Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Influnce: Finale

One of my "mini-series" of posts was about comparing the influence of George Washington and Genghis Khan. I am not talking about how "good" they are, but how much they affected people's lives. This is the last post of it, it will talk abou how difficult the tasks that each faced was.

The task that Washington did of which we will examine the difficulty of will only be his military role in the Revolutionary War. Although he was highly important politically, that only came later.

Washington surely did something few people would expect, manage to defeat the strongest army in the world of the time. He was able to keep his troops away from a crushing defeat and forge it into a force that could fight well. Still though, it can be argued that he did not have many distractions. He surely must have kept an eye on the Conintinental politics but it did not affect him too much.

Genghis Khan on the other hand did something that would make most people cower. 1. He survived the tribal blood feuds on the steppes of Mongolia. 2. He by his force of personality brought together the dozens of bitter rival clans into one nation. 3. He set up an entire government and set of laws almost from scratch to govern the new Mongol nation. 4. He continued to handle administration while doing everything neccessary to conquer half the known world.

To say this was unexpected is a major understatement. Nowhere ever in history had this been done before. No singe one man had ever before united all of Mongolia and conquer the largest empire every and govern it well enough to hold it together during his entire life and after.

Most say he was a madman, he was not. Yes he did massacre millions, but not because he was bloodthirsty. It was because this was the norm in the steppes. The last thing you would want, if you were just barely getting enough food for your tribe in the middle of several day long blizzards would be to have to worry about putting down another rebellion. The Mongol army never numbered more than 200,000, there was no possible way to keep garrisons in every single village, town, city, fortress. The massacres were not come giant cruel genocide, it was just one of the most icy military acts ever. There was one city that was spared at first by one of the Khan's generals, in a few months, that city was rebelling.

1 comment:

Tom said...


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