The climax of the war

by Instant Noodle

This cartoon is from September 1856, after the end of the Crimean War.

The crimean war is mostly known today for the efforts of Florence Nightingale in reforming the healthcare, but also for the rather tragic losses at Balaclava, and, of course, the Charge of the Light Brigade.

In many ways, the war was a lot like the more recent Iraqi war. It was initiated for all the wrong reasons; it was set about with the typically British conceit of assuming that it would be easy, was typified by lack of investment in the troops, and overall, was a big PR disaster for the government. There is, however, a big difference in that there were catastrophic losses on the side of the British; this was not so true for the Iraq war.

The war in many ways was a big turning point for Europe as a whole. The balance of power was shifted, and put on the road towards World War One.

I’m always pretty terrible at recognizing the faces in the cartoons, but I believe that the chap cheekily peering out is Palmerston, the British PM. The guy on the right with the preposterous moustache I would recognise anywhere; it’s Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the French leader. The rather pompous looking man on the throne I think is the man himself; Tsar Alexander, who inherited the war from his father.