Crimean War
1855 Jan 21


England, UK

Dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war was growing with the public in Britain and other countries and was worsened by reports of fiascos, especially the devastating losses of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava. On Sunday, 21 January 1855, a "snowball riot" occurred in Trafalgar Square near St Martin-in-the-Fields in which 1,500 people gathered to protest against the war by pelting cabs and pedestrians with snowballs. When the police intervened, the snowballs were directed at the constables. The riot was finally put down by troops and police acting with truncheons. In Parliament, the Conservatives demanded an accounting of all soldiers, cavalry and sailors sent to the Crimea and accurate figures as to the number of casualties sustained by all British armed forces in Crimea, especially concerning the Battle of Balaclava. When Parliament passed a bill to investigate by the vote of 305 to 148, Aberdeen said he had lost a vote of no confidence and resigned as prime minister on 30 January 1855. The veteran former Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston became prime minister. Palmerston took a hard line and wanted to expand the war, foment unrest inside the Russian Empire and reduce the Russian threat to Europe permanently. Sweden–Norway and Prussia were willing to join Britain and France, and Russia was isolated.