Well, that was opportune :) Can't wait to read it! We need Flosgon78 to ask more often, it seems!

By the way, any idea of how the Papacy is doing? I know its still early, but it will be interesting to see how the Pope being the President of the Italian Federation will influence the Papacy's response to liberalism and the like (highly doubt that the Church suddenly goes full-on Liberal. But its likely going to be much more willing to engage with liberalism, even if it will likely continue to be hostile to radical leftism and the like.
Once this current war is over, I should have an update going over Europe and Italy in more detail, but as of now the Papacy is essentially the nominal head of the Italian Confederation. On the surface this should give it more influence over the other states of Italy, but the real power behind the Confederation is the Kingdom of Lombardia-Piedmont, resulting in an awkward balance between the two.

I would think that Kastellorizo would be more important to the Greeks than Sazan as apparently, about 10,000 people will live on the island around the end of the century. That said, I could just be overestimating how much the Greeks would care. Also, I wanted to tell you that I have really enjoyed this story, and you have inspired me to learn so much more about Greece. Thank you for that Earl.
Thank you very much!

I'll admit it isn't a perfect comparison as Greece definitely has more of a reason to exert its authority over Kastellorizo as opposed to Sazan.
 
As a part of the Dodecanese Islands, Kastellorizo should be going to Greece per the terms of their agreement with the Ottoman Empire. That said, it will likely fall into a gray area like Sazan island given its close proximity to the Anatolian coast and its distance from the rest of Greece.
Kastellorizo at the time has about 7-8,000 people, Greek in their entirety. Sazan was inhabited by a few flocks of goats. Falling into a grey area is a little difficult with the locals proclaiming union with Greece. :angel:
 
Kastellorizo at the time has about 7-8,000 people, Greek in their entirety. Sazan was inhabited by a few flocks of goats. Falling into a grey area is a little difficult with the locals proclaiming union with Greece. :angel:
Yes but if the Ottomans really Put their foot down are the Greeks gonna go to war over a few thousand people? Probably not. I feel like Sazan is important if Greece has any designs on Vlore or if they have a hostile relationship with Albania. Otherwise it Would likely be nothing more than a goat island until today
 
Well, that was opportune :) Can't wait to read it! We need Flosgon78 to ask more often, it seems!

By the way, any idea of how the Papacy is doing? I know its still early, but it will be interesting to see how the Pope being the President of the Italian Federation will influence the Papacy's response to liberalism and the like (highly doubt that the Church suddenly goes full-on Liberal. But its likely going to be much more willing to engage with liberalism, even if it will likely continue to be hostile to radical leftism and the like.
It's my special power ;) lol
 
Part 83: Desperate Measures
Part 83: Desperate Measures


The Hospital of Scutari

The end of the 1855 campaigning season would be met with a sigh of relief in London, but also some concern as the war against Russia was far from what they had originally envisioned. Thus far, Great Britain itself had been spared the worst effects of the war thanks to its distance from the battlefronts and vaunted Royal Navy, but the same could not be said for their ally, the Ottoman Empire who was in dire straits with the collapse of the Anatolian front earlier that year. Defeat after defeat by the Ottomans in the East had seen them pushed from Abkhazia and Erivan in the Spring to Trabzon and Erzincan by the Fall. At the end of the year, the Russians were on the doorstep of the Anatolian Plateau, threatening the very heartland of the Ottoman Empire. The situation in the West was not looking good either as their gallant defense of Rumelia had left their armies there depleted and exhausted, whilst the Russian losses were made good with the arrival of fresh conscripts later that Winter.

By December 1855, a small minority within the Ottoman Government were openly calling for peace with the Russians. They argued that the Sublime Porte had been strong armed into this disastrous war by the British, only to bare the brunt of the fighting and the majority of the cost. Moreover, their supposed ally would coerce them into ceding their own territory to Greece, a non-belligerent who actively aided the Russians with their seditionism. Therefore, it was only right and just that London contribute more to the war effort, either in men, material, or money, preferably all three. If they did not, then they saw no reason to continue paying the price for “Britain’s war”. Whilst the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Sir Stanford Canning would report that this opinion was only a minor one in 1855, he would remark that it was growing at an alarming rate and recommended immediate action to alleviate Ottoman concerns.

Unfortunately for Canning, Britain was already providing a substantial amount in aid to the Turks, already providing millions of pounds in loans to the Ottoman Government. They were also supplying the Ottoman Army with dozens of cannons, thousands of rifles, and tens of thousands of Minié balls, cannon balls, and other such munitions. More than that, around 90,000 British soldiers and sailors were deployed in the Ottoman Empire, aiding in its defense, while another 20,000 sailors and marines were fighting in the Baltic and 4,000 more were in the Pacific. Yet this considerable commitment was not enough to overcome Russia, nor was it enough to satisfy the Sublime Porte and with the Turks recent defeats in the East, London was hesitant to offer more.

The declaration of war by the Qajari Empire, followed soon after by the revolt of the Sepoys in India would only complicate matters for Westminster. Now pulled in two different directions, Great Britain simply did not have the manpower to fight and win both the war against Russia and the Revolt in India at the same time.[1] It would have to choose which to give up and which to fight for if it wanted to salvage a rapidly deteriorating situation. Naturally, India would win out over the Ottomans as it was the crown jewel of the British Empire, but neither did they want to abandon all their investments in the Ottoman Empire to the Russian barbarians. In the end, Palmerston and Parliament resolved not to draw down their forces in Rumelia or Anatolia. Instead, they would draw upon new units to reinforce their soldiers in India and hope that they could satisfy the disgruntled Turks with additional coin and weapons.

There was only one problem with this, Britain itself was running out of trained soldiers to call upon. Of the prewar Army of 160,000 soldiers, around two thirds were almost always in the colonies enforcing Westminster’s will across the globe. Several regiments had been recalled to Europe prior to the war with Russia, but a dozen regiments were still in the UK at the outbreak of the Sepoy Mutiny, while nearly a third remained overseas. Firstly, those regiments still in the United Kingdom would be mobilized and immediately sent to India. Next, orders were dispatched to the colonial garrisons of British North America and British Australia. These units would be pared down to the absolute minimum in the Spring of 1856, with local militias assuming control over local defense and policing. Similarly, the garrison in the Cape Colony would also be reduced, albeit not to the same degree as the Canadian and the Australian colonies given the recent unrest by the Xhosa people. The garrisons of New Zealand, West Africa, the Caribbean, and China, however, were explicitly left intact given their high importance and general restlessness at the time.

There was also significant consideration given to mobilizing the British volunteer guards; the Militia, the Yeomanry Cavalry, the Royal Veteran Battalions, and the Fencibles. However, as their deployment would leave the Home Isles virtually defenseless, their deployment was not seriously considered. Nevertheless, Whitehall and Westminster would permit volunteers from these units to serve overseas in the Balkans or India. Overall, the British Government would succeed in organizing another 2 divisions worth of men from their colonial garrisons and home units, yet this massive mobilization of Britain’s entire standing army for two separate conflicts would stretch their manpower dangerously thin.


Members of the Yeomanry Cavalry
To combat this, Parliament would enact a number of “War Acts”, providing lucrative enlistment bonuses and shorter enlistment contracts in an effort to entice new recruits.[2] These initiatives would find some success among the Scots and Welsh, but overall they gained few English or Irish volunteers. Typically, members of the military generally came from the poorer strata of society with little chance for upward economic or social advancement as it provided a steady wage and opportunity for adventure that couldn’t otherwise be earned on a homestead or in a mine. On the whole, the English were wealthier than their Scottish, Irish, and Welsh neighbors thanks to the bustling industry and trade of their lands. Moreover, army life was looked down upon by most Englishmen as a crude and unpleasant existence, prompting many respectable men to shy away from the service. The Irish in contrast, were generally the poorest of the British peoples, and often subject to intense discrimination by their English landlords, making Army life a good option for many. Yet in this instance, they refrained where they had normally would have jumped at the opportunity.

The reasoning for this was largely political as the Irish Independence organization, Young Ireland compelled the Irish people not to heed Westminster’s Blood Tax. Young Ireland had gained an immense following on the Emerald Isle after it openly challenged Parliament’s botched handling of the recent Potato Famine, a tragedy that had killed over half a million people and prompted another half million to emigrate abroad. Even in 1856, eight years after the onset of the Great Famine, many Irishmen were still suffering from its lingering affects; orphaned girls resorted to prostitution to survive, while orphaned boys often turned to lives of brigandry. Entire villages were wiped out by the famine, cities were depopulated and the countryside was emptied. Thousands continued to leave Ireland every year since, owing to poor prospects at home and better opportunities abroad.

Beyond the economic and demographic repercussions of the Famine, there were also the political ramifications to consider within Ireland as the poor management of the crisis by Parliament sparked a national reawakening among the Irish people. They no longer wished to be treated as second rate citizens or indentured servants by the English, they wanted equality and representation, and if they couldn’t get that within the United Kingdom then many suggested that Ireland move towards independence. The message to Parliament was clear, if they wanted more Irish sons to fight its wars, then they wanted something in return and what they wanted was autonomy.

Not wanting to give in to seditionists and partisans, Westminster initially refused to make concessions to the Irish and the matter was shelved for several weeks until ominous reports from India prompted Parliament to reconsider their stubborn position. Desperately short of manpower and being pressed hard on multiple fronts, Prime Minister Palmerston had little choice but to made peace with the Irish if it hoped to gain their support. However, many within Parliament, particularly Palmerston's own Tories supporters were apoplectic, believing such a measure would mark the end of the British Empire as other groups would be encouraged to seek their own autonomy. Some, however, specifically those in the Irish Brigade (Irish MPs) and the Whigs considered this to be a defining moment for the Empire to reform itself. Lastly there was the Duke of Wellington’s deathbed plea to Parliament in 1849, calling upon them to preserve the Union between Ireland and Great Britain.

Ultimately, the Irish Dominion Act of 1856 would pass, endowing upon Ireland the legal authority to form its own local legislature. This legislature would be empowered to enact legislation and regulations over local matters, paving the way for land reform, ecclesiastical reform, and more in the years to come. The Irish Parliament would remain subordinate to the Parliament in Westminster, but for now the Irish Nationalists were largely appeased, and with mild trepidation, they gave their blessing to Irish men lending their lives to the British war effort. By year’s end, around 23,000 Irish men and boys would enlist, providing a sizeable boost to the beleaguered British Army. Most would be used to reinforce the depleted regiments in the Balkans, but enough would be formed together into a sixth Division of Infantry under the command of Major General George Bell, which would be sent to India later in the year. However, the raising of this “Irish Division” would completely exhaust Britain’s native manpower. Short of conscription, there was no one else willing to serve.

Conscription was an immensely unpopular proposal in Britain and had been vehemently opposed by the public in the Summer of 1855, when a bill legalizing conscription was floated in the Commons. Fears of public unrest became quite serious, forcing Parliament to table the measure less than a fortnight after it first emerged. Attempts to revive the conscription issue in early 1856 would meet a similar fate, forcing Parliament to look the Continent for more men. The idea of a Foreign Legion was not a new one in Britain as the Empire had fielded a German Legion during the Napoleonic Wars to great effect. Despite its potency, public opposition to foreigners in the army and sharp reductions in military spending would to lead to its dissolution shortly after the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.


Members of the King’s German Legion
Here too, the proposal of establishing a new Foreign Legion was met with opposition by members of the British public and Members of Parliament, who had come to view continentals with suspicion and contempt for their inaction against the Russian Barbarians. British wartime propaganda would be particularly harsh towards the Germans, specifically the Prussians and Austrians for their overt friendliness towards St. Petersburg. But with the Spring campaigning season fast approaching and the situation in India worsening, Parliament pushed ahead in spite of public resistance passing the Foreign Enlistment Act into law in early March 1856.[3]

Over the next month, Britain would dispatch nearly 500 recruiting agents across the continent, accepting volunteers from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden-Norway, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands. Despite initial pessimism on the part of Westminster and Whitehall, they would find more volunteers than they originally bargained for. All told they would successfully raise another three brigades of line infantry, a brigade of light infantry, a brigade of cavalry, and a brigade of artillery for military service for a grand total of over 16,000 men. Around half of these recruits were of German origin, most of whom were former fighters of some defeated cause from the Revolutions of 1848, making for an odd grouping of liberals and conservatives. There were also several thousand Swiss, Swedes, Italians, and Spaniards rounding out this new formation, with a few Poles, Hungarians and Danes for good measure.

These men of the British Foreign Legion would be paid a generous enlistment bonus of 20 Pounds Sterling upon signing a contract of military service, after which they would receive free passage to Britain and begin their training. At the end of the war they would be allowed to return to their countries of origin at the expense of the British Government, or if they so desired, they could remain in British military service. The contingents of this British Foreign Legion would be organized by nationality and led by their own officers - provided they could speak passable English, resulting in the formation of 9 regiments of Germans, 5 regiments of Italians, 3 regiments of Swiss, a regiment of Swedes and a mixed regiment of the other nationalities. Once they were sworn into the service, they would be issued their uniforms and rifles, receive a month of intensive military training, and then be shipped off to fight against Russia in the Ottoman Empire.

The arrival of the Foreign Legion in the Balkans in mid-July would free up the depleted 3rd Infantry Division to withdrawal to Constantinople for two weeks of rest and recuperation, before shipping out for India later that Summer. Of particular note, the men of the 3rd Division would be among the first to travel through the now mostly completed Suez Canal, sailing more than three quarters of the way down the canal, before marching overland for the remaining 29 miles of the journey. They would arrive in Bombay before the end of August. However, the raising of all these new soldiers, not to mention the cost of their uniforms, weapons, and continued upkeep would create a massive new expenditure for the already encumbered British Treasury.

As of January 1856, Britain had spent over 100 million Pounds Sterling financing the war effort against Russia between the payment of wages for its military personnel, the payment of enlistment bonuses, the purchasing and production of munitions, the maintenance of the Royal Navy, the loans to the Ottomans, and the bribes to key Austrian and Prussian politicians to keep their states neutral in this fight. Even before this rapid expansion of the Army, the Government’s debt was expanding at a rapid rate. The British Government had attempted to overcome this problem by encouraging the public to buy war bonds, and this had met to moderate success when public enthusiasm for the war was at its height and victory seemed possible. Now in the Spring of 1856, the public had begun to sour on the war; victory seemed unlikely at best and impossible at worst. Worse still, deficit spending was increasing at a such a rate that the UK could only continue its current spending for another year or two at most before it would run out of money and be forced to make peace.

To cover the increased costs of the war, Parliament would enact Sir Robert Peel’s proposal of a progressive tax on income for all households making more than 100 Pounds Sterling a year. The tax rate would increase depending on the income of the household in question. Those at the bottom of the scale would pay approximately 5 pence whereas those nearer the top would pay considerably more. Although it wouldn’t completely solve Britain’s money shortfalls, it would buy them time. Unfortunately, the measure was also incredibly unpopular among the British people who did not appreciate another added cost for the war with Russia. The people would ultimately accept the measure, albeit begrudgingly, when Palmerston and his government declared that it would only be a temporary measure that will be repealed at the end of the current conflict.

The final obstacle facing the British Empire during the opening months of 1856 as the abhorrent medical and logistical systems utilized by the Army in the Balkans, which sapped the fighting strength of the Balkan Expeditionary Force. Many thousands of British troops had succumbed to battle wounds or illness, costing the Army immensely. Most of these deaths and maimings could have been prevented with better treatment or better conditions in the Allied camp. However, many deaths were also the result of criminal negligence and incompetency on the part of British leadership in Whitehall and Westminster who had originally envisioned a short war that would see the backwards Russians beaten by Christmas. When this failed to happen, the rank and file were left to suffer the consequences of their leader’s overconfidence.

Winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots were in short supply despite the great quantity of weapons and munitions in the British camp. Similarly, bread and meat were quite plentiful, but cooks were a rarity in besieged Silistra, forcing many soldiers to cook for themselves. While this was not an issue for those who had grown up in the British countryside, those from the cities of England and Scotland were woefully unprepared, leading many to get sick. Doctors were also few and far between as many of the civilian physicians had fled the area at the onset of the war, while those that remained were worked to the bone. Army doctors collapsing from exhaustion was a common occurrence and in one instance, a surgeon would even die from over exertion.As a result, many sick and wounded would be sent to Scutari for further medical treatment.

Unfortunately, the conditions at the hospital at Scutari were just as deplorable; the floors were awash in blood and dirt, while the air was stagnant with the stench of death. News of this travesty would quickly make its way to the British Isles over the Winter, prompting a great public outcry condemning the Government for its failings and called for immediate action to save the lives of British soldiers. Caught off guard, the British Government would make a few half-hearted reforms to improve the conditions for the Army, sending winter uniforms, coal, and stoves to the Balkans – most of which wouldn’t arrive until the middle of Spring. Beyond that, however, little else was done by Parliament as it simply lacked the wherewithal to act upon such a crisis. With the Government proving incapable of lending proper aid in a timely fashion, many women, young and old would volunteer their services as nurses and cooks for the Army in its stead, often traveling to the Ottoman Empire at their own expense to aid in the war effort. Over the Spring, several hundred women, often times the mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives of soldiers made the long journey from all across the Empire to aid their men.


Several Nurses who served in the Balkans
There was also considerable diplomatic pressure applied to the nearby Kingdom of Greece to offer medical and logistical support to the British Army. Per the terms of the Treaty of Corfu, signed between British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston and Greek Deputy Prime Minister Panos Kolokotronis, the Greek State was inclined to offer its support to the British war effort, short of providing war materials. In return, the British Government would invest several hundred thousand Pounds Sterling into the modernization and expansion of Greek infrastructure, an act which also benefitted the British to an extent as the Greeks were providing the Royal Navy with unrestricted access to their ports.

Athens would have to walk a fine line, however, as providing too much aid to the British could risk alienating St. Petersburg, whereas providing too little could endanger their relationship with London. They would manage to work around this problem somewhat, by transporting supplies to the Allies via their merchant marine, while simultaneously smuggling goods in and out of Russia’s Black Seas ports. It was a dangerous game that could backfire terribly if any Greek smugglers were caught, but these men were capable seamen who knew how to handle themselves on the sea and had little difficulty evading the sluggish warships of the British and Ottomans with their agile sloops and cutters.

The current health crisis in the Allied Camp would provide Greece with another opportunity to fulfill its end of the bargain. Under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, the Dean of the Kapodistrian School of Medicine at the University of Athens, Dr. Konstantinos Karatheodori proposed sending several of his professors and students to help improve the flagging health of the British Army at Silistra in order to test their skills and learn invaluable lessons. The Greek Government and British Ambassador would agree to Karatheodori’s proposal and began preparing a mission for the front. The leader of this medical mission would be Dr. Konstantinos Vousakis, a professor at the University of Athens' Kapodistrian School of Medicine, and the nephew of former Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Kolettis.

Overall, around 30 Greek doctors and medical students would make the journey from Athens to Scutari where they would be immediately put to work fixing the abhorrent environment many of the sick and wounded found themselves in. Together with the newly arrived nurses from Great Britain, the Greek Doctors and medical students would improve hospital in-processing, bedding, ventilation, and overall cleanliness. By the end of the war, the deaths from illness and disease would drop by a third while deaths by battle wounds dropped by over 50%. Nevertheless, many thousands would still die as the intensity of the 1856 campaigning season increased. One group that did not benefit much from greater Greek involvement in the war were the Ottomans, as tensions between the Greeks and Turks precluded any efforts at cooperation.


One of the Wards in the British Hospital at Scutari

To appease the Sublime Porte, London provided another loan of 10 million Pounds to the Ottoman Government at the beginning of 1856 and promised to deliver another loan every year until the end of the conflict. Britain also made assurances to the Porte that Hungary and Sweden would join the war soon – an ambitious assumption at best and an outright lie at worst. Britain would also appeal to France for further material aid, purchasing another 37,000 Minié rifles, 460,000 Minié balls, and 42 cannons which would be delivered to the Turks before the end of May. The Polish Legion would also see its numbers increased with the arrival of nearly 6,000 Polish patriots from Hungary aiding the Ottomans and British in their fight against the Russians (mostly just to spite the Russians). Many of these men were veterans of the Revolt of 1848, who had extensive experience fighting the Russians and when equipped with modern British Rifles, they would make for an incredibly deadly force, killing scores of Russian infantrymen.

The Porte would receive further good news in late March, when they learned that Ibrahim Pasha, Khedive of Egypt had suddenly died, plunging Egypt into a bitter succession crisis, thus removing a great threat from their southern provinces. The matter of Ibrahim’s succession had not been resolved prior to his untimely demise, leaving his supporters to rally between two very different candidates for the throne. The first and most obvious candidate was Ibrahim’s eldest surviving son, Isma’il Pasha who found great support among the Army, the liberals, and the French as he vowed to continue his father's and grandfather's policies of modernization and westernization. However, under Ottoman law, Isma’il Pasha was not entitled to inherit the Eyalet of Egypt on his father’s death bringing him into conflict with the legalists in Egypt. Moreover, claims of Ibrahim Pasha’s own illegitimacy threw Ismail’s claim into doubt among the conservative elements of Egyptian society.

These caveats allowed his cousin Abbas Pasha, son of Ibrahim’s younger brother Ahmed Tusun Pasha, to make a rival claim for the Egyptian throne owing to his pristine legitimacy and his seniority – he was 43, whereas Ismail was only 25. Abbas had boisterously opposed his grandfather’s and uncle’s economic, political, and societal reforms, and instead favored a return to the traditional values and customs of Egypt. This included a reduction in the Egyptian military, the abolition of Egypt’s monopolies, and perhaps most crucially, better relations with the Caliph (Sultan Abdulmejid) and the Sublime Porte which served him. He was also distrustful of the French who had essentially abandoned Egypt to the mercy of the Turks in 1841. Moreover, he opposed what was clearly becoming more of a master and servant dynamic as opposed to a relationship of two equals that had existed under his illustrious grandfather.

This Francophobia would earn him the support of the British Government which sought to undermine French influence in Egypt, which they themselves hoped to replace. To earn the support of Constantinople, Abbas Pasha also promised to return Palestine and Hejaz to the Sultan's command, although how truthful these promises were, none can truly say. Despite these bold promises, the Porte would refrain from making any major decisions in one direction or the other, owing in large part to the ongoing conflict with Russia which occupied most of their attention. Moreover, Ismail Pasha was incredibly popular among the Egyptian people, and more importantly, the Egyptian Army would likely revolt if they attempted to force Abbas upon them. More than this, however, the Porte was quite happy to let the situation in Egypt play itself out to its natural conclusion, civil war. If the two scions of the house of Kavalali bled each other white, then so much the better for the Porte as it would only aid them in reconsolidating their hold over Egypt once the current war with Russia ended.


The contenders for the Egyptian throne: Isma'il Pasha (Left) and Abbas Pasha (Right)​

Overall, the measures enacted by the British over the Winter of 1856 would not stop the bleeding, as the Russians readied themselves for yet another year of fighting. Unlike the Allies, the situation for the Russians was not quite as dire, at least from a manpower standpoint. Over 100,000 soldiers had been lost to sickness, injury, or desertion in 1855, but all these losses would be easily replaced and then some. The Army of the Danube would see its number increased by another 64,000 with the arrival of four reserve divisions, raising its nominal strength to 312,000 men. Similarly, the Army of the Caucasus would be reinforced back to its original strength of 100,000 soldiers with the arrival of two new reserve divisions. Still, at their current rate, the Russians could sustain another two to three years of fighting before their losses began to truly impact their fighting ability.

There was also the matter of supplying their army as valuable weapons and munitions were lost on campaign in 1855 which could not be replaced easily. Many soldiers carried antiquated muskets, which were greatly outmatched by the rifles of the British and Ottomans and ammunition was also becoming an increasing problem for the Russian Army, as the average soldier only had a handful of bullets. Even if they possessed rifles and the bullets to fire them, it would have made little difference as these soldiers likely couldn’t fire them owing to the nature of the Russian Army. Their officers had little respect for the serfs serving under them, viewing them as cheap fodder that could be easily expended for victory on the battlefield. Russian military doctrine also favored the bayonet charge over fire fights, pinning the outcome of a battle on the elan of their soldiers. While this strategy was effective at times, it was also extremely costly in lives lost resulting in untold numbers of dead and wounded.

The biggest issue facing the Russian Empire at the start of 1856, however was the utter ruin of its economy. With its major Black Sea, Baltic Sea, and Pacific ports blockaded by Allied ships, the Russian export market had all but evaporated. While some products would continue to make their way out of Russia via Greek smugglers or across the land border with Prussia or Austria, their economy effectively imploded as they were product rich and cash poor. To pay for the increasingly costly war - over 600 million rubles had been spent thus far - the Russian Government resorted to printing unsecured bank notes. Naturally, this causes the value of the Ruble to depreciate at an astounding pace, loosing nearly half its value by January 1856. At this rate, the Russian Empire would run out of money far faster than it would run out of men.

To get around this issue, taxes on the serfs were increased, but this alone was not enough to balance the Russian Government, forcing the Tsar's ministers to look for other solutions. Several alternatives were proposed, but each was rejected in kind, until finally, the Governor-General of occupied Galicia-Lodomeria, Count Fyodor Ridiger suggested taxing the occupied province. Officially, the Kingdom of Galicia-Lodomeria remained a province of the Austrian Empire on paper, but in truth they exercised little authority in the region, effectively leaving its governance to the Russians in all but name.

This situation had suited both parties well enough over the last few years, but following Austria’s refusal to join the Great Eurasian War as per the terms of their alliance with Russia, relations between the two states gradually worsened. The Austrians would attempt to excuse their neutrality with claims of a ruined economy and an exhausted army, but the Russian ambassador in Vienna would report that British diplomats had bribed certain members of the Emperor Franz Joseph’s cabinet to ensure their neutrality. Regardless of the truth behind these allegations, the Russian Government would not look favorably upon this Austrian duplicity and moved ahead with plans to tax Galicia-Lodomeria as if it were any other province of the Russian Empire. While it would not resolve their money problem completely, it would give them enough time for one final push.

Next Time: Breaking Point

[1] ITTL Westminster was planning on using the Sepoys in their fight against Russia, prompting the East India Company to enact the General Service Act which would have allowed Sepoys to serve overseas, which contributed somewhat to their later revolt. Obviously, this won’t be happening now as it would only worsen the situation in India, which is already quite strained.

[2] Parliament enacted similar policies during the Napoleonic Wars only to repeal them in 1829, so if they really needed to they could have done something like this if they needed to increase recruitment without resorting to conscription.

[3] There was in fact a British German Legion that was raised during the OTL Crimean War, but owing to public opposition and the fact that they were winning the war, there was less of a necessity to recruit a large number of them. Nevertheless, they still raised around 6,000 men, but by the time they were ready to fight, the war was over. Most would return to their homelands after the Crimean War, but around 2,000 would remain in the British Empire, settling in the Cape Colony and then later helping to put down the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857.
 
Soo... the British are effectively antagonizing France in Egypt, in the middle of a war going less than well? This has every chance of backfiring as is the Ottoman hope that there's going to be any short of prolonged internal struggle... If I was making bets, I would not be making any on the life expectancy of Abbas if he's to remain in Egypt. Most likely Ismail's side will be willing in short order between their control of the army and at a fair guess most of the government. After all Ibrahim was probably putting supporters of his own son in place for the past several years.

And would the Egyptians allow passage of British troops through their territory to go to India as described here?

Another minor note... so Karatheodoris instead of Constantinople were he taught in the imperial school of medicine in OTL, instead moved to Athens TTL? Is his cousin if he exists also in Athens?
 
Another great update Earl!

Glad Britain is getting its just deserts, and for Hellas to be able to walk the line between the Russ and Albion. Do people think that the Corinthian Canal will be completed by the end of this war or later?
 
Soo... the British are effectively antagonizing France in Egypt, in the middle of a war going less than well? This has every chance of backfiring as is the Ottoman hope that there's going to be any short of prolonged internal struggle... If I was making bets, I would not be making any on the life expectancy of Abbas if he's to remain in Egypt. Most likely Ismail's side will be willing in short order between their control of the army and at a fair guess most of the government. After all Ibrahim was probably putting supporters of his own son in place for the past several years.

And would the Egyptians allow passage of British troops through their territory to go to India as described here?

Another minor note... so Karatheodoris instead of Constantinople were he taught in the imperial school of medicine in OTL, instead moved to Athens TTL? Is his cousin if he exists also in Athens?
Perfidious Albion at its finest!:biggrin:, but its not so much antagonizing the French as it is just proposing an alternative to the French. Also, the Ottomans don't really know how weak Abbas' standing is right now, nor do they have the resources to support him even if they wanted to given their other commitments. Overall, Ismail is in a much stronger position than Abbas so the "conflict" between the two wouldn't last very long if it even gets that far.

Egypt allowed them to march across the Sinai in OTL, so I don't see why they wouldn't be allowed to do so here. Okay, I might be going crazy because I can't find the source I used for this particular snippet, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the Line regiments stationed in Malta that made the crossing in OTL. I'll keep looking for it, but if I can't I'll edit it accordingly.

I haven't decided on Alexander Karatheodoris' whereabouts given the fact that he was born well after the POD, but if he did exist ITTL, I would think he'd be in Greece alongide his cousin. Konstantinos is in Greece due to butterflies, which I'm retroactively saying were a chance encounter he had with Ioannis Kapodistrias whilst studying in London way back in 1830. This encouraged him to go to Athens and not Constantinople ITTL and while the first few years were rough, he would be one of the founding heads of the University of Athen's School of Medicine.

Another great update Earl!

Glad Britain is getting its just deserts, and for Hellas to be able to walk the line between the Russ and Albion. Do people think that the Corinthian Canal will be completed by the end of this war or later?
Thank you!

The Greeks had made some progress on their own, getting around an eighth of the way through the canal, but rock slides and a few worker deaths halted all work for the time being. After a year long hiatus work would start up again in late 1855/early 1856 with nominal British oversight and technical support. They probably won't finish the canal before the end of the war, but they will make good progress before then and probably finish it sometime before the end of the decade.
 
One thing I can see backfiring long term is devolution for the Irish. I mean, and I apologize for getting a little political here, we are seeing now that it's backfired on Parliament with the Scottish. When you can see that your national parliament is better able to serve your needs and govern than the UK-wide one and the areas it isn't are areas that the UK one refuses to devolve those powers... well devolution is a band-aid. Eventually, without proper reform to give better representation, it is only going to fuel independence more. Also, it is definitely possible that other areas of the UK empire may see Ireland getting their shiny new parliament and start wondering why they can't have that too.
 
One thing I can see backfiring long term is devolution for the Irish. I mean, and I apologize for getting a little political here, we are seeing now that it's backfired on Parliament with the Scottish. When you can see that your national parliament is better able to serve your needs and govern than the UK-wide one and the areas it isn't are areas that the UK one refuses to devolve those powers... well devolution is a band-aid. Eventually, without proper reform to give better representation, it is only going to fuel independence more. Also, it is definitely possible that other areas of the UK empire may see Ireland getting their shiny new parliament and start wondering why they can't have that too.
I think it depends on how well the local parliament runs Ireland and addresses local issues. If they're good and competent, then full independence is more or less pushed to being on the fringes of Irish politics, maybe even permanently. If they're incompetent, then Irish nationalists are satisfied for a generation or two before demanding independence again.

But I agree that other parts of the Empire will soon be demanding their own local parliaments, especially Scotland and Wales.
 
Another question regarding the efficacy of the Irish reforms is whether they will be properly representative of all Ireland (i.e. locate the assembly in Dublin) or continue the trend of privileging the Protestant Ascendancy in Ulster at the expense of the island's Catholic majority. Either way, it's better than nothing to quell separatist agitation for the immediate future, but in order to truly integrate all of Ireland into the UK, the political settlement will need to be sufficiently egalitarian (and probably rankle quite a few Ascendancy feathers in the process).

Great update, by the way! Things are coming to a head in the Eurasian War, and it's only a matter of time before the Allies fold. It looks like the "stab-in-the-back myth" is already developing in Ottoman circles, although perhaps it would be more accurate to describe it as a "dragged-in-front-of-a-freight-train myth" with how they're blaming the UK for getting them into the war to begin with. If their relations are soured permanently by this mess, the Ottomans will become even more diplomatically isolated than before, leaving them with less development and fewer options for conflict resolution. That being said, with the way the war has been chewing up men on both sides, they won't have to face a significant threat from the Russian Bear for a good while yet after peace is made.
 
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Excellent update! We see the English at their "best", sending other people to fight their wars. :rolleyes:
I guess the war will end in1856. Both parties are exhausted . However, the taxation in Galicia-Lodomeria might force the Austrian Empire to declare war to the Russians (or at least stop any trade relations and send some "volunteers" to fight against Russia).
So, if I am not mistaken, Dr. Konstantinos Karatheodori is the OTL grandfather of this prominent mathematician? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Carathéodory
 
The Eaglet in Paris is in a uniquely advantageous position. Britain has spent much treasure and blood already, way more than in OTL. Now every single regiment of the British Army is deployed in the Balkans or India. The majority of the RN has to maintain the blockade of the Baltic and Black Seas. Few times in history, French could catch the British so overstretched. What will the new Emperor do?

We only can judge his cousin's OTL policies. I am of the opinion that personal politics do not play a significant role in imperial politics. A king/president/emperor does not know everything and does not have a strong opinion on everything. A monarch's opinion is also formulated by the way his cycle presents facts to him. Even Louis XIV - an autocrat who worked incredible hard and wanted to be the source of all decision making- depended upon Louvois and Colbert to filter information back to him. These "filters" formulate policy frameworks. So, France has the same interests and the same groups in Paris are fighting for influence to further their goals.

In "Crowns and colonies: European monarchies and overrseas empires" it is metioned that:
Once on the throne, he endeavoured to restore France as a world leader by modernising the country through economic development. The first test of Napoleon III’s leadership was the Crimean War of 1853–56, a Franco-British and Ottoman alliance against Russian territorial expansion at a time of Ottoman decline. The Emperor’s involvement was based on his desire for a rapprochement with Britain to defend the commercial route to India, a policy of extending French influence in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, a challenge to Russian continental predominance and a spirit of revenge for his uncle’s defeat by Russia in 1812. The victory against the Russian armies strengthened Franco-British cooperation and affirmed Napoleon III’s position as an international leader.
While Napoleon III was inspired by his uncle’s idea, the building of the Suez Canal was in fact ignited by the rising costs of coal needed to fuel the new steamships, a desire to outdo the British in bringing Asia closer to Europe and the circumstances of the Crimean War. Indeed, France’s earlier reliance on Russia as a source of supply for jute and linseed sparked the need to turn to India for these essential commodities. 20 Furthermore, because of geographical factors, France had a greater interest in a commercial passageway through Egypt than the Cape route, which was dominated by Britain. The project also fitted with Napoleon III’s idea of turning the Mediterranean into a ‘French lake’, where French influence extended across North Africa and the Middle East.
Now, the British are paying in blood and gold for challenging the Russian continental predominance. What remains for Napoleon is to increase his influence over Suez and Egypt and take steps in turning the Mediterranean into a french lake. He also needs to focus the french military might in a way to both serve national interests and get a clear triumph (that he didn't get in Belgium) to shore up his political capital. The problem is that most of the good real estate is already taken. Only two strategic locations remain unclaimed: Morocco (and the Gibraltar Strait) and Tunisia (and the Sicilian Strait).

Regarding french influence in eastern Mediterranean, the French have already been working to solidify their position in Lebanon. French diplomats supported the formation of a christian state since the 1840s. The Maronites were always looking west towards France after all.
 
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Excellent update! We see the English at their "best", sending other people to fight their wars. :rolleyes:
I guess the war will end in1856. Both parties are exhausted . However, the taxation in Galicia-Lodomeria might force the Austrian Empire to declare war to the Russians (or at least stop any trade relations and send some "volunteers" to fight against Russia).
So, if I am not mistaken, Dr. Konstantinos Karatheodori is the OTL grandfather of this prominent mathematician? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Carathéodory
Yup. The family tree can be found here. https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Οικογένεια_Καραθεοδωρή

Makes a somewhat interesting read given the connections between Constantinople Greeks very close to the sultan with their Athens counterparts that openly wanted to see the Ottomans destroyed...
 
@Earl Marshal One small quibble, in relation to the Poles and the British Foreign Legion. In this timeline, we've seen Poland embroiled in a much nastier Revolution of 1848 and the Russian boot coming down hard on them. I would suggest that the British are going to find themselves awash in Polish volunteers - you're going to have dispossessed nobility looking to make a name for thmeselves, ideologically driven members of the middle class, and even peasants who's livlihood was ruined by the revolution and who haven't recovered yet. And, at the same time, the British are offering them, I would assume, pretty decent pay AND a chance to smack back against the hated Russian Bear. In other words: what's not to love? I'd even go so far as to suggest that theremight be equal numbers of Poles and Germans in this foreign legion. Even in OTL, Poles found places in the armies of other European powers (it gave them a chance to learn the trade, make international connections, forge a name for themselves, and prepare for the day when Poland would yet be free), and it would seem that this trend would be even stronger in the ATL.

On a sidenote, I'm wondering what is going to be happening with Polish Nationalism, with the collaps of 1848. In OTL, it wasn't until 1861 that Romantic Nationalism was firmly laid to rest, and this lead to the rise of the Warsaw Positivists and Organic Works. This process might be accelerated by a generation here - though many of the thinkers which the Positivists looked up to (who, ironically, weren't exactly Positivists in the non-Polish sense) haven't written yet, by and large. I could see something liek Organic Works developing despite this, but it would be interesting to see the intellectual currents that Polish nationalists are latching onto in this timeline.
 
Great update. it looks like Russia will win, which stands in contrast to its defeat in OTL Crimean War. This could mean a stronger Russia going forward that ends up doing better down the line, such as a strong sphere of influence in the Balkans or Persia. Conversely, the Ottomans might undergo a collapse at worst, or experience a more difficulties at best, when it comes to their fortunes later in the 19th century. We might see them fracture and Russia gobbles up the pieces, or all the Great Powers may intervene in such a situation to preserve or project their own interests in such a scenario.

Coming out of this war the Ottomans would have lost tens of thousands of men, become debt-riddled, possibly developed feelings of embitterment towards the British and ultimately left in a worse-off position than OTL (of course an energetic and dynamic Sultan could still reverse this trend to some degree). Greece seems primed to take advantage, both short- and long-term, of Ottoman misfortune. In the interim they nabbed Thessaly, Epirus, the Ionian Islands and the South Dodecanese without bloodshed and benefited from British investment in their ports, other infrastructure etc. that will help their long-term economic development. Long-term, a weaker Ottomans and stronger Greece raises the possibility for further territorial acquisition of possibly greater magnitude, and at an earlier date, perhaps fulfilling the Megali Idea to some extent.
 
You know I can’t help but think that the only real loser in this war is the Ottomans. Sure Russia and the UK lost plenty of men and, for the UK in particular, treasure. But the UK is likely to recover relatively quickly from their economic slump and the Russians are going to gain a lot of new manpower in the Armenians to make up for what they lost. The ottomans have lost most of their professional army, hundreds of thousands of men, and emptied the treasury. And what do they have to show for all of this? An embarrassing treaty to their mortal enemies, a second tier power, to give up land for not adding to their beating. A loss of territory in the east to Russia and Persia, along with probable losses in the northern Balkans as well. To owe an overwhelming sum to the English that they can never realistically pay back.

This loss is going to leave a burning resentment in the Ottomans. And angry people do stupid things. I can’t help but wonder if they’ll try to repudiate their treaty with Greece in an attempt to save face. That might actually lead to a collapse of the empire assuming the Greeks respond with force and anyone decides to back them. Regardless though I fear for the minorities in the Empire
 
People have talked often about how Greece might seek to take as much territory off the Ottomans as possible in service of the Megali Idea, but at a certain point that comes with significantly more drawbacks than benefits, so I wonder at what point the Greek government might lay off their expansionist tendencies and instead seek to subordinate the Ottomans (or a successor Turkish-majority state) to their will through less direct means. There is certainly a lot of bad blood and desire for grand conquest on both sides, but as the Greek economy continues to grow and modernize while the Ottomans remain trapped in the past, influential business interests may see a certain future level of Greek territorial expansion as final and treat Anatolia as a client-state instead. While still not ideal (and very unlikely for a good while yet), this solution seems more tenable to me than futile attempts to recreate the lost glories of the Byzantines.
 
People have talked often about how Greece might seek to take as much territory off the Ottomans as possible in service of the Megali Idea, but at a certain point that comes with significantly more drawbacks than benefits, so I wonder at what point the Greek government might lay off their expansionist tendencies and instead seek to subordinate the Ottomans (or a successor Turkish-majority state) to their will through less direct means. There is certainly a lot of bad blood and desire for grand conquest on both sides, but as the Greek economy continues to grow and modernize while the Ottomans remain trapped in the past, influential business interests may see a certain future level of Greek territorial expansion as final and treat Anatolia as a client-state instead. While still not ideal (and very unlikely for a good while yet), this solution seems more tenable to me than futile attempts to recreate the lost glories of the Byzantines.
Might be interesting to do something with that as more Anatolian Greeks come under the dominion of the kingdom, they could start identifying themselves as Roman rather than Greeks. Hell it might even draw in some Turks eager to get in with the new masters of the region.
 
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