Catherine the Great & Assassination of Peter III I

Lead: From relatively obscure beginnings, Sophie Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, married her powerful appetites to ruthless ambition and became Catherine the Great.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was her fortune to be connected in her mother’s line to one of the premier houses of Germany, the Dutchy of Holstein. This gave her rank and eligibility among upwardly mobile 18th century European aristocrats. Her family played well the game of marriage intrigue and Sophie ended with one of the great prizes. She was betrothed to the grandson and heir of Czar Peter the Great of Russia. The young man, Karl, who later took the name Peter III, was one of history’s truly accomplished nit-wits. He never realized that intellectually he had married above his station.


Charge of the Light Brigade III

Lead: Made famous in verse and legend the Charge and decimation of the Light Brigade was due to a misunderstood order.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Determined to punish the Russians for having their aggressive designs in the Balkans, the French and British in the fall of 1854 attacked the port of Sebastopol, Russia's Black Sea Naval base in the Crimean peninsula. They were not having an easy time of it. The allies were just barely able to hold onto their base in the small port of Balaclava.

The Charge of the Light Brigade took place on a flat plateau above Balaclava. It was split by a range of low hills, the Causeway Heights running if one can imagine the face of a clock from nine southeast to about four on the face of a clock. By October 25, 1854 the Russians had control of the Causeway Heights and their artillery threatened the city.

 

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The Charge of the Light Brigade II

Lead: England and France wanted to teach Russia a lesson. They declared war in 1854.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Fearful of Russian expansion into the Balkans, Britain and France decided to take the port of Sebastopol located on the Crimean peninsula which jutted out into the Black Sea from the southern Russian. In the fall of 1854 British and French set up their headquarters in the Port of Balaclava southeast of Sebastopol and from there conducted assaults on the City.

In the meantime the Russians had not been idle, they had an army of about 25,000 at the center of the peninsula and were beginning to pick at the edges of Allied lines.

 

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Charge of the Light Brigade I

Lead: Remembered in verse and song, the futile charge of the Light Brigade was the result of incompetence and misunderstanding but remains one of the most extraordinary examples of personal gallantry and courage in modern warfare.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The verdict of history has not been kind to the Crimean War fought in the mid-1850s. Deservedly so. Few Europeans had even heard of the Crimea, the peninsula which juts out into the Black Sea from the south of Russia. The returns of the war were very meager: thousands of deaths, enormous expenditure and little tangible result.

 

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Gregori Potemkin – II

Lead: In 1787 Russian Field Marshall Grigori Potemkin, organized a tour of southern Russia for his former lover Catherine the Great. It was among the most lavish royal tours in Russian history.                 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

Content: Girgori Potemkin was a young ambitious military officer when he took part in the palace coup that deposed Peter III, the estranged husband of Catherine the Great. As a reward for his skill and loyalty, Catherine made Potemkin a member of her court. He became infatuated with her. In 1768, when the first war with Turkey broke out, Potemkin returned to the military and served in the cavalry, rising to the rank of major general. For his distinguished service at the end of the war, Catherine made Potemkin a count and the two began a two-year affair. She said of him, “He is one of the greatest, most bizarre, and most entertaining eccentrics of this iron age." Even after their romantic liaison ended, Potemkin remained one of Catherine's most powerful, capable and influential advisors. When Catherine annexed the Crimea thus expanding  Russia's borders on the Black Sea, Potemkin served as governor of the new province and developed its infrastructure. Anxious to demonstrate his expertise, Potemkin organized a visit by the Empress to the Crimea in 1787.

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Gregori Potemkin – Part I

                Lead: In 1762, Grigori Potemkin, and ambitious young officer, secured his political and affectional future leading the coup that overthrew unpopular Czar Peter III in favor of his wife. She became Catherine the Great Grigory became her lover.               

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

                Content: Grigori was born in 1739, studied at the University of Moscow and entered the military as quartermaster of horse guards. Catherine, ten years his senior was the daughter of a minor German prince married at age sixteen to Peter, heir to the Russian throne. Catherine on the other hand was ambitious, determined and bright and had acquired a brilliant education as young woman. By the time her husband ascended to the throne as Peter III in early 1762, Catherine disliked her husband intensely. He may have borne the name of his grandfather Peter the Great, but that is where the comparison ended. He was regarded as weak and incompetent and much of the court shared Czarina’s disdain for her husband. A mere six months after the coronation he was deposed in a palace coup d’etat and a short time later the Czar “died in an accident.” Actually he was murdered while in the custody of one of the conspirators. Power was handed to Catherine who ascended the throne with the support of her lover and chief schemer, Grigori Orlov.

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The Women’s Movement Pre-Revolutionary Russia – II

Lead: During the twenty-six year reign of Russian Czar Alexander II, which began in 1855, three major women’s movements arose to challenge the status quo.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

                Content: Romanov Czar Alexander II, part of the Romanov line of Russian rulers, is known as the “czar liberator” because of his reforms and his emancipation in 1861 of 23 million Russian serfs - about half of the peasant class.

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The Women’s Movement Pre-Revolutionary Russia – I

                Lead: In 1861 Czar Alexander II of Russia freed the serfs. This act of emancipation helped fuel one of the most unlikely women’s liberation movements in  the nineteenth century. 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Until the 1900s the legal and social position of women in Russia, indeed in most of the European world, was suppressed. A broad general belief, held by both sexes, was that men had the God-given right of dominion over women and children. This control, it was generally believed, provided structure for the family and a firm foundation for state and church order.

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