If we don’t draw the line in Ukraine, why should we draw the line at Poland? Russia has recognized these borders as they are years ago, Putin is making shit up to further his nationalist imperialist ambitions (to resort to the old words used, but they ring true).
We should draw the line here and now at Ukraine, otherwise we would only condone his actions. Economic sanctions is a slap on the wrist that Putin can live with, because Europe is just as dependent on them as Russia is. No, he is going too far for any democratic leader.
And last time I checked, we don’t take too kindly too non-democratic demagogues.
Oh, wait, that is if Europe and NATO had any real balls.
Alright, no soda and no snacks for 3 weeks (to save money for when the love arrives).
But I never said anything about not making my own apple pies.
I’ll point to the 8-hour long podcast “Wrath of the Khans” series by Dan Carlin. He might manage to make the points I was trying to make better than I did on this topic.
I will still make a point that Genghis Khan was a warlord engaging in aggressive warfare and millions died as a direct result of his campaigns under his rule, and he had no more noble intentions than any other tyrant. That is all I am saying, but some people want to make it about something else, I guess.
I’ll take back the last sentence of the comment. I refuse to edit it though, I want the fuck up and bad behaviour to be visible.
The argument about Temujin vs. Hitler was intentional on my part, but it gravitated towards different topics, like long term effects. I do not want to be a bitch about it.
Ah fuck I wrote a long response to the other post but tumblr ate it. Knew I should have saved it to drafts.
Okay, so to the comment on the total death toll, that’s the Mongol conquests as a whole, so from Java to Egypt. Ghengis Khan conquered Northern China, the Steppe, and Afghanistan. Southern China, Korea, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, the Middle East, and Java were handled by his sons and grandsons. Now if you take the death toll and divide it up over the incredible amount of area this is (and time, this is a span of almost a century), you’ll find that the Mongol invasions weren’t anymore devastating that regular wars. The population of China declined by some 1/3, but that was usual for any large scale war in China, the Jin wars caused about as much, the Warring States period cut the population by 2/3rds. Had the Mongols not invaded Hungary, Poland or the Teutons would have, etc.
And then as for sources, actually no. The Mongols only wrote a single book, the Secret History, and it was only meant to be read by Khans and generals. The nomadic Mongols (i.e. not the assimilated ones like the Il Khanate and Yuan) never commissioned works about themselves. 99% of our sources, then, come from the elite whom they dispossessed of wealth and power. Going back to Kiev, the priest’s account pays a lot of attention to how the Churches were robbed of gold and jewels, but traveller’s accounts say the town was just fine. We know from other examples that the Mongols liked to take all the wealth from the elites and give it to the poor, as a way to buy their loyalty. In one instance, they took a bunch of precious rubies and emeralds and sold them on the market for less than a grain of wheat, just to spite the nobility.
So you have to look for other sources, non-biased people like Friar Capini or Marco Polo, or from areas without a lot of elites, like Novgorod.
Ghengis Khan himself was brutal to those who attacked him dishonorably in some way. The Merkits kidnapped and raped his wife, the Tatars betrayed his mother and all his siblings and left them to die without horses, the Khwaremezids killed his diplomats (he even forgave an earlier attack on a foraging party, and addressed the Sultan as a superior (you are the rising sun and I am the setting sun, he was never actually interested in invaded Khwarezm). But otherwise, he was very lenient. Jebe almost killed Ghengis by sniping him in the throat during a battle, but Ghengis was impressed by the marksmanship and the honesty to fess up to after the battle, so he offered Jebe a position in his army. Eventually Jebe would become one of the Four Dogs of War, which were the most elite and closest generals he had.
By the way, the Secret History is not a history, it’s a moral and political guide for future khans. So if you take it this way, and compare it with other sources, you get this picture of Ghengis Khan:
(Also, the Secret History is not a self-serving text. Ghengis Khan included all of his failures and weaknesses as lesson for future Khans. For example, it includes how when he was 13, he murdered his brother due to a personal quarrel and scare food (this was when it was just his mother and his siblings out on the steppe). However, it also includes how his mother berated him afterward as a monster and as a lowly carrion beast. It explicitly outlines how this was a dishonorable act, and how Ghengis Khan was forever disgraced by it. No Khan was to ever murder a family member.)
He never went back on his word, nor did he ever lie. Even for military matters. No country was ever invaded without a formal declaration of war first. If the Mongols arrived to late to fight on the first day of hostilities (set up by the formal declaration of war), they would encamp next to the enemy army and not set up any defenses. Only in the morning, and after the enemy had gathered itself, would they attack.
He offered cities a chance to surrender before he besieged them. Any city which accepted as granted complete mercy, they were not looted or attacked in any way (besides the nobles, as I’ve mentioned).
All subjects were considered equal in importance. No Khan was to ever eat first or eat when his men were unable to. Any general that left a wounded man behind was to be summarily executed, regardless of how lowly the soldier was.
And this is probably my biggest point about Ghengis Khan, he did not discriminate. In fact, he ended millennia of ethnic conflict by intermixing tribes in his army. As I’ve already said, he granted complete equality to all religions, and allowed them to practice in peace. His successors had courts where Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc working together. In Russia, women could own land and govern themselves under Mongol rule.
Life was better under the Mongols. You’re right in suggesting it probably wasn’t for any moral reason. The Mongols only had an army of 100,000 to govern that entire empire, so they had to rule through consent. They knew that if they taxed lightly and treated their subjects well, they wouldn’t have any troubles. Indeed, for more than 200 years, the Mongols in Russia simply collected debts every once and a while, and in turn protected the borders. The Mongol period was the most peaceful in Muscovite history.
So yeah, they’re totally different. Hitler wanted to conquer to gain land and slaves for his ethnicity, Ghengis Khan wanted to unite all the steppe tribes and stop their senseless quarreling. This is why they stopped at Hungary and Anatolia, since the Magyars and Turks were from the Steppe. His successors pushed past that just to see how far they could go. Plus, we’ve got the issue of euthanasia/discrimination/self predatory policies and the like.
Ghengis Khan and most of his successors are actually some of the most egalitarian and benevolent rulers in history, so…
Didn’t they stop at Hungary and Anatolia because Genghis died?
Also, if Genghis Khan wasn’t responsible to 40 million and you seem pretty sure that he wasn’t, what do your sources say that he was responsible for? Plenty of others seem to think that he was.
Anyway, you bring up a lot of information and detail that much of I have a hard time arguing against, so I will do a cowardly thing and return to the original comment that I made: Hitler and Genghis were alike.
You have presented a lot of arguments, good arguments, that they are not alike. I will however still argue that they are alike in some very important terms.
They waged aggressive warfare.
They were in some parts considered liberators.
The regions they conquered received mixed treatments due to their personal preference and motivations and ideologies (Khan treated the steppe peoples as the equals of the mongols, but had to be convinced by an advisor not to kill everyone in a conquered region of China because they’d serve the empire better if they were taxed(And the psychology of the steppe people of that time and how they looked down on settled societies is a point I would like to make, but I cannot remember the source to point it to so I will let you check that out if you are interested personally). Hitler treated Western Europeans better than Eastern Europeans because he saw the Slavs as inferior, etc etc.
Now, I know what you are saying when you make the point that in terms of warfare, Genghis Khan didn’t wage a particularly more or less bloody treatment of his enemies under the attack itself. But doesn’t the scale of his aggression matter then? Hitler would have been still an evil asshole if he contended with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria and France. Had Genghis Khan “only” conquered and unified Mongolia and China, it would have been almost an internally Chinese affair by our Western perspective. Most likely a very bloody one at that, while the warfare waged by Hitler before 1941 was kind of (I’ll say kind of because the combat was short and fierce, but nothing compared to the last major European war by comparison) tame and bloodless.
But the man didn’t. He stretched his influence over most of the Eurasian continent and millions died for his ambition. Doesn’t that have any impact on how we should judge him?
You always say that the aggressors in war deserve what’s coming to them. Why won’t I see you even giving Genghis Khan as much as a harsh word if that’s true?
And the sources very much make it clear that Genghis Khan ruled with providence. Now, what if that was absolutely true? What if Genghis Khan waged war, ruled and conquered with the firm believed that he was destined by GOD to do so? That his people, his race even, was destined to wage this war on the world?
Wouldn’t that alone make him into a madman?