This section of the Archive examines the wars which led up to the First World War, and generally follow a similar structure and formula. These episodes, with the exception of the Greek War of Independence, were all products of the Remastered special I did for WDF's fifth birthday over May-June 2017, wherein we released two episodes every day for five weeks. It was a bit mad, let's just say.
So what should you expect from this section? These wars will all give you a great grounding in the pre-war era, so have a listen to them if you want to familiarise yourself with the era before jumping into something crazy like the July Crisis Anniversary Project. It should be added that although my mad schedule condemned me to not release these episodes in the order that the wars actually occurred, I have positioned each of the episodes chronologically here. See below for a list of the conflicts you can find covered here, and happy listening!
1) Greek War of Independence (1820s)
2) Crimean War (1853-56)
3) Indian Mutiny (1857)
4) Austro-Prussian War (1866)
5) Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
6) Russo-Turkish War (1877-78)
7) First Italo-Ethiopian War (1894-96)
8) Spanish-American War (1898)
9) Boer War (1898-1901)
10) Boxer Rebellion (1900)
11) Russo-Japanese War (1904-05)
The Greek War of Independence
When? This war was fought from 1821-29, with most of the fighting occurring between 1822-24.
Where? The conflict was mostly fought on Turkish occupied Greece, but also spilled into the Balkans and in the Aegean Sea.
Who? It began as a revolt against Turkish rule, and pulled in Russia and Britain on the Greek side, which proved pivotal. Britain would never support Russia internationally again after this conflict - at least not until the decade before the First World War.
Released? I released the Greek War of Independence as part of a WDF lottery I tried out, where one lucky listener got to choose a given war. A happy coincidence was that the winner happened to be Benjamin Ashwell, who you may know as the fellow who runs the rather excellent Italian Unification Podcast.
The Episode: Here we are in Greece! This time we look at the worsening diplomatic and social situation that led to the Greek war for indepedence and the general international concerns over what Russia was doing in the world. Take a look and let me know what you thought!
The Crimean War
When? The war was fought between 1853-56
Where? Almost exclusively on the Crimean Peninsula, then under Russian occupation.
Who? The alliance of Britain, France and Sardinia faced off against Russia, with the Ottomans allied to the coalition and waging their own bitter war.
Released? The Crimean War was released as part of the Remastered Project for WDF's 5th birthday, and was let loose on my listeners in June 2017.
Episode 1: The Crimean War was the ultimate showdown between Britain and its 19th century adversary in Russia, with France thrown in for good measure too! The story is a fascinating one, which shaped European relations and ideas about Russian power for years to come, so I hope you enjoy our new take on it!
Episode 2: Our resumed coverage of the war unravels the terrible tragedies which were perpetuated on the battlefield and inflicted upon the common man. Britain would never sell commissions again, but the unfortunate truth was that Europe would go to war many more times, with results just as devastating as technology outpaced man. Find out what everyone thought about it here
The Indian Mutiny
When? The Mutiny took place in 1857
Where? As the name implies, it occurred on the Indian subcontinent, then under the nominal rule of the British Crown, but still ruled by the East India Company.
Who? Mutineering Indian soldiers faced British professionals and loyalists.
Released? The Indian Mutiny was released in June 2017 as part of the Remastered Project to mark WDF's 5th birthday.
Episode 1: We return to this oft misunderstood event in British and Indian history, and this episode here essentially gives us the excuse we've been waiting for to unwrap the details of Britain's colonial experience in India, which began with great hopes and investment in 1600, when the first voyage set sail to establish what would become the East India Company.
Episode 2: With a well established presence, it remained to be see whether the British would become too big for their boots as their victories piled up and the native resistance vanished, just as the British control over the subcontinent became more total. Through an unintentional process, the incredible fact was that by the 1840s, the British possessed a monopoly on Indian affairs. The problem was this control seemed insufficient - they not only wanted to control Indian resources, but Indian hearts and minds as well. It was surely a recipe for disaster, but it utterly transformed the British Raj and the world once it occurred.
The Austro-Prussian War
When? The war took place in 1866.
Where? Across central Germany, over the Austro-Prussian border and to the south west in Saxony.
Who? A Prussian attack on the Austrian Habsburgs set in motion what was essentially a German civil war between Austria's German allies and Prussia's German allies. The winner would get to determine the fate of whatever Germany existed afterwards.
Released? This war was released as part of the Remastered Project, and was unleashed on our listeners as part of our 5th birthday celebrations in June 2017.
Episode 1: We couldn't redo these episodes without delving into arguably Otto's greatest hit, as he aimed to completely change the status quo in Europe before it was cool. While he would distinguish himself in time, here we set the background in Europe as the German Dualism issue remained intense. Would it be Vienna or Berlin? No spoilers please!
Episode 2: How did Bismarck plan on getting the Austrians to declare war, and could such a feat really be accomplished when a cynical Europe looked on? Bismarck appreciated where he needed affairs to progress, but if he couldn't wait for nature to take its course, he was perfectly willing to shove them in the right direction, whatever the rest of Europe thought.
Episode 3: Here we conclude our analysis of the war. Unable to provoke what he wanted from Vienna, Bismarck would go for broke and make a mountain out of a molehill. For a few precious moments, it seemed as though all was in jeopardy, but then the brilliance of Prussian arms was brought to bear, and all would be transformed.
The Franco-Prussian War
When? This war was fought between 1870-71.
Where? Across the Rhine and into France.
Who? Bismarck's Prussia was joined by Italy against France, in a war that redefined the international order and set the stage for the future course of empires.
Released? This war was released as part of the Remastered Project in line with WDF's 5th birthday in May 2017.
Episode 1: Here we are! The first remastered episode of our special and the official beginning of a very exciting project from WDF. Now that we're finally here I can shut up about it all, and introduce you back into the world which we were last a part of...5 years ago. Thankssss for making all of this possible history friends, and remember to support us at WDF is you are as excited as I am to begin!
Episode 2: Part 2 of the war sees our focus take us into military matters, as well as the way in which the situation was manipulated by Bismarck so that the Iron Chancellor could get exactly what he wanted.
The Russo-Turkish War of 1877
When? As the name implies, the war began in 1877 and lasted for a campaigning year till 1878.
Where? The war was fought in the eastern Balkans, towards Constantinople and in the Caucasus.
Who? The war was fought between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in their final solo scrap in their storied rivalry.
Released? This war was a remastered version of the original, and was released to coincide with the 5th birthday of the podcast in June 2017.
Episode 1: A conflict which should be eerily familiar to you guys, as we've sallied forth into its events and impact on Britain for our Britain Goes To War series. Why should you listen in here? Mainly because this time our focus will not be on Britain alone, and we'll have the opportunity to place all of the continent under the microscope, so come and join us for this important scene setting experience.
Episode 2: As the revolts in their Balkan territories casts a shadow over the Ottoman Empire's ability to conduct itself on the world stage, the other powers weigh in on the debate. Disraeli attempted to ignore the problem, as did Bismarck, while the Vienna watched Bosnia with a barely veiled hunger.
Episode 3: By bringing the war to an end, much of what Bismarck had striven to achieve in Europe fell to pieces. Yet, Bismarck's careful alliance system was far from the only casualty of the peace - the Ottoman Empire, it seemed, was on its last legs. Britain's task of protecting Constantinople from Russia had come close to another war, but it was evidently a task that was far from finished.
The First Italo-Ethiopian War
When? This war began in late 1894, but most of the fighting took place on a single day in spring 1896.
Where? In the ancient African kingdom of Abyssinia, modern day Ethiopia.
Who? Italian imperial soldiers and vassals attacked the Empire of Ethiopia in the name of colonial gains.
Released? This was the final remastered episode of WDF's 5th birthday extravaganza, in June 2017.
Episode 1: The cursed episode returns, as we do our best to improve upon the howlers we made first time around. A revamped episode is your reward, and here we examine the complexities of Italian unification, and how the strength Rome tried to project was mostly paper thin. How this would lead to outbursts in Africa, is another story.
Episode 2: As the war is provoked between Italy and Ethiopia, Francesco Crispi attempts to bring about a victory overseas which would bolster Italian unity at home and Italian prestige in the world concert of powers, but all of these ambitions would be foiled by a tenacious defender far from Italian sensibilities, who, would you believe it, was in fact a lost white man! I hope you enjoyed this, the last uniform remastered episode in this project. Please do get in touch and let me know what you thought of it overall, and make sure you stay tuned for one more collaboration episode.
The Spanish-American War
When? The war was fought primarily in 1898, though associated conflicts dragged on longer, see the Philippines.
Where? Primarily in Cuba, but also in the Carribean and in the Pacific.
Who? American soldiers aided by Cuban rebels against Spanish forces.
Released? This set was released in May 2017 to mark the 5th birthday of the podcast.
Episode 1: Welcome to a trip down memory lane - here we revisit the Spanish American War and all that entailed, but before we do that, I have an important story to tell you guys which goes to show exactly what Zack was going through 5 years ago.
Episode 2: And here is part deux! We conclude our analysis of the Spanish American war, and in the process wrap up a part of history which still profoundly fascinates me 5 years later.
The Boer War
When? The war was fought from 1898-1901.
Where? South Africa in the Transvaal and Orange Republic, named as the Boer Republics.
Who? The Boers, rebellious descendants of the Dutch settlers who once settled on the Cape, battled against the British. Pretty soon Russian, German and French diplomatic agents got involved as well.
Released? This set was released as part of WDF's 5th birthday in June 2017.
Episode 1: The Boer War was a pivotal colonial war fought by Britain's Imperial reserves far away in South Africa against the formerly independent Boer Republics. Here we begin our coverage with some background. By and large it seemed London was content to leave the Boers to themselves. With the discovery of precious materials though, their lives would never be the same. Imperial interest soon evolved into full-scale war.
Episode 2: The international situation takes up a great deal of our time as I approach the era with fresh sources and new eyes, and turn up some incredible facts. Meanwhile, Victoria leaves us all to less glorious eras, and the Boers contemplate defeat.
The Boxer Rebellion
When? the rebellion was fought across the year 1900.
Where? Across the north eastern part of China.
Who? Chinese radical rebels aided by the Empress fought against an Eight Power Western alliance of Italy, the US, Britain, Japan, Germany, Austria-Hungary, France.
Released? this set was released as part of the 5th birthday remastered project in June 2017.
Episode 1: Returning with better pronunciations and ideally a better analysis, we're back with the Boxer Rebellion, which occurred in a tumultuous summer in 1900. Here we examine the circumstances which led to such an event, which itself contributed significantly to the worsening international situation, and played a key part in the increasing Anglo-Russian rivalry. Have a listen and let me know what you thought.
Episode 2: We return and bear witness to the eruption of the Boxer Rebellion, as the Empress and her court feel compelled to throw their lot in with the Boxers, in the face of the insufferable demands of the Eight Power Alliance. How would the rest of the world react to this lucrative and highly beneficial client state descending into turmoil? The truth was, it formed just another chapter in the fractured international system, so I hope you'll give it a listen!
The Russo-Japanese War
When? This war was waged over 1904-05.
Where? Primarily in the Yellow Sea just off the Japanese coast, but also on land in northern Korea and along the south-east of China.
Who? The war pitted the Russian Empire against the Empire of Japan in a 'this town ain't big enough for the two of us' scramble for Asian influence.
Released? This set was released as part of our remastered 5th birthday series in May 2017.
Episode 1: No Russian accents this time - I swears! It brings me great pleasure and joy to deliver into your ears this remastered version of the Russo-Japanese War in two parts. I hope you enjoy this foray into arguably the most important war before the First World War overshadowed everything. I hope you enjoy it, and remember this is ALSO the 5th birthday of BEFIT - so make sure you do that to celebrate!
Episode 2: Welcome back, as the utter stupidity and ineffectiveness of the Russians are laid bare, we also see just how far the Japanese have come since first bursting on the world stage. After this war, nothing would ever be the same again. Thanksss for joining me for it, and I hope you enjoyed it!