WAR AND MILITARY CONFLICTS IN THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES

RUSSIA BECOMES A MAJOR POWER IN EUROPE

As a major European power, Russia could not escape the wars involving revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Tsar Paul I, Catherine the Great’s successor, became an adamant opponent of France, and Russia joined Britain and Austria in a war against France.In 1798-99 Russian troops under one of the country's most famous generals, Aleksandr Suvorov, performed brilliantly in Italy and Switzerland. Paul reversed himself, however, and abandoned his allies. This reversal, coupled with increasingly arbitrary domestic policies, sparked a coup, and in March 1801 Paul was assassinated.[Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

Russia’s power enabled it to play an increasingly assertive role in Europe's affairs. This role drew the empire into a series of wars against Napoleon, which had far-reaching consequences for Russia and the rest of Europe. After a period of enlightenment, Russia became an active opponent of liberalizing trends in Central and Western Europe. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

Kremlin means fortified city. In the old days all major towns and cities had a kremlin, usually comprised of a cathedral, several churches, a palace, government buildings, surrounded by high towers and a wall.

Military in the Tsarist Era

Modern Russian military history begins with Peter the Great, who established the Imperial Russian Army (see Peter the Great Under History). That force, conceived by Peter along the Western lines that he had studied, won its first great battle against the Swedish army of Charles XII at Poltava in 1709. The first great Russian naval victory, at the Hango Peninsula on the Baltic Sea in 1714, also came at the expense of the Swedes; Peter had modernized the Russian navy with the same diligence he applied to the army. The victories over Sweden made Russia the dominant power in the Baltic region.[Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

For the first time, under Peter the armed forces were staffed by recruits from the peasantry, whose twenty-five-year obligation made them professional soldiers and sailors devoted to service because they had been liberated from serfdom--together with all their offspring--in the bargain. Officers were nobles called to an equally rigorous lifetime service. Under Peter, Russia had the largest standing army in Europe, and elements of the military system he introduced lasted until 1917. *

Under Catherine II (the Great; r. 1762-96), the Russian Empire expanded to the west, the south, and the east, and wars were fought with the Ottoman Empire (1768-74 and 1787-92) and Poland (1794-95). The greatest Russian military leader of Catherine's time was Aleksandr Suvorov, who fought in the second Russo-Turkish War and the Polish campaign, then led a Russian and Austrian army against the revolutionary French in northern Italy in 1799. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, Russian armies continued a long series of wars against the Ottoman Empire. They also met Napoleon's French forces at several points in Europe; the most famous encounter was the legendary defeat of Napoleon's 1812 invasion force by the Russians under Mikhail Kutuzov. That victory established the pattern of scorched-earth retreat that left Napoleon and succeeding invaders without material support, and it brought a Russian army to Paris in triumphant occupation. *

Under Tsar Nicholas I (r. 1825- 55), Russia became known as the "gendarme of Europe," an archconservative defender of monarchies against the forces of liberation that had begun to sweep Europe in the previous century. In 1831 Nicholas quelled a Polish rebellion against his own empire, and in 1849 Russia sent 100,000 troops to suppress an uprising by Hungarian patriots against the Austrian Empire. The Crimean War (1853-56), the fruit of Europe's complex system of alliances and a series of diplomatic misunderstandings, centered on the British and French siege of the Russian port of Sevastopol', which was well defended for nearly a year before surrendering. However, the Russian defeat in that campaign revealed that Russian command and supply systems had fallen behind those of Western Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century. *

Cossacks

The Cossacks were Christian horsemen who lived on the steppes of Ukraine. At various times they fought for themselves, for the tsars and against the tsars. They were hired by the tsar as soldiers whenever there was a war or military campaign that necessitated ruthless warriors. They became part of the Russian irregular army and played a major role in expanding Russia’s borders. [Source: Mike Edmunds, National Geographic, November 1998]

Cossacks were originally an amalgamation of runaway peasants, fugitive slaves, escaped convicts, and derelict soldiers, primarily Ukrainian and Russian, settling frontier areas along the Don, Dnepr, and Volga rivers. They supported themselves by brigandry, hunting, fishing, and cattle raising. Later the Cossacks organized military formations for their own defense and as mercenaries. The latter groups were renowned as horsemen and were absorbed as special units in the Russian army.

Cossack is a Turkish word for "freeman." Cossacks are not an ethnic group but rather a kind of warrior caste of free-spirited, farmer-horsemen that evolved around 300 years ago and have their own customs and traditions. They call themselves "sabers." Cossacks are different from Kazakhs, an ethnic group associated with Kazakhstan. However, the Tatar word Kazak, made be the root word for both groups.

Most Cossacks were of Russian or Slavic origin. But some were Tatars or Turks. Cossacks have traditionally had strong links with the Orthodox church. The were some Muslim Cossacks, and some Buddhist ones near Mongolia, but they were sometimes discriminated against by other Cossacks. Many Old Believers (a Russian Christian sect) sought refuge with the Cossacks and their views shaped the views of Cossacks about religion.

Cossacks represent an image and spirit that ordinary Russians have traditionally admired, The symbol of the Cossacks is stag that continues to stand even though it has been pierced and bloodied by a spear. Of the Cossacks, Pushkin wrote: "Eternally on horseback, eternally ready to fight, eternally on guard." Augustus von Haxthausen wrote: "they are of robust stock, handsome, lively industrious, submissive to authority, brave good-natured, hospitable...indefatigable, and intelligent." Gogol also often wrote about the Cossacks.

Early Cossack History and Bandits

Cossacks trace their origins at least back to the 1400s. According to legend they evolved from mythical beings, but are believed to have originally been descendants of Tatars (Mongols in Russia) or maybe Scythians (fierce nomads who migrated from Central Asia in the 7th century B.C.) or ancient Scythian-like people called the Kossaraka in Greek inscriptions from the Black Sea area. Even today, Cossack speech is filled with words of Mongol origin.

Most Cossacks were runaway serfs, hunters, freebooters and fugitives who lived in the frontiers beyond the reach of Russian authorities. The early Cossack made a homeland for themselves on the rich, grassy steppes of Russia, the Ukraine and Central Asia described by Gogol as "an ocean of green and gold, sprinkled with millions of different flowers."

In the early days the steppes of Ukraine were regarded as the equivalent of the Wild West and the Cossacks were the equivalent of the Indians. In the late 1400s, no government controlled the Russia steppes. The Mongol empire that once controlled them had collapsed in Central Asia and Europe and the Russian government was weak and small.

The early Cossacks were bandits and mercenaries who traveled on horses in warrior bands that were for all intents and purposes "lordless, womanless, propertyless" egalitarian societies. They raided Slavic hunters, fisherman and traders and caravans that entered the no-man's land where they made their home. They attacked merchant vessels that traveled on the Don and Volga river as well as Turkish ships that plied the Black Sea.

A shortage of women was a problem among the Cossacks. Their wives were often kidnapped in raids. A lauded Cossack feat was to attack a wedding party and make off with the bride. Although a few Cossacks joined the fighting legions, they have traditionally played a passive role.

Don Cossack and Other Cossack Groups

The Cossacks organized themselves into self-governing communities in the Don basin, on the Dnieper River in the Ukraine and in western Kazakhstan. Each of these communities had names, such as the Don Cossacks, their own army and elected leader and acted as separate ministates. After a network of Cossack forts was built the number of hosts increased. By the late 19th century there were Amur, Baikal, Kuban, Orenburg, Semirechensk, Siberian, Volga, and Ussuriisk Cossacks.

The Don Cossacks were the first Cossack group to emerge. They appeared in the 15th century and were a major force to be reckoned with until the 16th century. The Zaporozhian Cossacks formed in the Dnieper River region in the 16th century. Two offshoots of the Don Cossack that emerged in the late 16th century were the Terek Cossacks Host, based along the lower Terke River in the northern Caucasus, and the Iaik (Yaik) Host along the lower Ural River.

The Don Cossacks were the largest and most dominant of the Cossack subgroups. They originated as a band of mercenaries that lived around the Don River about 200 to 500 miles south of present-day Russia. By the second half of the 16th century they had grown large enough that they were the most powerful military and political force in the Don region.

In tsarist Russian, they enjoyed administrative and territorial autonomy. They were recognized and received an official seal under Peter the Great and established settlements in the Ukraine, along the Volga River, and in Chechnya and the eastern Caucasus. By 1914, most of the communities were in southern Russia, between the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus.

Peter the Great visited Starocherkassk, the capital of the Don Cossacks, near the Black Sea. He saw a drunken Cossack wearing nothing but his rifle. Impressed by the idea of man giving up his clothes before his weapons, Peter made a naked man holding a gun the symbol of the Don Cossacks.

Under the Soviet, Don Cossack lands were incorporated into other regions. Today, many are based around the city of Stavropol. The Don Cossack uniform includes an olive tunic and blue pants with a red stripe running down the leg. Their flag features crises, sabers and a double-headed Russian eagle.

Cossacks Help the Czars

The tsars offered the Cossacks autonomy in return for military assistance. The Cossacks were stationed in Imperial Guard camps on the Don River, the Urals, Siberia and the Black Sea. Even though Russian nobles and tsarist soldiers were frequently preyed upon by Cossacks, Ivan the Terrible set the trend in 1570 by hiring them as mercenaries in exchange for gunpowder, lead and money (three things the steppe didn't produce) to free Russian prisoners enslaved by the Tartars and Turks.

The Cossacks helped expand and define the borders of the Russian empire and then helped protect them. The tsar often placed Cossacks on the front line in wars or military campaign that necessitated ruthless warriors. The Cossacks played a crucial roles in exploring the Siberian and Alaskan frontiers. They conquered all of Siberia in less than 70 years. Many industrial towns in Siberia and of northern Kazakhstan, including Alma Altay, began as fortified Cossack forts.

The Cossacks remained dependent on the tsar militarily and politically but were allowed to more or less run their territories as independent states. In the late 17th century the Russian government tried to limit Cossack freedom and privileges. The Cossacks were most upset by demands that they return fugitives, which they viewed as a violation of their traditional freedoms. By the end of the 18th century, the frontier had move far enough south so that military significance of the Cossacks was diminished.

After 1738 the Don Cossack chief commander was appointed by the Russian government. Before that he was elected by the Don Cossacks. After 1754, local commanders were also appointed. Using the these methods, the Cossacks were completely absorbed into the Russian military, with each enlisted Cossack required to put in 30 years of military service.

The Cossacks were expected to do what the tsar told them. Czar Paul once ordered then “to conquer India” and they actually set off to try and do that. The mission was only called off after the tsar was assassinated. Later they were put to work protecting Chinese laborers building the Trans-Siberian railway from tigers.

Cossack Fighting Tactics

The traditional Cossack weapons were the lance and saber. The kept a knife in their belt and a four-foot nagaika (whip) in their boot, which was used on people to keep order and intimidate them. Many served in the cavalry with Mongolian horses. One modern Cossack told National Geographic, Mongolian horses "were strong—they could break any rope." His mount "was a great horse. She saved my life many times because she didn't turn away when I fell from the saddle."

Although the Cossacks were known for their bravery their tactics were usually on the cowardly side. They traditionally chased down stragglers with their lances and either stripped of everything they owned, including the clothes on their back, and often sold their prisoners to peasants. The Cossack were notorious for switching sides, even in the middle of a conflict. If the were threatened by the enemy, according to one French officer, the Cossacks fled and only fought if they outnumbered the enemy two to one. [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

Cossacks mostly fought side by side with Russia Imperial Army. They played big parts in capturing the Caucasus and Central Asia and were instrumental in turning back the armies of Napoleon and the Ottoman Turks. They also played a major role in the brutal pogroms against the Jews, who passed on stories of Cossacks killing innocent children and cutting opened pregnant women.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the traditionally unruly and undisciplined Cossacks were organized into regiments that fed on the sick and wounded in Napoleon's retreating army like a pack of wolves and chased them all the way to Paris. A Prussian officer, who observed the merciless tactics, later told his wife: "If my feelings had not been hardened I would have gone mad. Even so it will take many years before I can recall what I have seen without shuddering." [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

During the Charge of the Light Brigade in Crimean War, a Russian officer reported, the Cossacks were "frightened by the disciplined order of the mass of [British] cavalry bearing down on them, the [Cossacks] didn't hold but wheeled to the left, began to fire on their troops in an effort to clear their way to escape." When the Light Brigade had been driven out of the Valley of Death, "the Cossacks...true to their nature...set themselves to the task at hand—rounding up riderless English horses and offering them for sale." Needless to say the Cossacks were not normally recruited as officers. [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

Cossack Brutality and Violence

The Cossacks were in constant state of conflict. If they were not engaged in a military campaign for the Russian government they were fighting with the neighbors or among themselves. The Don Cossacks routinely fought with other Cossack groups.

The Cossacks were notorious for the brutal tactic they used to suppress revolutionary movements and massacre Jews during pogroms. Cossack bands were particularly fond of going after Polish noblemen. The cry "The Cossacks are coming!" is call that sent shivers of fear into the hearts of many people that lived before World War II.

One Canadian woman told National Geographic, "My grandpa remembers the Cossacks. When he was a boy, they rode into his village between Ukraine and what is now Belarus. He remembers his grandma standing outside her front door and having her head loped off. During another encounter he remembers the Cossacks calling for his other grandma to get out of her house, where in mortal fear she hid. They then threw some sort of grenade-like bomb into her small home, killing everyone within."

Russians, Swedes and Finns

Swedes and Russians fought with one another for control of the Baltic. At its height the Swedish empire included Sweden and Finland and parts of Norway, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Germany and the Baltic Republics.

In the late 18th century, Swedish King Charles XI was succeeded by his son King Charles XII. Regarded as the most expansion-minded and reckless Swedish leader, Charles led a Swedish army in 1699 at the age 17 against a coalition of Russia, Poland and Denmark. Among Charles’s great triumphs was a defeat of the Russians in Narva (1700) where Russian forces outnumbered Swedish forces five to one. After the Russian army suffered a crushing defeat at Narva, the czar organized his army along the lines of European forces.

Charles XII had a hard tile with Russia’s winters. Sweden fended off Russia in the Russian War of 1788-1790. Several important battles were fought in Finland.

In 1809, Sweden lost Finland to czarist Russia's as part of the Peace of Tilsit, an agreement between France and Russia after the Napoleonic Wars. Finland was a grand duchy of czarist Russia for 110 years from 1808 until the end of World War I. Under Russia, the Finns kept alive their language and culture. Tsar Alexander II (1836-1886) allowed Finnish to became an official language along with Swedish. Not until the early 20th century did Russia launch a campaign of oppression against Finland and violate the Finland constitution adopted in 1772. Finland fought dozens of wars just with the Russians, losing near every one of them.

Napoleon and Russia

In 1805, tsar Alexander I joined with England, Prussia and Austria to form a coalition against Napoleon and France. After the Russian defeat at Friedland in 1807, Russia deserted its allies and signed the Treaty of Tilsit, in which Napoleon and Alexander I divided the world between them. After some squabbling between France and Russia, Napoleon decided to invade Russia in 1812.

In June 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia with 600,000 troops--a force twice as large as the Russian regular army. Napoleon hoped to inflict a major defeat on the Russians and force Alexander to sue for peace. As Napoleon pushed the Russian forces back, however, he became seriously overextended. Obstinate Russian resistance combined with the Russian winter to deal Napoleon a disastrous defeat, from which fewer than 30,000 of his troops returned to their homeland. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

To defeat Napoleon the Russians let him occupy Moscow and then burned it the ground . With approaching winter the French army retreated across Europe and were pursued all the way to Paris by the Russian Army, dogged and punished Russian Filed Marshall Kutuzov. More than 90 percent of the French forces perished along the way. The event is celebrated in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The Russian army entered Paris as conquerors in 1814. The Don Cossacks were enthralled with Paris they built their own Arc de Triumph in their capital of Novocherkassk.

Alexander I and the Napoleonic Wars

Alexander's primary focus was not on domestic policy but on foreign affairs, and particularly on Napoleon. Fearing Napoleon's expansionist ambitions and the growth of French power, Alexander joined Britain and Austria against Napoleon. Napoleon defeated the Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz, north of Vienna, in 1805 and trounced the Russians at Friedland, near modern Kaliningard. in 1807. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

Alexander was forced to sue for peace, and by the Treaty of Tilsit, signed in 1807, he became Napoleon's ally. The Treaty of Tilsit essentially gave Napoleon western Europe and Alexander eastern Europe. Russia lost little territory under the treaty, and Alexander made use of his alliance with Napoleon for further expansion. He wrested the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden in 1809 and acquired Bessarabia from Turkey in 1812. *

The Russo-French alliance gradually became strained. Napoleon was concerned about Russia's intentions in the strategically vital Bosporus and Dardenelles straits. At the same time, Alexander viewed the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, the French-controlled reconstituted Polish state, with suspicion. The requirement of joining France's Continental Blockade against Britain was a serious disruption of Russian commerce.

The Treaty of Tilsit was broken in 1810 when Russia began trading with England, Napoleon's main enemy. Napoleon was outraged. He amassed a fighting force of 700,000 men, the largest ever assembled for a single battle, and march towards Russia. The Russians retreated through the summer of 1812 and employed a scorched earth policy to deprive the French of food.

Napoleon Marches on Russia

Making the same mistake that Hitler would later make in World War II, Napoleon decided to launch an attack on Russia, while fighting with the British in Spain and Portugal, opening up a two front war. The excuse for the attack was Russian refusal to close its ports to British ships but the real reason for the attack was that forces across Europe were getting uppity and the French he needed to show them who was boss.

In 1812, Napoleon assembled a formidable Grand Army. The French army of 200,000 was joined by 400,000 soldiers from other countries. The massive force lumbered across Europe with herds of cattle and oxen, thousands of supply wagons, 30,000 artillery horses and 80,000 cavalry horses. Regiments were self sufficient, with their own bakers, masons and shoe makers."

In most countries Napoleon won a couple of battles, seized the capital and signed a peace treaty. "Our war leader, Marshall Kutuzov," said a Russian historian, said with large armies "one must defeat them with several battles, extended in time and space. So Kutuzaov used retreat, wide maneuver, counteroffensive; he delivered different blows with different formations, including bands or partisans. Napoleon met here the resistance not only of the army, but also of the whole people. All sought to drive the invader from the motherland."

Battle of Borodino

The biggest battle of the Russian campaign took place 70 miles outside of Moscow in Borodino on September 7, 1812. The French lost 43 generals and 28,000 out of 120,000 soldiers. The Russian lost 43,000 men and Napoleon called it his "most terrible."

Napoleon’s army and the Russian army each possessed 500 cannons which they fired at one another for eight hours, producing an incredible wall of sound that was so loud soldiers were forced to communicate with hand signals.

"A massacre," one Russian general called it. "Forty thousand men died. A mass of blood and flesh. And one can only wonder: Was it a defeat or a victory for the Russian Army...Personally I think it was Kutuzov's victory. He retreated to Moscow, but the Russian army was not destroyed. And as he retreated again from Moscow, he gained reserves, while Napoleon as he advanced, was losing both men and supplies."

Napoleon Russian campaigns were immortalized in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Napoleon Enters Moscow

To defeat Napoleon the Russians retreated to the east, and let Napoleon enter Moscow. Baron Claude François de Méneval wrote: "Napoleon at the time lulled himself in hope that he would be able to dictate peace there. The King of Naples, who entered it first, sent to the Emperor that the city appeared to be deserted and no civil or military functionary, nor noblemen, nor priest had presented himself. The Russian army had taken away the majority of the inhabitants of Moscow in its train...There had remained in the city only a few thousand people belonging to the lowest classes of society."

"Napoleon...entered Moscow...This entry was now accompanied by that tumult which marks the taking possession of a great city. No noise disturbed the solitude of the city streets, save only the rumbling of the cannon and artillery caissons. Moscow seemed asleep in a deep sleep."

Napoleon stayed in Moscow for two months. He called St. Basil's cathedral a mosque and used it as a stable. He said he would have torn it down if had he conquered Russia. Napoleon supposedly retreated from Moscow via these passageways in the Kremlin's secret garden when he was welcomed to a city in flames.

Burning of Moscow

After the French were in Moscow, orders were given to burnt the city to the ground. The governor of Moscow reportedly ordered all the of firefighting equipment removed and fire raged for five days. Napoleon wrote "The beautiful city of Moscow is no more...Such conduct is atrocious and without reason...What a people! What a people!"

"The Emperor proceeded directly to the Kremlin," Baron Claude François de Méneval wrote. "hardly had the Emperor entered the Kremlin than fire broke out in the Kitaigorod, or Chinese city, and an immense bazaar...Fruitless efforts were made to extinguish the flames, and the burning of the bazaar became the signal for a general conflagration in the city. This conflagration, spreading rapidly, devoured three-quarters of Moscow in three days.

"Each moment one saw smoke followed by flames breaking out of houses, which remained intact and in th e end the fire broke out in every house in the city. The town was one mighty furnace from which sheaves of fire burst heavenward lighting up the horizon with the glaring flames and spreading heat. These masses of flame, mingling together, were rapidly caught up by a strong wind spreading them in every direction.

"They were accompanied by a succession of whistling noises and explosions caused by falling walls and the explosion of inflammable materials...to these sinister outbreaks added themselves the cries and yells of the watched people who were caught by the flames in the houses which they had entered to pillage...Motionless and in the silence of stupor we looked on at this horrible and magnificent spectacle, with the feeling of our absolute helplessness to render any assistance.”

Napoleon ordered that alleged "incenderiasts" in Moscow to be hunted an executed. The city governor took credit for starting the fire, but some blamed it on "the result of disorder and the habit of Cossacks" [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

The ploy of burning down the city was used by Peter the Great against the Swedes in 1709. It worked then and worked again against the French, who were forced to abandoned the deserted city after Napoleon tried unsuccessfully t negotiate with czar and winter approached..

Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow

As the French retreated from Moscow, the Russians pursued them into Central and Western Europe and to the gates of Paris. During the disastrous retreat in the "General Winter and General Famine" the French army fled across Europe and were pursued by the Russian Army under Field Marshall Kutuzov, Cossacks and serf militias raised by Russian landowners. Of the 600,000 French-led men that participated in the Russian campaign only 30,000 returned to Paris.

Napoleon returned pretty much the way he came. The battlefield at Borodino he wrote "was covered with the debris of helmets, carcasses, wheels, weapons, rags of uniforms—and 30,000 corpses half-eaten by wolves!" At Studënka, temperatures of 30 and 40 below zero wiped out more of the French army. Russian officers kept warm in fur hats taken from the dead grenadiers which were scattered all over the roads and shelters made from walls made of dead bodies, both French and Russian.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the traditionally unruly and undisciplined Cossacks were organized into regiments that fed on the sick and wounded in Napoleon's retreating army like a pack of wolves. A Prussian officer, who observed the merciless tactics, later told his wife: "If my feelings had not been hardened I would have gone mad. Even so it will take many years before I can recall what I have seen without shuddering." [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

At the River Berezina, near Minsk, the Russians destroyed the bridges and trapped the French army. Two small bridges were erected in 20 hours and it took three days for the army to cross. On the first two day the French kept the Russians preoccupied but on the third day panic erupted when the Russians attacked the stragglers at the end of the line. "The strongest threw into the river those who were weaker," wrote one officer, "and...trampled underfoot all the sick whom they found in their way...Others, hoping to save themselves by swimming, were frozen in the middle of the river, or perished by placing themselves on pieces of ice, which sunk to the bottom. Thousands and thousands...were lost."

Impact of Napoleon's Russian Campaign

Napoleon had abandoned his Grande Armée army before Paris where he wrote: "Perhaps I made a mistake in going to Moscow, perhaps I should not have stayed their long; but there is only a step from the sublime to the ridiculous, and it is up to posterity to judge."

After the allies defeated Napoleon, Alexander became known as the savior of Europe, and he played a prominent role in the redrawing of the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In the same year, under the influence of religious mysticism, Alexander initiated the creation of the Holy Alliance, a loose agreement pledging the rulers of the nations involved--including most of Europe--to act according to Christian principles. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

More pragmatically, in 1814 Russia, Britain, Austria, and Prussia had formed the Quadruple Alliance. The allies created an international system to maintain the territorial status quo and prevent the resurgence of an expansionist France. The Quadruple Alliance, confirmed by a number of international conferences, ensured Russia's influence in Europe. *

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated May 2016

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