Crimean War Translation Project

refugee map Crimean War


As the first total war of the modern era, the Crimean War (1853-1856) ushered in new technologies of violence and new modes of civilian-military engagement. In Russia, the toll of violence generated massive social reform (i.e. the freeing of the serfs) and the largest state-sponsored reconstruction effort the world had yet seen. The war destroyed the environment along the northern Black Sea littoral. It forever altered landscapes, and prompted the most sizeable mass migration in Europe prior to the First World War.

The Crimean War was more costly for Russia than Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow, and utterly tragic for Crimea’s majority civilian population, the Crimean Tatars. As Russians waged war against the European Allies, panic drove another battle among officials in the war zone about whether to cleanse the peninsula of its native inhabitants. 

The Crimean War Translation Project will allow a broad spectrum of scholars and students who do not read Russian to engage themes of the war more deeply, to understand this cataclysmic modern conflict through the voices of people who endured it. It also provides critical context for making sense of Russian nationalism and the hostilities in Ukraine today.

A landmark conflict, the Crimean War changed modern warfare and catalyzed social transformation around the globe. Its violence and path to recovery debuted strategies employed in the American Civil War and Reconstruction less than a decade later. With texts emphasizing social and cultural aspects of war, cross-national consequences of violence, as well as history of science and medicine, the texts we are translating probe the human experience of war, and deals with ongoing phenomena relevant in the world today.