Those Damn Crusades

There is lots of opinions about the Crusades…..BTW there were 8 total but there were many minor battles that some could call Crusades.

We in the West know mostly about those Crusades that were successful…..for no one here wants to admit failure…..

The Crusades were a series of military campaigns organised by Christian powers in order to retake Jerusalem and the Holy Land back from Muslim control. There would be eight officially sanctioned crusades between 1095 CE and 1270 CE and many more unofficial ones. Each campaign met with varying successes and failures but, ultimately, the wider objective of keeping Jerusalem and the Holy Land in Christian hands failed. Nevertheless, the appeal of the crusading ideal continued right up to the 16th century CE, and the purpose of this article is to consider what were the motivating factors for crusaders, from the Pope to the humblest warrior, especially for the very first campaign which established a model to be followed thereafter.

https://www.ancient.eu/article/1249/the-crusades-causes–goals/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/crus/hd_crus.htm

Can anyone name the first clash of Muslim-Christian forces in the First Crusade?

The Battle of Dorylaeum, fought on July 1, 1097, marked the first full-scale military clash between the Christian armies of the West and the Muslim armies of the East. As such, it would prove to be an educational experience for both armies, one whose final outcome would have an extreme influence on the course of the First Crusade.

Dorylaeum: The First Christian-Muslim Clash of the Crusades

All the blood and death….were the Crusades a success or not?

To answer the question is this link to a book…..https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/168393

For those allergic to the printed word and reading…I have a short video for your education….

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23 August 1939

On this day in history was a turning point for Europe only a mere 20 years after the end of the Great War (WW1)…..this situation is all but forgotten unless you watch the Hitler Channel….but most Americans have NO idea what this “Pact” actually meant or did……

On this day in 1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact….called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact…..

On August 23, 1939, representatives from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union met and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (also called the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact), a mutual promise made by the two leaders guaranteeing that neither would attack the other.

With the imminence of World War II becoming ever clearer, signing the pact guaranteed Germany protection against the necessity of fighting a two-front war. The Soviet Union was awarded land in return, including parts of Poland and the Baltic States, as part of a secret addendum.

The pact was broken when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union less than two years later, on June 22, 1941.

https://www.thoughtco.com/nazi-soviet-non-aggression-pact-1779994

Vyacheslav Molotov, Russian foreign minister, signs the non-aggression pact negotiated between Soviet Russia and Germany, at the Kremlin, Moscow. Standing behind him is his German counterpart Joachim von Ribbentrop (left), and Joseph Stalin (centre), 23 August 1939.

Germany and the Soviet Union have agreed to conclude a pact of non-aggression. The surprising announcement was made in Berlin last night by the official German news agency. It was added that Herr von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister, is flying to Moscow to-morrow to complete the negotiations. Early this morning the Russian Tass Agency issued a similar statement.

The news was completely unexpected. There had been rumours in Berlin of a meeting at Berchtesgaden yesterday between Herr Hitler, Herr von Ribbentrop, and Her von Papen, who had recently visited Moscow, but that was all.

The decision to sign the pact is announced only the day after the signing of a commercial treaty was made known. The Russian press yesterday, suddenly changing its tone towards Germany, warmly welcomed the commercial agreement as being likely to lead to better political relations – “eventually,” they said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/from-the-archive-blog/2019/jul/24/molotov-ribbentrop-pact-germany-russia-1939

Neither party had any intention of keeping this pact…Poland was the prize that both wanted in their spheres….

This was an important event that leads up to September 1939 and the invasion of Poland.

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The Paris Commune

No not the one in 1871….but rather the one that was formed shortly after the storming of the Bastille…..that date was 10 August 1792…

In case you are confused….this is the Paris Commune of 1871……

The Paris Commune was a popular-led democratic government that ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. Inspired by the Marxist politics and revolutionary goals of the International Workingmen’s Organization (also known as the First International), workers of Paris united to overthrow the existing French regime which had failed to protect the city from Prussian siege, and formed the first truly democratic government in the city and in all of France. The elected council of the Commune passed socialist policies and oversaw city functions for just over two months, until the French army retook the city for the French government, slaughtering tens of thousands of working-class Parisians in order to do so.

https://www.thoughtco.com/paris-commune-4147849

As you would suspect…yes I have written about the Paris Commune of 1871 here on IST……..https://lobotero.com/2011/03/28/birth-of-the-paris-commune/

Now for the first and some say the most important of these “Communes”…..and the subject of today’s post……

The Paris Commune was the municipal government of Paris during the French Revolution. It was formed during the insurrection of July 1789. The Commune played an important role in the life of the capital. Not only did it provide civic functions like tax collection, services and public works, the Paris Commune was also a democratic assembly where the ordinary people of Paris were represented. This gave the Commune a great deal of sway.

Membership of the Commune council reflected the political will of the people of Paris – moderate from July 1789, radical from August 1792. In its first three years the Commune was dominated by the urban bourgeoisie and liberal-moderates like Jean-Sylvain Bailly. But after the journée of August 10th 1792, control of the Commune was seized by radical Jacobins like Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins and Jacques Hébert.

From this point, the Commune became directly representative of the Paris sections and sans culottes. The actions of this radical Commune challenged the authority of the national government and shaped the violence of 1792-94.

The Paris Commune

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04 August 1914–Guns Of August–Part One

On this day in history…….Germany invades Belgium causing Great Britain to declare war on Germany. Germany had declared war on France the day before.

This became known as the Guns Of August……

What could drive a world mad to the point of wasting so many lives?

We’ll start with the facts and work back: it may make it all the easier to understand how World War One actually happened.  The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of “one thing led to another” – otherwise known as the treaty alliance system.

The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.  (Click here to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo’s Town Hall on 28 June 1914.)

Ferdinand’s death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world’s first global war.

Austria-Hungary’s Reaction

Austria-Hungary’s reaction to the death of their heir (who was in any case not greatly beloved by the Emperor, Franz Josef, or his government) was three weeks in coming.  Arguing that the Serbian government was implicated in the machinations of the Black Hand (whether she was or not remains unclear, but it appears unlikely), the Austro-Hungarians opted to take the opportunity to stamp its authority upon the Serbians, crushing the nationalist movement there and cementing Austria-Hungary’s influence in the Balkans.

It did so by issuing an ultimatum to Serbia which, in the extent of its demand that the assassins be brought to justice effectively nullified Serbia’s sovereignty.  Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, was moved to comment that he had “never before seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a character.”

Austria-Hungary’s expectation was that Serbia would reject the remarkably severe terms of the ultimatum, thereby giving her a pretext for launching a limited war against Serbia.

https://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm

A war that cost so many lives and accomplished very little in the end.

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Passchendaele: A Worthless Exercise

On this day over 100 years ago the Third Battle For Ypres was commencing…..the date is 31July1917……this battle will go down in history as a massive waste of human life.

A description of the battle from the BBC…….

Officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele became infamous not only for the scale of casualties, but also for the mud.

Ypres was the principal town within a salient (or bulge) in the British lines and the site of two previous battles: First Ypres (October-November 1914) and Second Ypres (April-May 1915). Haig had long wanted a British offensive in Flanders and, following a warning that the German blockade would soon cripple the British war effort, wanted to reach the Belgian coast to destroy the German submarine bases there. On top of this, the possibility of a Russian withdrawal from the war threatened German redeployment from the Eastern front to increase their reserve strength dramatically.

The British were further encouraged by the success of the attack on Messines Ridge on 7 June 1917. Nineteen huge mines were exploded simultaneously after they had been placed at the end of long tunnels under the German front lines. The capture of the ridge inflated Haig’s confidence and preparations began. Yet the flatness of the plain made stealth impossible: as with the Somme, the Germans knew an attack was imminent and the initial bombardment served as final warning. It lasted two weeks, with 4.5 million shells fired from 3,000 guns, but again failed to destroy the heavily fortified German positions.

The infantry attack began on 31 July. Constant shelling had churned the clay soil and smashed the drainage systems. The left wing of the attack achieved its objectives but the right wing failed completely. Within a few days, the heaviest rain for 30 years had turned the soil into a quagmire, producing thick mud that clogged up rifles and immobilised tanks. It eventually became so deep that men and horses drowned in it.

On 16 August the attack was resumed, to little effect. Stalemate reigned for another month until an improvement in the weather prompted another attack on 20 September. The Battle of Menin Road Ridge, along with the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26 September and the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October, established British possession of the ridge east of Ypres.

Further attacks in October failed to make much progress. The eventual capture of what little remained of Passchendaele village by British and Canadian forces on 6 November finally gave Haig an excuse to call off the offensive and claim success.

However, Passchendaele village lay barely five miles beyond the starting point of his offensive. Having prophesied a decisive success, it had taken over three months, 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German casualties to do little more than make the bump of the Ypres salient somewhat larger. In Haig’s defence, the rationale for an offensive was clear and many agreed that the Germans could afford the casualties less than the Allies, who were being reinforced by America’s entry into the war. Yet Haig’s decision to continue into November remains deeply controversial and the arguments, like the battle, seem destined to go on and on.

(BBC)

If graphs and such do more to inform you then maybe this article will be more along the lines that you need……https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/happened-battle-passchendaele/

Then there are those that have given up the power to read for those I have a short video that could assist in their knowledge…..

As I stated earlier….a worthless loss of human life that accomplished NOTHING.

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The One Eyed Warrior

I am in the process of eye surgeries and going on one eye until it is finished ….so when I saw something about an one eyed warrior I thought I would make myself feel a bit better…..

Image

It all takes place during the years of the monarchy of Bohemia….and the Hussite Wars.

The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars, involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1420 to c. 1434. The Hussite Wars were arguably the first European war in which hand-held gunpowder weapons such as muskets made a decisive contribution. The Hussite warriors were basically infantry, and their many defeats of larger armies with heavily armored knights helped effect the infantry revolution. In the end, it was an inconclusive war. Some Hussites embraced pacifism and were not involved in the wars, which they denounced. These Hussites taught that Christians should separate themselves from the state and refuse to fight even for secular rulers, since Christians must always practice love.

https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hussite_Wars

Christians that practice love?  There is an extinct beast!

For those that are too lazy to read……a short video……

The Hussite Wars is where we enter the character known as the One Eyed Warrior……

Jan Zizka was a talented and successful military tactician as well as a statesman without equal. He led the Hussites in the turbulent 14th century while remaining grounded with the moral principles that supplied his motivation and guidance.

Zizka never lost a battle during his entire leadership of the Hussite Revolution, a feat that is even more impressive when one takes into account the disparity in forces between the untrained Hussite peasant militias he led and the professional armies of armored German knights that he faced.

Zizka also was nearly blind for his entire career. To understand Zizka`s abilities as a leader, one must first look at the history of his exploits and then to the personal traits that made him great.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/the-hussite-jan-zizka.html

This made me feel a bit better about having only one eye….at least for awhile….and in two weeks I will have to go through it all again.

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Bastille Day

Today, 14 July, is when the French celebrate their revolution that overthrew the corrupt monarchy…..lead by the slogan….Liberty, Equality, Fraternity…..but was it all that equal and what about liberty……

The American attitude toward the French Revolution has been generally favorable—naturally enough for a nation itself born in revolution. But as revolutions go, the French one in 1789 was among the worst. True, in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity, it overthrew a corrupt regime. Yet what these fine ideals led to was, first, the Terror and mass murder in France, and then Napoleon and his wars, which took hundreds of thousands of lives in Europe and Russia. After this pointless slaughter came the restoration of the same corrupt regime that the Revolution overthrew. Aside from immense suffering, the upheaval achieved nothing.

Leading the betrayal of the Revolution’s initial ideals and its transformation into a murderous ideological tyranny was Maximilien Robespierre, a monster who set up a system expressly aimed at killing thousands of innocents. He knew exactly what he was doing, meant to do it, and believed he was right to do it. He is the prototype of a particularly odious kind of evildoer: the ideologue who believes that reason and morality are on the side of his butcheries. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot are of the same mold. They are the characteristic scourges of humanity in modern times, but Robespierre has a good claim to being the first. Understanding his motives and rationale deepens our understanding of the worst horrors of the recent past and those that may lurk in the future.

Historians distinguish three phases of the French Revolution. The last, the Terror, ran roughly during 1793–94. It began with the fall of the moderate Girondins and the radical Jacobins’ accession to power. As the Jacobins gained control of the Committee of Public Safety, which in turn controlled the legislature (the Convention), the disputes among their factions sharpened. After an interregnum of shared power, Robespierre became dictator, and the Terror started in earnest. It took the form of the arrest, show trial, and execution of thousands of people, including the leaders of the Girondins and the opposing Jacobin factions, who were suspected of opposing—actively or passively, actually or potentially—the policies Robespierre dictated.

https://www.city-journal.org/html/why-robespierre-chose-terror-12935.html

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The Myths Of D-Day

There were many myths swirling around the invasion of Normandy….most were to confuse and frustrate the Nazis……but others were just misunderstandings of what the invasion  and who was carrying it out.

This article was first published in 2014…..6 years ago……

Anniversaries are useful moments to pause and reflect. For the 70th anniversary of D-Day and subsequent campaign in northern France, it is also an opportunity to look at the past in detail and ask how much of what we think we know is true and how much is well-entrenched myth. Not only is it more interesting, it is also of greater worth as we plan for the future and pray there will never be a conflict like World War II again.

1. MYTH: D-Day was predominantly an American operation

https://www.cnn.com/2014/06/05/opinion/opinion-d-day-myth-reality/index.html


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Be thankful the the Greatest Generation stepped jup and did there part to keep democracy safe from tyranny.

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06 June 1944

With all the news about the protest engulfing the nation and the lingering pandemic….it is forgivable that the day might slip past the memories of the American people.

Today is the 76 anniversary of the beginning of the end for the Occupation of Europe…..we remember it as D-Day….Operation Overlord.

At dawn on 6 June, nearly 7,000 U.S. and British ships and craft carrying close to 160,000 troops lay off the Normandy beaches, surprising German commanders, who had overestimated the adverse weather’s impact and were also expecting landings to the northeast, in the Pas-de-Calais area. Following assembly, and a 24-hour delay, the invasion fleet had proceeded across the English Channel along five lanes cleared by minesweepers toward the French coast. The waters off of the U.S. (Utah, Omaha) and British-Canadian (Gold, Juno, Sword) landing beaches had been divided into transport off-loading areas, fire-support channels and areas, and lanes for the assault craft. Cruisers and battleships bombarded enemy coastal fortifications and strongpoints, followed by tactical air strikes. In each of the initial attack waves, LCTs (landing craft, tank) carried specially configured amphibious tanks that were to serve as immediate infantry fire support once ashore. Patrol boats served as control vessels off of each beach. Destroyers and other small combatants stood by to provide gunfire support, and loaded landing craft proceeded from their line of departure (“Dixie line”) toward the beaches.

https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/wars-conflicts-and-operations/world-war-ii/1944/overlord.html

For those too young to remember then a little background…..

D-Day – 6 June 1944 – was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare. The statistics of D-Day, codenamed Operation Overlord, are staggering. The Allies utilised over 5,000 ships and landing craft to land more than 150,000 troops on five beaches in Normandy. The landings marked the start of a long and costly campaign in north-west Europe, which ultimately convinced the German high command that defeat was inevitable.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-d-day

Sadly the numbers are dwindling of our greatest generation and people that will mourn the dead from the day.

At least the dead will always be there.

All too many have been, for 76 years since that fateful June 6 on France’s Normandy beaches, when allied troops in 1944 turned the course of World War II and went on to defeat fascism in Europe in one of the most remarkable feats in military history.

Forgotten they will never be. Revered, yes. But Saturday’s anniversary will be one of the loneliest remembrances ever, as the coronavirus pandemic is keeping almost everyone away — from government leaders to frail veterans who might not get another chance for a final farewell to their unlucky comrades.

https://apnews.com/57a23515d56f45e23784be8505e487a2

Please take a moment to say a few words of praise for our greatest generation that gave all to save the world from tyranny….

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The Paris Commune

Closing Thought–28May20

On this day in 1871 French troops were dispersed to put an end to the workers control of Paris….

Brought to an end was the popular uprising known as the Paris Commune…..

The Paris Commune is often said to be the first example of working people taking power. For this reason it is a highly significant event, even though it is ignored in the French history curriculum. On March 18 1871, after France was defeated by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian war, the French government sent troops into Paris to try and take back the Parisian National Guard’s cannon before the people got hold of it. Much to the dismay of the French government, the citizens of Paris had got hold of them, and wouldn’t give them up. The soldiers refused to fire on their own people and instead turned their weapons on their officers.

The PNG held free elections and the citizens of Paris elected a council made up mostly of Jacobins and Republicans (though there were a few anarchists and socialists as well). The council declared that Paris was an independent commune and that France should be a confederation of communes. Inside the Commune, all elected council members were instantly recallable, paid an average wage and had equal status to other commune members.

https://libcom.org/history/1871-the-paris-commune

A more subdued description of the event…..

The Paris Commune was a popular-led democratic government that ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. Inspired by the Marxist politics and revolutionary goals of the International Workingmen’s Organization (also known as the First International), workers of Paris united to overthrow the existing French regime which had failed to protect the city from Prussian siege, and formed the first truly democratic government in the city and in all of France. The elected council of the Commune passed socialist policies and oversaw city functions for just over two months, until the French army retook the city for the French government, slaughtering tens of thousands of working-class Parisians in order to do so.

https://www.thoughtco.com/paris-commune-4147849

On May 21, 1871, the army stormed the city and slaughtered tens of thousands of Parisians, including women and children, in the name of retaking the city for the Third Republic. Members of the Commune and the National Guard fought back, but by the 28th of May, the army had defeated the National Guard and the Commune was no more.

This is a special day and a special time mostly for anarchists and socialists….it was a success and the brutal response ended the experiment.

As always I try to help all understand even those that do little reading so…..a shirt video will help explain the event…..

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