The Autocrat’s War

The Emperor Nicholas was alone in his accustomed writing-room in the Palace of Czarskoe Selo, when he came to the resolve. He took no counsel. He rang a bell. Presently an officer of his Staff stood before him. To him he gave his orders for the occupation of [the Danubian] Principalities. Afterwards he told Count Orloff what he had done. Count Orloff became grave, and said, “This is war.”  Alexander William Kinglake The Invasion of the Crimea, 1863  Alexander William Kinglake, the nineteenth-century British travel writer and historian who published a history of the Crimean War in eight volumes, could hardly have known how and in what surroundings Nicholas I made the fateful decision that caused the declaration of war by the Ottomans. In the imagination of nineteenth-century historians and writers, wars were the products of high politics, and the Crimean War, one of the most senseless, ridiculous, and tragic

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