This chapter discusses the nature of the Crimean War, a war which
incorporated much of the old eighteenth-century style of warfare, especially
on the Russian side, but on the allied side saw the beginnings of
twentieth-century industrialized total war. It demonstrates why this put the
Russians, whose agrarian economy was based on serf labor, at an
exponentially greater disadvantage, placing added burdens on the Russian
nurses. In the Russian and Ottoman empires there had been little social
change since the Napoleonic Wars, but the industrial revolution had produced
significant changes in Britain, France, and Piedmont-Sardinia. At the same
time, in these three countries a humanitarian movement was developing, and
the populations were more literate and better able to put pressure on their
governments, thus politicizing diplomacy and war service. The chapter
explains the very major differences between military and civilian patients.
It also includes an outline of the war as seen by a veteran soldier, and
details the status of medicine and nursing in the 1850s.