Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Greanville Post • Vol. IX | The Siege of Sevastopol (1941-42): Why Crimea Matters to Russians


The Siege of Sevastopol during the Second World War is almost unknown in the West. If most educated Westerners have some knowledge of the battles of Moscow and Stalingrad and of the siege of Leningrad, scarcely any know of the passionate eight month defence of Sevastopol against overwhelming odds in what was for the Russians the darkest period of the war.

There are times when this ignorance appears to be the product less of indifference and more of deliberate historical suppression.

For historically minded Britons words like “Siege of Sevastopol” and “Crimean War” conjure up memories not of the Second World War but of the war the British and French fought in the Crimea against the Russians from 1854 to 1856.

Memories of that earlier war seem at times to be used to obscure the far greater and more important war that was fought in the Crimea during the Second World War.

Consider for example a recent work from 2010 like “Crimea: The Last Crusade” by the British historian Orlando Figes.  Not only does this work about the Crimean war of the 1850s manage to make no reference to the far greater conflict fought in Sevastopol and the Crimea during the Second World War, but it contains deeply misleading passages like this one:

“…..In Sevastopol there are ‘eternal flames’ and monuments to the unknown and uncounted soldiers who died fighting for the town.  It is estimated that a quarter of a million Russian soldiers, sailors and civilians are buried in mass graves in Sevastopol’s three military cemeteries”.

Complete story at - The Greanville Post • Vol. IX | The Siege of Sevastopol (1941-42): Why Crimea Matters to Russians

The Siege of Sevastopol, by Franz Roubaud, memorializes the assault of that city by a Franco-Turco-British force against Russian defenders.  The Siege lasted from September 1854 until September 1855, during the Crimean War.  The allies’s armies peaked at about 175,000 men, while the Russian garrison never exceeded 38,000.

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