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Enforced DisarmamentFrom the Napoleonic Campaigns to the Gulf War$
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Philip Towle

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206361.001.0001

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The Crimean War and the Demilitarization of the Black Sea

The Crimean War and the Demilitarization of the Black Sea

(p.51) 3 The Crimean War and the Demilitarization of the Black Sea
Enforced Disarmament

Philip Towle

Oxford University Press

The Crimean War of 1854–1856 was prolonged for almost a year by Britain's determination to banish Russian naval power from the Black Sea. Like most forced disarmament measures after limited wars, this was tactically offensive and strategically defensive, since it was designed to separate the expansionist Russians from the decaying Ottoman Empire. Russia accepted the banishment of its fleet only after its naval forces in the Black Sea had been destroyed and had been isolated diplomatically. Like the demilitarization of Dunkirk in the eighteenth century, neutralization of the Black Sea was a limited measure, which did not reduce the totality of Russian power, but was still deeply resented as a national humiliation. Consequently, as soon as his enemies were weakened in 1870, the tsar denounced the neutralization of the Black Sea, provoking an international crisis which might easily have led to a second war. Thus, despite its limited scope, forced disarmament occupied a central role in diplomacy during the period, a position which it was not to occupy again until the 1920s.

Keywords:   Crimean War, demilitarization, Black Sea, Russia, Britain, neutralization, forced disarmament, diplomacy

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