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Russian History


The Crimean War brought destruction to Russia’s Black Sea peninsula, but, like Napoleon’s invasion fifty years earlier, the war also became a central event in Russia’s national history. In his The Origins of the Crimean War (1994), David Goldfrank introduced readers to the complex diplomatic wrangling that led to the Crimean War. This article seeks to explain how and why the Crimean War (or “first great defense”) rivals only World War II (the “second great defense”) in the Sevastopol’s urban biography. Because of the work of writers, filmmakers, sculptors, and architects who during and after World War II began to link the “first great defense” with the second and used images similar to Lev Tolstoy’s a century earlier, Sevastopol retains its close connection to its pre-Revolutionary military history. Even in the Soviet period Sevastopol’s urban biography relied less on the Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War than it did on the Crimean War because of the narrative reframing during the 1940s.


Published as:

Karl D. Qualls, "The Crimean War’s Long Shadow: Urban Biography and the Reconstruction of Sevastopol after World War II," in "Russia beyond the Traditional Boundaries: Essays in Honor of David M. Goldfrank," ed. Michael G. Smith, Isaiah Gruber, and Sandra Pujals, special issue, Russian History 41, no. 1-2 (2014, forthcoming).

This author pre-print is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Brill's Website.