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Lord Bitememan
post Oct 9 2004, 03:33 AM
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Why the hell not? This forum never gets used anyways. Anyone who has ever debated me on any subject or wanted to, come at me with all you've got.
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ro4444
post Oct 9 2004, 04:15 AM
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OK, lets.


I say that the Golden Hordes' victories in Poland and Bohemia do not suggest that they would, nor even could, have overrun western Europe if they had continued.

This post has been edited by ro4444: Oct 9 2004, 04:27 AM
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Lord Bitememan
post Oct 9 2004, 04:42 AM
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I agree.
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ro4444
post Oct 9 2004, 05:00 AM
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Very well then.

The initial reason for the Mongol advance into Central Europe was the flight of the tribal Cumans, who, after being defeated by the Blue Horde, had settled into Hungary and gained Hungarian protection. Mongol demands for the Hungarians to abandon their support of the Cumans prompted Hungarian King Bela IV to mobilize both Hungary and any allies for war. In particular, Hungary would rely on support from Bohemia, Krakow, the Teutonic Order, and their Croatian allies.

The Mongols had learned about European feudal relations during their campaigns in Russia. After securing control over their Russian subjects, a force of the Blue Horde numbering around 70,000 was launched. The force was split in two, with a smaller force reaching Poland first. Krakow was defeated first; King Boselaw V was killed and his forces routed. Several cities, including Krakow, were burned to the ground. The Teutonic Knights were likewise routed as they entered Poland. After the death of Boleslaw, Duke Henry II of Silisea became the leader of the Polish resistance. While the Mongols were unable to destroy Breslau, capital of Silisea, they did meet Henry II. His forces were destroyed, with Henry dying and the Teutonic Knights in full retreat. Silisea was then ravaged.

After suffering a minor defeat by a Bohemian force, the Mongols decided to advance on their main target, Hungary. By this time, the Austrians had prompted a revolt by the Cumans by organizing the beheading of their leader. Bela was now without a crucial ally. The Mongols defeated Bela at Mohi, causing another rout, and Bela was forced to flee to Croatia. The Croatians checked the Mongol force but they proved to be of little consequence, as the Horde’s forces simply ignored them. The Mongols then rampaged through Hungary, destroying many cities including Pest. They then advanced into Bulgaria, Transylvania and Moldavia, which had attempted to assist Hungary. All three were nearly completely overrun. All of this was done in less than two years.

Early in 1242, Batu Khan was forced to withdraw from Central Europe, as he was recalled to Karakorum. However, could the Mongols have overrun Europe? I say they could have.

Certainly the Europeans themselves were aware of the seriousness of the Tartar threat; King Louis of France had mobilized his army in the hopes of stopping the forces of the Blue Horde before they arrived to the French border. His confidence in the ability of the Horde to get that far was not without merit. The Mongols were incredibly smart when it came to defeating an enemy; they used every advantage they could. The Mongols had always relied on spies. Even while the Mongols were still fighting in Russia, the Horde had sent spies to countries all over Europe in order to keep a track on them. They found out several ways to defeat them. Feudal relations was one of them. The Mongols were smart enough to manipulate these relations. For example, the invasion into Poland had been merely a diversionary tactic; the Piasts had close ties to several other families in Europe. In this way, many armies were traveling to Poland while the main Mongol target was obviously Hungary.

At the same time, the Mongol armies were extremely cunning. They realized that, once they got off the steppes of east Europe and advanced into the mountains of central Europe, their cavalry advantage would be somewhat diminished. In addition to employing many archers, the Mongols used several strategies. The Mongols never let the enemy know just how powerful their force was. They always kept some in hiding. The armies’ use of spies allowed the Mongols to know where enemy armies were even better than the enemy armies knew where each other were. The Mongols never used shouts or cheers or anything to that extent that would give away their size; they used banners to direct movements. In addition to keeping the enemy army in the dark about their strength, the enemy’s troops also tended to be overwhelmed when the Mongols would advance upon them well before they would be properly prepared.

The Mongols also deceived the enemy in other ways. There is, of course, the famous feint tactic used by them for dozens of years. They also would create confusion within the enemy by using men within the enemy army to stimulate retreat by creating a panic near the front lines. During battle, the Mongols might leave a pass open for the enemy army to retreat through; they would wait until the pass was filled with the bulk of the retreating army and descend. The Horde also made use of technology not seen in the West before. Firecrackers had a massive psychological effect on the enemy troops, who were easily confused.

These tactics worked time and time again because the Mongols did an excellent job at making sure that enemy leaders died. Henry didn’t have the experience against the Mongols during the defeat of Boleslaw; hence he would be liable to fall for the same tricks. Through this process, the Mongols would have had little trouble using the same tactics to overrun the rest of Europe.

Excluding Scandinavia , England, and Iberia, all of which were relatively isolated, the bulk of Christianized Europe not affected by the invasion consisted of at this point:

Bohemia and the fiefs of the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor,
The Italian states, all of which were either directly or indirectly controlled by the Hohenstaufen Emperor, with the exception of the Church States and Venice,
France and the duchies of France,
Eprius, Nicea and the Latin States formed as a result of the 4th Crusade.

Out of all those choices, none could offer any organized resistance to the Mongol invasion. The last in that list could have been theoretically overrun by the Mongols by 1253, although barring a lightning assault on Constantinople the Latin Empire could have probably survived. After that, a small period of reorganization to consolidate their conquests would have allowed the Mongols to plan for an invasion of the rest of Europe. As stated before, Louis of France had been mobilizing to head toward the eastern front. Considering that the Holy Roman Empire, especially regarding Bohemia, had been involved in a counter-Mongol effort during the invasion, it would not be a stretch to say that Louis could have met the Hohenstaufen Emperor in Swabia and proceeded east from there. The Mongols would have the luxury of employing the same tactics, and if lucky, they could wipe out the forces of France and Swabia in one swift stroke.

The Mongols also would have attempted to make key allies. While the Blue Horde was not especially known for this, a common Mongol tactic was to pursue a strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. The Austrians, in particular, had not been pro-Mongol but had actively screwed around with the anti-Mongol coalition, even imprisoning King Bela after his flight to Croatia. Considering Mongol successes in Asia, it would not be a stretch to say that the Mongols offering the proper amount of money and titles to key German dukes would result in a sudden anti-Imperial sentiment in Germany. If the Mongols managed to gain the support of the German dukes, there would be no contest; nothing would be able to stop the Mongol expansion into France.

As for France, a new army could be raised if Louis’ was destroyed, but it would be a joke to consider it able to stop Mongol conquest. The armies of Europe, in general, had little understanding about utilizing formations or diversionary tactics, both of which the Mongol excelled at. If supposedly well trained armies could be defeated so completely in Poland and Hungary, an army of new recruits, especially in the age of feudalism, would be mostly light infantry and would be slaughtered by cavalry. After sweeping through France, the Blue Horde would have a few options. It could advance into either Italy or Iberia; Italy would probably be much easier, as the states there had great difficulty forming lasting alliances. Iberia was still messy, but the Iberian mountains could have provided a minimal protection.

The main argument against the Mongol ability to expand into Western Europe was that their tactics would become obsolete. With the cavalry used to plain warfare, it would be somewhat more difficult to expand into the still-wooded areas of Germany and France. However, the Mongols proved that they could leave the plains and still fight effectively. In particular, the Mongol victory over Bela at Mohi had resulted right after the Mongols had moved over the Carpathian Mountains. This view that the Blue Horde could not take Europe also fails to take into account that the Mongols were not limited to military conquest in their options. Something striking about the Blue Horde’s invasion was that it was nearly unilateral. Few times before had the Mongols attempted a massive invasion without allies. However, the Mongols probably would have realized that they would benefit greatly from allies. A mix of instilling fear and monetary compensation, as well as a guarantee of autonomy within an enlarged Mongol state, would have made the Mongol search for allies relatively easy, especially in Germany where loyalty to the Emperor lasted only as long as the going was good.

The only other thing that I can see that would hinder a complete Mongol takeover would be the difficulty of taking cities. I can only see this being a major problem in Italy, with Rome, Venice, Milan, and Genoa all rather well defended, but some other cities could pose a problem as well. However, the Mongol tactics of mostly ignoring cities unless they are easily takeable fails to take into account the fact that the Mongols had some of the most sophisticated siege technology of the time. The Mongols had extensive knowledge on the proper methods for laying a siege, and had both catapults and firebombs. Depending on how quickly the Mongols would take western Europe, massive sieges may not have even been necessary in too many places, as some local city leaders could have thought conquest was inevitable and surrendered. The Mongols could also have tried their strategy of razing a few key cities to force the others into submission; on the local scale this would no doubt have results, but whether the burning down of Paris would force Genoa into surrender is somewhat doubtful.

Do I mean to say that a Mongol conquest would be lasting? No. Considering the spectacular failure of most Mongol states set up after conquest, it is likely that at most, Mongol control over most of Europe would have lasted for decades only. In theory, the method of Mongol governing was ideal. Not interfering in local affairs in any way except for demanding large taxes should have led to a quelling of nationalistic tendencies, as neither the religion nor culture of a conquered group was being threatened. However, the tax usually served to fuel anti-Mongol resentment while the local lords took advantage of the lack of Mongol central rule to build up their own power.

The Mongols could have extended their stay in eastern Europe, however. A major cause of Mongol decline in Russia was the pagan state of Lithuania. Toward the end of the 1300s, the Lithuanians convinced many Russian lords to accept their overlordship as an alternative to Mongol rule; most of the time the Lithuanians never even use military force. Conquering much of Europe as we know it would have given the Mongols a much freer hand at dealing with this future threat to their power.

In closing my opening statement, there was precious little to stop Mongol expansion into western Europe. A mix of military and political tactics would have greatly increased its possibility. While nothing is assured, at least a temporary conquest of Western Europe is not an empty possibility.

This post has been edited by ro4444: Oct 9 2004, 06:30 AM
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Sovy Kurosei
post Oct 9 2004, 05:08 AM
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Well, that was quick...
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Lord Bitememan
post Oct 9 2004, 07:59 PM
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Rolly:

Very well. You have convinced me of the error of my ways and extend to you that you have convinced me of the correctness of your position.

Sovy:

I just don't feel like writing a history essay, much less reading one.
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Sovy Kurosei
post Oct 9 2004, 09:12 PM
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I didn't see the monumental essay when I replied to this thread.
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Lord Bitememan
post Oct 9 2004, 09:37 PM
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Sovy, I know. But, this is Rolly we're talking about, so, I kinda expected some lengthy hair-splitting essay about some obscure period in history.
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Sovy Kurosei
post Oct 9 2004, 10:20 PM
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Read the essay. Kind of interesting actually, didn't know that European armies were so disorganized at the time.
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Molimo
post Oct 10 2004, 03:26 AM
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Rolly- as long as we're on the subject, could you explain (or recommend a resource I could check out) what the deal was with these variously-coloured hordes? I've been fascinated with the Mongol Empire for a while now, but the sources I've been reading have all stopped at Genghis Khan's death, and none have mentioned the Blue or Golden Hordes.
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ro4444
post Oct 10 2004, 04:17 AM
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Molimo: There aren't that many sites on the subject, and those that exist REALLY conflict with each other (ie, some sources will list Tokhtamish as the leader of the Blue Horde, while others will list him as the leader of the White Horde), but is what I know about the subject:

Genghis Khan originally assigned the Golden Horde to his eldest son Jochi. However, Jochi died before Genghis did and the Golden Horde was partitioned between his sons. This partition created the Blue Horde, the White Horde, and the Shaybanid Horde. As both the White Horde and the Shaybanid Horde were rather isolated and didn't interact with Europe, generally these last two are ignored and the Blue Horde is known as the Golden Horde. The Blue Horde both conquered the Russian principalities along with the Volga Bulgars and Cumans, and launched the invasion of Central Europe. This situation continued until Janibeg, Khan of the Blue Horde, was killed in 1357. The Blue Horde then disintigrated into a prolonged civil war. During this time several important things happened. Timur created his state within Chagatai territory. Several Russian principalities under Mongol rule, such as Chernigov, Smolensk and Polotsk, decided to accept the authority of the pagan Lithuanians as the Lithuanians could provide greater security.

Assuming Tokhtamish was in charge of the White Horde, he defeated the leader of the Blue Horde, Mamai, with the help of Timur. By 1380 he had unified the Blue and White Hordes and from then on this state was known as the Golden Horde. That same year Muscovy broke the vassalage that she had with the Golden Horde, but two years later Tokhtamish burned down Moscow and forced Muscovy back into submission. He then had a falling out with Timur, over who had a better claim over Khwarizm. Timur invaded and defeated Tokhtamish, who was killed a few years later. However, Timur chose not to incorporate the Golden Horde into his state, figuring that there were better targets (such as the Ottomans, which he defeated in 1402).

After that, the Golden Horde went on steady decline. A series of revolts caused the Horde to fragment, so now there was the Golden Horde, the Khanates of Crimea, Astrakhan, Sibir and Kazan. I forget a lot of the dates after that, but in 1480 Muscovy broke free of the Golden Horde, in 1502 the Golden Horde was annexed by the Crimea, Kazan and Astrakhan were annexed by Muscovy that century, Crimea accepted the overlordship of the Ottomans and remained semi-independent until Catherine the Great annexed it, and Sibir was annexed by by an expeditionary force working for Russia (I forget what century).
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ro4444
post Oct 10 2004, 04:48 AM
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QUOTE(Lord Bitememan @ Oct 9 2004, 03:59 PM)
Rolly:

Very well.  You have convinced me of the error of my ways and extend to you that you have convinced me of the correctness of your position.

Sovy:

I just don't feel like writing a history essay, much less reading one.
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You pussy! I at least wanted you to reply once and allow me to thoroughly thrash whatever you posted; you spoiled me of this satisfaction! :angry:
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Lord Bitememan
post Oct 10 2004, 09:46 PM
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QUOTE
you spoiled me of this satisfaction!


And in as much, I have come out the winner of this first confrontation. :D
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ro4444
post Oct 10 2004, 10:05 PM
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At least tell me you read what I wrote :P
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Molimo
post Oct 10 2004, 10:21 PM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ Oct 10 2004, 04:17 AM)
(infoinfoinfo)
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Wow, thanks. My opinion of you just skyrocketed :D
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ro4444
post Oct 11 2004, 07:50 PM
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And my opinion of you just went way down, for not knowing such basic historical facts :D
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Stimulant
post Oct 14 2004, 04:26 AM
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History is for bums. Why bother memorizing such rubbish.
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Malevolent
post Oct 21 2004, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE(nature of reality @ Oct 13 2004, 11:26 PM)
History is for bums. Why bother memorizing such rubbish.
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Because we want to actually be educated, unlike followers of Ayn Rand?
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Gengari
post Oct 21 2004, 05:19 PM
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To make it interesting, let's have me argue for pure capitalist economic stance.. I need to argue a point I disagree with every now and then, or my debating life will not be complete.


Let's start with an almost oversimplified statement:

Capitalism is the only true way to ensure economic equality.

[edit: started.]

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Lord Bitememan
post Oct 22 2004, 02:55 AM
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Capitalism does not ensure economic equality. That's not what capitalism is designed to do. Capitalism is designed to provide higher rewards to those who produce while providing fewer rewards to those who do not. By very nature it is disproportionate in the economic disposition of those who live under the system.
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Gengari
post Oct 22 2004, 10:03 AM
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However, all people have the same economic chances, thus, since not all people choose to work equally, it is not the fault of capitalism that equality does not exist.
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ro4444
post Feb 19 2005, 09:46 AM
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I suppose I should write a counter-post against my argument, since no one else did. Too lazy to at the moment though.
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Deus Ex Machina
post Feb 19 2005, 08:12 PM
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ro4444> Was WWI preventable by 1914?
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ro4444
post Feb 20 2005, 01:59 AM
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No. But the Balkans didn't have to be the source of the conflict.
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Harry Kewell
post Feb 20 2005, 12:29 PM
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Incorrect
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Gengari
post Feb 20 2005, 04:46 PM
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Such wondrous intellectual discussion coming from our beloved troll, muztard!
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