COVERAGE OF THE CRIMEAN WAR AND HOW IT CHANGED THE PUBLIC’S VIEW (RUSSELL,…
COVERAGE OF THE CRIMEAN WAR AND HOW IT CHANGED THE PUBLIC’S VIEW
Before this time very few people could read.
This started to change in the 1800s due to Sunday schools, charity schools, factory owners giving basic education – literacy rates rose.
By 1850 over half of the population could read and write.
Therefore was more demand for reading material – novels, newspapers, magazines
In 1850 the Public Libraries Act gave free access to all
DEVELOPMENT OF THE RAILWAYS
At this time GB was developing a national rail network.
Improved communications meant that news could be distributed more quickly.
INVENTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY
This developed through the 1830s and 1840s.
By the 1850s it was still a complicated process but reliable enough for photographers to be able to take their cameras into battle zones which gave the public new insight into what war was like.
There were no action shots at this stage, people had to pose and stay still for the photos to be clear.
The electric telegraph was invented (coded messages were sent electronically through metal wires).
This meant that brief bits of news could be transmitted in hours.
There were no direct links from the Crimea to Britain but dispatches from the war zones could be sent in stages by telegraph after Britain had laid a line from the Crimea to their base in Varna.
EG: a report from the Battle of Alma appeared in The Times a week after the battle.
Fenton did not arrive in the Crimea until March 1855 and returned to England in June 1855.
Therefore, he wasn't present for any of the major battles, nor did he see the immediate after effects.
Fenton had not witnessed many things, aware of public concern, however he took a picture of men of the 68th Regiment wearing winter sheepskin coats in order to show that the soldiers would not suffer from the cold.
What the photo cannot convey is any information about when the coats arrived, nor the fact that it was taken in April, when the spring temperature was around 25 °C.
The new photojournalism could at times deceive as well as inform.
Russell was sent to the Crimea with the first wave of allied forces.
He witnessed the Battle of the Alma and his report featured the concerns that soon became common throughout his divatches.
By getting close to the fighting, Russell was able to convey some of the horror that he saw.
He was particularly interested in the treatment of the wounded, the brutality of battlefield surgery and the preparations made for evacuating casualties.
He made unfavourable comparisons between the British army medical service and the better equipped French Russell was also keen to highlight the performance of the generals.
He was critical of Raglan for keeping position on the battlefield after the Alma, rather than pursuing the defeated Russians and driving them away from Sevastopol Raglan explained in the official dispatches that he remained at the Alma in order to organise care of the wounded rather than leave them to the mercies of the local people.
INFLUENCE OF THE TIMES
Correspondents were allowed to travel freely around the war zone.
They kept out of enemy held areas but, within allied-held territory, they could go where they pleased.
The reporters had the opportunity to uncover things authorities might have wished left hidden and see events authorities would rather the public did not know about.
The press had unleashed its new ability to sway public opinion and to affect political change.
The power of the press was also shown in raising money for good causes The Nightingale Fund and the money raised to help Mary Seacole were indications of how the press could mobilise the general public.
After the Crimean War politicians had to give more attention to the press, and to the way government managed information