Saturday, 2 June 2018

REASONS FOR THE RISE OF THE MONGOL EMPIRE


Mongol Empire was the greatest empire of 13th Century which is ranked among the most fearful empires of the whole human history. During 14th Century, the Mongol Empire disintegrated in to several relatively smaller dynasties. The Mongol Empire emerged in 1206 from Mongolia and captured vast areas of Eurasia in just few decades under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his military commanders. The rise of nomads of Mongolia to capture areas of today’s Russia, China, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, parts of Middle East etc. was not only due to capabilities of Mongols but several other factors also played their role in the rise of such huge empire.

Reasons for the Rise of the Mongol Empire

Leadership of Genghis Khan 
Portrait of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan leadership qualities played major role in Mongol victories

Before the emergence of Genghis Khan, Mongols were divided in various groups and tribes who fight against each other to control their areas. Genghis Khan also had to fight against his enemies to take control of his tribe and then manage to gather all the other Mongolian tribes under his banner. Mongols were great warriors and only lack appropriate leadership to become a superpower. This leadership was provided by Genghis Khan with his bravery, wisdom and other leadership qualities.
 
Battlefield Tactics

 Mongols proved themselves to be the masters of battlefield by designing various strategies and showing marvelous fighting skills. By using new tactics, several times the Mongols were able to defeat enemies greater than their own enemies. The Mongols were expert in living in harsh conditions and throwing arrows with their bows while riding a running horse (horse arching) which make them superior to their enemies.


Laws of Yassa

‘Yassa’ was a code of law introduced by Genghiz Khan and it was compulsory for the Mongols to accept and act upon on this law. The lawbreakers were given severe punishment. These comprehensive laws provide directions about political, social and domestic issues. ‘Yassa’ was a major factor for uniting the Mongol Empire and creating discipline in them.

Cruelty against Resistant Enemies

Mongols are notorious for their cruelty and it was worst against the opponents that show stiff resistance against them. The citizens of Baghdad, Khwarezmia, Kievan Rus and several other areas were annihilated by the Mongols. These tactics were used not only to exterminate any potential future danger but also to create the feeling of fear among enemies that resisting the Mongols will be ‘unforgivable crime’.

Making use of Opponents’ Skills

Mongols were not cruel on every opponent but they also use the skilled and capable people of other nations for their own benefit. Few of the examples were the presence of foreign physicians, engineers and firearm experts in the Mongol army while these expert and skilled persons were selected by Mongols from the defeated nations.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

REASONS FOR THE RISE OF THE SOVIET UNION


Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), commonly known as Soviet Union, was a socialist state that lasted from 1922 to 1991. Major areas of Eastern Asia and Eastern Europe were part of Soviet Union with its capital in Russian city of Moscow. Soviet Union played major role in the defeat of Germany in World War 2 after which it became a superpower along with USA. 

As leader of Communism, USSR had great influence in several parts of Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. USSR emerged after the fall of Russian Empire and victory of Red Army against White Army. Main reasons behind the rise of Soviet Union are listed below.  

Economic condition of Russian Empire

In the start of 20th Century, Russian economy was facing severe economic and political instability that gave rise to social unrest. The situation was used by communists as they promised equal rights to people of lower status. The economic condition worsened with the passage of time and problems of people like factory workers, farmers etc. increased miserably which strengthened the ranks of Bolsheviks. Through increase in numbers among lower part of society, communists were able to establish a communist state in Russia in 1917 while the most important role for this success was played by the bad economic condition of Russian Empire from the start of 20th Century.

World War 1

The situation of Russian Empire was not stable at the start of World War 1 in 1914. Russia had suffered a humiliating defeat against Japan in Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). Later, the Duma (Russian Parliament) was established in 1906 that paved way for constitutional monarchy in place of absolute monarchy but the Emperor Nicholas II was not ready to shift his major powers to Duma. Workers strikes were on rise due to weak economic conditions. The situation demanded to avoid any conflict but Russia decided to enter the war in favor of Allied Powers against Germany. 

This proved to be the last nail in the coffin of Russian Empire. Severe human and material loss in the war forced the emperor to step down from his power and the responsibilities were taken by provisional government during the course of the war. But the new government also decided to continue the war in favor of allies which ended in the empowerment of ‘Bolsheviks’ after October Revolution.


Victory in Russian civil war

Soon after the ‘October Revolution’, the Russian Civil War started between the Soviet Red Army and ‘White Army’ (supporters of monarchy). White Army was supported by several countries of Allied Powers. But the Red Army had more support inside Russia that assisted them to defeat the White Army in 1922 which ended any resistance against Bolshevik rule resulted in the establishment of Soviet Union.

Large Scale Industrialization 
Large scale industrialization assisted USSR financially

Under the regime of Joseph Stalin, large scale industrialization started in late 1920s. New industries were established with modern equipments under this policy which increased the industrial production many times as compared to the period of Russian Empire. This high rate of industrialization helped Soviet Russia to keep levels of goods productions at high and made it possible for them to fight a long and bloody war against Nazi Germany during World War 1.  

Policy in World War 2

At the start of World War 2, Germany and Russia signed ‘no-war pact’ that helped the Soviet Russia to annexed areas in Eastern and Central Europe. Later in 1941, Hitler turned his attention towards USSR after getting rid of Western Europe in order to end the danger of communism and purge the earth from Slav people. Russia suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Nazis during German invasion on Russia (Operation Barbarossa) but they managed to save their important cities of Moscow and Leningrad during this invasion. 

They had already signed a pact with Japan (Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact) in 1941 which helped them to transport their additional and fresh troops from eastern to western side for their counteroffensive against Germany. In this counter attack, Russians not only took back all the areas from exhausted German Army but also took many other areas from Germany including the eastern part of Germany. The Russian victory against Nazi Germany helped the soviet republic to increase its influence and create an Eastern Bloc.

Policies of Stalin

Joseph Stalin became leader of Soviet Union in 1920s and remained at this position till his death in 1953. He played most important role in strengthening of USSR economically and militarily. After consolidating his power, Stalin focused completely on making USSR a communist state by adopting the concept of ‘Socialism in One Country’ after shunning the idea of ‘international socialism. He transformed the economy of Russia from agrarian to industrial through his industrialization and collectivization policy. The advancement in science and technology was also rapid. 

His cruel policy of "Gulag Labor Camps” and “Great Purge” helped him to eliminate rebellious nations and political rivals respectively. He was the main planner to defeat Nazi Germany during World War 2. Few of his policies proved disastrous for USSR later but there is no doubt he was the man behind the rise of communism in Russia and also in the rise of USSR as a superpower.


 

Friday, 20 April 2018

REASONS OF THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION


Soviet Union was a major world power after its establishment in 1922 and became a superpower after World War 2 in 1945. After World War 2, Soviet Union established a communist bloc which remained in tussle against US led bloc. Both USA and USSR remained in the state of ‘cold war’ between 1945 and 1990 during which both superpowers escaped a full fledge war but oppose each other in various conflicts through their proxies. The whole era is especially known for the ‘Cold War’ between the two superpowers. This situation ended in 1992 with the collapse of USSR after which USA emerged as the sole superpower. The main reasons behind the collapse of USSR are following.

Constant State of War Against USA

After World War 2 in 1945, Soviet Union the whole of Eastern Europe including East Germany while its influence spread in several areas of Asia, Europe and South America. USA and its allies formed Western Bloc in order to counter this situation after which the ‘Cold War’ started between USSR, USA and their allies.

Korean War (1950-53), Cuban Crisis (1963), Vietnam War (1960s) and Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (1979-88) were major confrontations between the two blocs while USA and USSR assisted their proxies in several other regional conflicts also. This continuous warfare put a burden on the economy of USSR and it weakened continuously with passage of time and proved to be an important reason for the collapse of USSR.

Invasion of Afghanistan

In December 1979, USSR invaded Afghanistan in order to protect its proxy regime of Afghanistan against any Afghan resistance. Russian invasion put alarms in neighboring countries of Afghanistan especially Pakistan where this invasion and capture by USSR was seen as a part of plan to reach the warm waters (Arabian Sea). Pakistan supported the resistance movement of Afghans against the Soviet invasion from its start and it was later joined by USA and several other Muslim and European countries. The war was fought with religious fervor also against the ‘Atheist invaders’ (USSR). 

Soviet forces and their Afghan supporters failed to suppress the guerilla warfare of Afghan opponents who were continuously supported by rich and advanced Western and Muslim countries, militarily and economically. This failed invasion by USSR not only drained the economy of Soviet Union but it also ended the title of the Soviet Army as ‘undefeatable’ which resulted in collapse of Soviet Union and independence of many countries.

Oppression against Opponents

Soviet Union was a one-party government in which there was no place for opposition of Communist regime while persecution of opponents was not unusual. During Russian Civil War (1988-22), thousands of peasants and industrial workers were executed by Russian secret police. Gulags (labor camps) were established during Russian Civil War and they retained their position till 1950s. Millions of people were thrown in these camps for forced labor that resulted in deaths of many. 


But the most horrific period came during the era of Joseph Stalin. He suppressed anyone considered to be against communism of his choice through his intelligence agencies and secret police. He assassinated his rivals in communist party like Leon Trotsky (founder of red Army), Nikolai Yezhov (head of Soviet secret agency NKVD) and several others during Great Purge (1936-38) in order to ‘cleanse’ the communist party and red army from undesired persons. Gulags also expanded during his era. On number of occasions, whole population of different areas was transferred to other destinations by Soviets. This forced displacement took lives of large number of peoples and change the ethnic composition of several areas. 

These oppressive measures consolidated the communist rule in occupied areas but people in these areas never accepted the oppressive regime by heart and when they were given chance to make choice about their destiny (in the start of 1990s), people of these areas immediately voted in favor of freedom from USSR.

Policies against Religions

USSR was an atheist regime where communist party had the complete control over the government and one had to be an atheist to be a part of communist party. But it didn’t end there as religions and religious people remained under persecution of the Soviet regime. Christians and Muslims faced the worst persecution under Soviet Union during various eras. 

Christianity (Russian Orthodox) lost its status of official religion in USSR that it was enjoying during Russian Empire. Soviet authorities locked and demolished several Churches and Mosques during the whole Soviet era and there were restrictions of religious practices. Several priests and clergymen were executed during the starting era of Soviet Revolution. In 1917, there were around 25000 mosques in Central Asia that were reduced to just 500 in the 1970s. 

Due to this brutal treatment of religions, the Christians and Muslims of several republics in USSR favored the independence of their sates from Soviet Union in the start of 1990s. This situation was also used in Afghan War that was also fought on religious grounds against the atheist Soviet Union.

Famines

Soviet Union was hit by several famines due to wars and its economic policies. The first famine was the famine of 1921-23 that took lives of around 5 million people in the regions of Volga and Ural rivers. This famine was the direct effect of Russian Civil War and Soviet policy of ‘confiscation of grain’.  

The collectivization of agriculture sector was adopted by Stalin that resulted in the most sever famine of 1932-33 that resulted in the deaths of around 6 million people, mostly in Ukraine and North Caucasus. 

The third major famine occurred in 1946-47 that took the lives of more than 1 million people. Soviet economic policies and World War 2 caused this famine.

These famines proved that not only the economic policies of USSR were unrealistic but also the authorities were more interested in concealing the number of deaths instead of providing food to the affected people. Non Russian people were the main targets of these famines and it created such hatred against communism and USSR in their hearts that they were ready to accept any chance provided for their freedom from USSR.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

EFFECTS OF THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION


In 1992, USSR collapsed after the end of communist regime and independence of several states from Asian and European parts of USSR. USSR was a superpower before its dissolution due to which its collapse not only changed the political and economic condition in the areas directly related to USSR but it impacted heavily on global scale also.

End of cold war

Soon after the end of World War 2 in 1945, USA and USSR emerged as two superpowers that were leading two opposite economic systems, capitalism and communism respectively. Both had the intention to spread their respective economic system and influence in other parts of the world and it gave rise to hostility between the two superpowers. But both these superpowers had dangerous and lethal weapons (including nuclear weapons), and their direct conflict could be resulted in the destruction of the whole world.

Therefore, both countries tried to spread their influence and stop the other to do so through cold war. Both formed various defensive alliances while Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War, conflict in the Middle East and Russian invasion of Afghanistan were few of the examples when these two powers tried to harm the other with their proxies.

But the Russia invasion to Afghanistan proved disastrous for USSR and it exhausted the Soviet Union militarily and economically that resulted in the disintegration of USSR and its conversion to Russian Federation after which the cold war ended as the newly established Russian Federation was not capable to start any conflict with the West or even to protect its allies (e.g. Yugoslavia).

Independence of several Countries

Soviet Union was the unification of Russia and many of its semi-autonomous federations. But in reality, these federations, with non-Russian ethnic majority population, were under the strict control of USSR where people were not allowed to oppose the communist system and only the people of Communist party were allowed to rule these semi-autonomous areas. People of these areas were subjected to harsh treatment and several restrictions. They faced famines, tortures, forced migrations, religious restrictions and several other ill treatments but they were unable to gain freedom due to military might of USSR.

But the situation changed after failed Russian invasion of Afghanistan as it depleted its financial reserves and ended the fear of its once considered undefeatable army. Now the USSR was also not in a position to keep these federations with it. In the start of 1990s, all these 13 federations of central Asia and eastern Europe voted for independence almost unanimously that resulted in the establishment of Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Turkmenistan.

Apart from these federations, East and West Germany reunited again with the fall of Berlin Wall while the people of Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and others gained independence after the breakage of Yugoslavia. Czechoslovakia also disintegrated in to Slovakia and Czech Republic and both countries also abolished communism. 

Decline of Communism

Modern Communism gained fame after the release of The Communist Manifesto in 1848 by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The ideology of communism was based on the poor social conditions of factory workers as they were exploited by their owners. The purpose of this movement was to nationalize the means of production and the distribution of money among people according to their needs that would eliminate social classes. 

Soviet Union became the first communist country after taking power in 1922. USSR adopted communism in the country and also tried to export communism in different parts of the world. But the famines in initial stage of communism and the worse economic conditions in USSR in its later stages turned people of different parts of the world, even Russia itself, against the communist system.

People felt that expectations from communism are nothing more than beautiful dreams. Soon after the end of communism in USSR, the system also weakened in other parts of the world. Most of the former communist states abolished this system and now very few countries (China, Cuba, N. Korea etc.) have the communist system.

USA as the sole Super Power

After the fall of Soviet Union, there was no country so much powerful (militarily, economically and scientifically) that can replace USSR as the second superpower opposing USA due to which USA became the only superpower remained on earth. It was later evident that US didn’t face severe opposition in its military conflicts (especially wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq) due to absence of any other superpower.

Monday, 29 January 2018

REASONS FOR GERMAN DEFEAT IN WORLD WAR 2

Nazi Germany had one of the strongest military forces of the world at the start of World War 2 while the emotions of German people were high for supremacy of German race and also to take revenge for the defeat of World War 1. In just 2 years, Germany was in control of the whole of Europe except Britain and Soviet Union. But the tides were turned later and the war ended with decisive German defeat. The important reasons behind German defeat are listed below:
  • ·         The most important reason for German defeat in World War 2 was the failed German invasion of Soviet Union. German invasion (Operation Barbarossa) only proved partially successful as the Russian defended their important cities of Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad despite sustaining heavy casualties. Later, the Soviet counteroffensive not only uprooted Germans from all their Russian occupied areas but also exhausted them to initiate any major offensive.
  • ·        Battle of Britain was another important factor behind German defeat. In Western Europe, Britain was the only Allied country resisting against Germans. The German effort to demoralize and later capture Britain remained unsuccessful. The resistance of Britain proved significant for later liberation of German captured areas in Western Europe and Africa as the liberation forces of Free France, Poland, Norway, Czechoslovakia and other countries used Britain as their base.
  • ·        Italy proved a weak ally of Germany. The performance of Italian forces in Balkan campaign and Africa remained very poor and German forces had to assist Italy during these campaigns on large scale. If Italy could perform better militarily then Germany would have more men for other fronts especially Eastern front (against Soviet Union). Italian defeat against Greece forced Germany to intervene which delayed the planned German invasion on Soviet Union that later proved disastrous due to severe Russian cold weather.
  • ·        Russia's severe cold weather was the main factor for German defeat on Eastern Front. Many German military personnel died in Russia due to cold weather while Russians initial successes against Germans also came in winters.
  • ·        In the star of World War 2, Soviet Union and Japan signed a truce on their border. Due to this truce, Russians had enough reserve men in Siberia and Far East and these fresh troops played a major role in the Soviet counteroffensive against Germany. Otherwise a successful counteroffensive would not be possible for Soviets as they had lost most of their troops on west during German offensive.
  • ·        After Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbour in 1941, USA entered the war in favor of Allied Powers. American entry in the war was also a major cause for German defeat as the Allies got large numbers of fresh and experienced troops with modern weapons in Europe and Pacific that proved decisive for the war. 

Sunday, 28 January 2018

REASONS FOR GERMAN DEFEAT IN WORLD WAR 1

World War 1 was the first major campaign of 20th Century and it also proved to be the prelude of the most destructive war, the World War 2. The war was fought between the coalitions of Central Powers and Allied Powers while Germany was leading the Central Powers and it was one of the most powerful Empires of that time. 

German Empire was eager to start that war despite efforts by other major powers to find a peaceful solution of the crisis after assassination of Austro-Hungarian Empire’s heir Franz Ferdinand. The reason for impatience of Germany was its massive land and naval power and Germany wanted to increase its empire by using its forces. 

But after initial gains, Germany and Central Powers started to lose the war and the initiative was completely lost till 1917. The main reasons for German defeat in WW1 are given below.

Weaknesses of Central Powers

Apart from Germany, the other main members of Central Powers were quite weak. At that time, Ottoman Empire was known as the ill man of Europe. Ottomans defended their main Anatolian area during Gallipoli Campaign but they lost all their areas in North Africa and Middle East to the Allies. Ottomans effort to capture Caucasus from Russia also failed miserably. In the end, Turkey was only able to protect its main area of Anatolia after Turkish War of Independence.

WW1 started from Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia. It was thought Serbia will be captured within days. But Austro-Hungary could only captured Serbia after more than a year and it was also when Bulgaria entered the war in favor of Central Powers. Austro-Hungarian Empire also proved a week ally of Germany.

War on two Fronts

Due to involvement of Russian Empire, Germany had to fight the war on western and eastern side. Though, Russian Empire was weak at that time but Germany had to put thousands of its troops against Russia because of unsuccessful campaigns of ottomans and Austro-Hungary against Russia. 

Russia opted to withdraw from war in 1917 after Russian Revolution but the entry of USA in favor of Allied powers ended any benefit of Russian withdrawal for Germany.

Unsuccessful U-Boat Campaign

three ships on water
Failure of u-boat campaign was important reason for German defeat

Before the start of WW1, Germany tried to make a strong naval force that could beat the British Empire in case of any conflict. But Britain had the strongest navy which it used for German blockade. In retaliation, Germany used its U-boats (submarines) to attack the ships and boats of Britain and Allied powers. U-boats were used against both military and merchant ships. 

After initial successes, Britain managed to overpower these U-boats through better security measures. In later stages of the war, German U-boats indiscriminately sunk ships of nutral countries also that was a major cause of US entry in WW1 in favor of Allied Powers.

Most Countries sided with Allies

Central Powers could not convince most of the world countries to join their alliance and most of the countries from Europe, Asia and Americas joined Allied Powers. An important reason for many countries joining allies was to take spoils of war as there were more chances that allies would win the war. 

A prominent example was Italy that signed a pact with Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire but joined the war in favor of Allies. Due to large number of opponents, the situation remained difficult for the Central Powers during the whole course of the war.

Entering of US in the war

United States remained neutral during main course of the war but it joined the Allied powers in 1917 after losing few of its ships due to indiscriminate targeting of ships by German U-Boats. US joining the war also very crucial because Russian Empire had withdrawn from the war due to its internal conflict and the Allied powers were in severe need of a powerful country in order to prevent the Central powers to take any advantage of Russian withdrawal from the war.

Internal Conflicts

Due to blockade of Germany by Allied forces, the situation was becoming difficult in Germany for common people that ended with the end of monarchy and formation of Weimer Republic. The new republic was not interested in continuation of war.

Apart from that, the Central Powers could not remain united at the ending moments of war. Austro-Hungary started negotiations with the Allied powers without consultation from Germany. These internal conflicts also made the situation worse for Germany and Central Powers and they had to accept harsh conditions from Allies.

Modern Weapons of Allied Powers

Tanks were invented during WW1 by Allied forces while the allied powers had more sophisticated jet fighters than Germany. These modern weapons also played important role to end the war in favor of Allied Powers.

Trench Warfare


Germany soon reached the frontiers of France after capturing Luxemburg and Belgium. In order to protect France from German invasion, the Allies started Trench Warfare. Despite efforts from Germany (even using chemical weapons), it could not cross the trenches to enter France and the trench warfare ended just before the end of WW1. 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

REASONS FOR RISE OF ISIS

Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) is designated as terrorist organization by U.N. and many countries in the world and there is no country and organization which is openly assisting this organization. But despite every difficulty and military operations by world powers and regional countries of Middle East, ISIL managed to take control of large area of Iraq and Syria. There are few important reasons behind the rise of ISIL.

·         American policies in Middle East should be regarded as the main reason for birth and rise of ISIL. After US invasion of Iraq in 2003 over false allegations of WMD (weapons of mass destruction), ISIL’s parent organization JTJ (Jamaat al Tawhid wal Jihad), under the leadership of al-Zarqawi, started guerrilla warfare against US and became popular among regional Sunni Muslims due to their stiff resistance against US which helped them to increase their strength as large number of fighters join the group. On the other hand, U.S. remained inactive in Syria over the brutal killing of Syrian people by Syrian Army while America even stopped its invasion of Syria when Syria use chemical weapons against civilian while previously U.S. President had called it a red-line. Due to American policy, the Syrian war prolonged for years which helped ISIL to increase its influence and captured areas in Syria and Iraq.

·         Sectarianism in Middle East is another main reason for rise of ISIL. From the start of guerilla warfare in Iraq, JTJ was conducting sectarian attacks on Iraqi Shias which resulted in the killing of thousands of people in Baghdad and other areas while they also targeted the holy places of Shia Muslims on several occasions. America successfully curb the militant activities of AQI with the formation of Awakening Councils (Sahwa) in Sunni Arab areas of Iraq in 2007 but the situation reversed in 2012 by the sectarian policies of Shia-dominated Iranian backed Iraqi regime of Nouri al-Maliki which forced the Arab Sunnis to remade an alliance with Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and the group was able to re-conquered the Sunni areas that they lost earlier.

·         Policies of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was another important reason for reemergence of ISIS. Al-Baghdadi replaced the deceased religious leadership of ISIS with a more militarily expert leadership. He introduced many officers of former Iraqi Baath party in the military leadership of ISIL. Apart from that, other veterans of war also joined ISIL leadership. A prominent example is Abu Omar al-Shishani, a former member of Georgian Armed forces. These experienced members played a key role in the victories of ISIL in 2013 and beyond.


·         Role of Sunni Arab countries is also regarded as an important factor behind the rise of ISIS. Many fighters in ISIS belong to countries like Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries while several wealthy people in these Arab countries are also helping ISIS financially. Critics of Arab countries say that either these countries are helping ISIS or turning a blind eye over recruitment and financial assistance of ISIS from their countries due to sectarian reason.