the development of Crimean War historiography in the intervening decades and, above all, make the book available to a new generation of scholars. I have only changed one section of the conclusion, where my original judgements on British mid-nineteenth century defence policy have been overtaken by subsequent research.

sup>2 Although a cut and paste text of distinctly limited merit, the book challenged the received wisdom that the Royal Navy made

I am indebted to Thomas Otte and Andrew Rath for their careful attention to this introduction.

Williams, H. N. The Life and Letters of Admiral Sir Charles Napier (Hutchinson, London 1917). The ‘tombstone’ two-volume family account, Elers-Napier, G. The Life and

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.