The Crimean War, the first european modern war ?

Quand :
7 November 2019 @ 8 h 00 min – 9 November 2019 @ 18 h 00 min
Où :
Sorbonne Université

International conference, organized by the 19th century history center, the LabEx EHNE and the Slavs history research center (UMR SIRICE)

So far, the Crimean War has been rather neglected in French military history. It has only been the subject of a synthesis, quite traditional in its views, and was associated with the Second Empire whose trace, according to the historiography of the Third Republic, was to be erased. The strongest and most recent study was written by Alain Gouttman. However, although this work is very scientific and objective, it remains deeply marked by a tropism for the history of the battle. This situation is all the more regrettable as today the Crimean War is being rewritten in other countries, particularly in Britain, in the context of a revised history of conflicts, increasingly studied in a multidisciplinary approach.
Indeed, the Crimean War marked, with the Civil War (1861-1865), a great historical and anthropological turning point in military history, witnessing profound transformations not only in the way of fighting, but also in the relations between societies and war, during and after the conflict.

This conference will aim in putting the Crimean War in this new historiographical approach to military conflicts by highlighting three fundamental aspects:
1) The anthropological approach to modern warfare as a key to understand struggles, strategies, experiences and feelings of combatants and the relationship between war and societies.
2) The transnational dimension, introducing a comparison of the conflict history. The confrontation of cross-sources will make it possible to leave the compartmentalization imposed by purely national approaches. Above all, the Crimean War should not be seen from the West and has to be evaluated, regarding its perception and its repercussions, in the Russian world as well as in the Ottoman one.
3) The sociocultural dimension of the conflict, and its memory. The Crimean War influences the society also because of medical, economical and symbolical involvement of State, army and citizens.

Having in mind this methodological approach, the conference will be structured along four major topics:
I) Diplomacy and war 
Here, it will be about the origins of the war, belligerents’ motivations and consequences of the conflict on diplomacy. The Crimean War will be replaced in a double context that is the one of the so-called “concert of nations” and the other around the Eastern Question. If the religious origins of the conflict may have been overestimated, on the contrary, economic reasons and the control of the Straits, (generally underestimated) could be replaced in the core of European diplomacy issues.

II) Experiencing the war
The Crimean War marks important upheavals in the soldiers’ experience of fights. New weapons and techniques (striped cannon rifle, explosive shells..) and military strategy evolutions (appearing of trench war) increase risks, corporal infringements and lethality. New injuries appear, while the cholera decimates troops. This new context gives birth to new medical structures and initiatives (as shown by role of Florence Nightingale, Valérie de Gasparin and Elena Pavlovna). People were also mobilizing at the back, as demonstrated by the numerous subscriptions raised for helping the families of dead and injured soldiers in France and England or by Anatole Demidov’action in favor of war prisoners in Europe.

III) Economy, society and public opinion
The Crimean War impact exceeds very far away the frame of the military operations. A War economy develops thanks to loans and the rise of war contractors. In the Ottoman case, the military involvement gives birth to the creation of the Ottoman Imperial Bank and then to the the tutelage of European powers on the overindebted Sublime Porte. Societies also live at the rhythm of the war. A real « sacred union » appeared in all the States, well powered by governments who try to mobilize their public opinion against the enemy. Indeed, public opinion is playing an increasing role, reinforced by telegraph and photography.

IV) Pictures, representations and memory
New Perceptions and representations of war emerge and it is useful to refer to cultural and art history and well as to history of collective and social imaginaries. During and after the war, although the heroical officer cult (Saint-Arnaud in France, Gorchakov in Russia) is maintained, ordinary troop soldiers are honored, as demonstrated by numerous monuments dedicated to them. Last the Crimean War has also a very strong memorial dimension, as expressed by toponymy and its place in historical references of nowadays different political leaders.

Organization committee
Marie-Pierre Rey (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, SIRICE),
Éric Anceau (Sorbonne Université, LabEx EHNE),
Jean-François Figeac (Sorbonne Université, Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle).

Selection committee
Éric Anceau (Sorbonne Université, LabEx EHNE),
Yves Bruley (Ecole pratique des hautes études),
Walter Bruyère-Ostells (IEP d’Aix-en-Provence),
Lorraine de Meaux (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne),
Hervé Drévillon (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, directeur de la recherche historique au SHD),
Anne-Laure Dupont (Sorbonne Université, Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle),
Edhem Eldem (Collège de France, chaire d’histoire turque et ottomane),
Jean-François Figeac (Sorbonne Université, Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle),
Orlando Figes (Birkbeck College, Londres),
Hubert Heyriès (Université Paul Valéry/ Montpellier III),
Catherine Horel (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, SIRICE),
Jean-Noël Luc (Sorbonne Université, Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle),
Silvia Marton (Université de Bucarest),
Nicolae Mihai (Université de Craiova),
Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen (Sorbonne Université, Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle),
Marie-Pierre Rey (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, SIRICE),
Odile Roynette (Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté),
Özgür Türesay (Ecole pratique des hautes études).

Research centers 
Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle,
Centre de recherches en histoire des Slaves (UMR SIRICE).

Partners: Fondation Napoléon, Service historique de la Défense.

Languages of the conference: French, English