Archive for March, 2008

Worst Riots in U.S. History by death toll.

March 29, 2008

100 – New York Draft Riots (New York City, 1863)

53 – Los Angeles riots (1992)

43 – Attica Prison riots (New York, 1971)

39+ – Tulsa Race Riot, (Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1921)

34 – Watts Riot (Los Angeles, 1965)

20 – Ludlow Massacre (Ludlow, Colorado, 1914)

5 – Greensboro massacre (Greensboro, North Carolina, 1979)

4 – Kent State shootings (Kent, Ohio, 1970)

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10 Deadliest Battles in American History

March 18, 2008

Deadliest Battles in U.S.History

1. Battle of Meuse-Argonne World War I: 26,277

2. Battle of the Bulge (WW2) 19,276

3. Battle of Okinawa (WW2) 12,513

4. Battle of Gettysburg (Civil) 7,863

5. Battle of Guadalcanal (WW2) 7,099

6. Battle of Iwo Jima (WW2) 6,821

7. Antietam (Civil) 3,654

8. Battle of Shiloh (Civil) 3,482

9. Bull Run II (Civil) 3,000

10. Battle of Saipan (WW2) 2,949

Some famous battles that do not make the list:

Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor: 2,403

Tet Offensive Vietnam War: 1536

Invasion of Normandy (WW2) 1,465

Famous Battles with few comparable deaths: 400 Colonists died at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Only 267 Died with Custer at the Little Big Horn. 183 Texans died in the Alamo. If you take out the yellow fever epidemic, only 379 U.S. Troops died in the entire Spanish –American War. The entire Persian Gulf War saw only 148 U.S. deaths.

The U.S. has had far fewer deaths than other countries in the same battles. The top 7 deadliest battles in world history have all been fought in Russia! Four Million people died in the sieges of Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad during World War II. That is more than all U.S. Deaths in all wars combined. In World War II, Russia lost 23 Million people and China lost 20 million while the U.S. lost 418,000.

Western culture places high value on Human life, and the sacrifice of large numbers of people is unthinkable. 140,000 Japanese died on Okinawa including 80,000 civilians who committed suicide rather than surrender. The willingness of Japanese citizens to take their own life gave the U.S. the push they needed to use the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As horrible as the bombings were, the 150,000 people who died is only a fraction of the total number of Japanese deaths that would have occurred in the Invasion of Japan.

10 Deadliest natural disasters in U.S. History

March 18, 2008

Sources vary on the number of deaths that are attributed to the disasters. 

 1. 1980 Heat Wave (June-Sept. 1980): 10,000-15,000

2. Galveston Hurricane (Sept. 8-9, 1900): 8,000-12,000

3. 1901 Heat Wave: 9,508

4. 1988 Drought/Heat Wave: 5,000-10,000

5. 1936 Heat Wave : 4,678

6. Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005): 2,500-4000

7. San Francisco Earthquake (April 18-21, 1906): 3,000

8. Lake Okeechobee Hurricane (September 16, 1928): 2,500-3,000

9. Johnstown Flood (May 31, 1889): 2,209

10. 1975 Heat Wave (July 31-Aug. 3, 1975): 1,500-2,000

10 Deadliest American Wars

March 18, 2008

The Iraq War just cracked the top 10, passing the Spanish American War, in Total U.S. Deaths.   Iraq is 7th on the list if you just count combat deaths and not disease, or accidents. 

 

1.  Civil War (1861-65):  618,222

2.  World War II (1941-1945):  405,399

3.  World War I (1917-1918):  116,516

4.  Vietnam War (1965-73):  58,177

5.  Korean War (1950-53):  36,568

6.  American Revolution (1775-83):  25,324

7.  War of 1812 (1812-15):  19,465

8.  Mexican-American War (1846-48):  13,283

9.  Indian Wars (1775-1891): 4,100 ±

10.  Iraq War (2003-Present):  3990

The Wall’s of History

March 12, 2008

General George Patton gave a famous quote, “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.  If mountain ranges and oceans can be overcome, anything made by man can be overcome.”

The secure fence act of 2006 authorized the United States to spend $1.2 Billion to construct 700 miles of fencing along the U.S. Mexico border.  The border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico is nearly 2000 miles long.  The question a history fan will ask: Is this a good idea?

We always hear how history repeats itself.  I want to take a look at several examples of walls or fences that were constructed to divide international borders. How have the defense walls done throughout history?  Let’s examine several walls to see if they were successful.

The Great Wall of China:

The Great Wall stretches over approximately 4,160 miles in total. At its peak, the Wall was guarded by more than one million men. It has been estimated that somewhere in the range of 2 to 3 million Chinese died as part of the centuries-long project of building the wall.

Did it work?  The Wall was built to defend China from invasions from the north.  In 1115, the Manchu invade from the north and conquer China.  In 1264 the Mongols conquered China and begun the Yuan Dynasty.  In 1644 The Ching (Manchuria) Dynasty invades takes over power from the Ming.

The Great Wall last served to defend China from Japanese invasion from Manchuria during WWII.  While the defensive fortification did manage to slow down invasions over the last two centuries, the invaders found a way over, around, and through the Great Wall time and time again. 

Hadrian’s Wall:

Roman emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of a Wall across Britain in 122 C.E. separating the northern territory held by the Scots and Picts (Two separate tribes of native peoples) from the rest of Roman Britain. The wall was 80 miles long and 3 meters wide by 5-6 meters high.  The Scots and Picts raided Romano British villages, then returned to the highlands where it was difficult for Roman Legions to find them.  They were the insurgents of their time. 

The invasions continued even with the wall in place.  Another wall was built even further north, but it still did not stop the raids.  Eventually the British hired the Anglo-Saxons (A Germanic barbarian tribe) to assist them in fighting the Picts and Scots.  Who better to fight a Barbarian than a Barbarian right?  Well the Anglo-Saxon’s decided that while they were there, why not just take over the British cities as well.  It was easier to attack a standing army with rich cities than fight the guerilla tactics of the Scots and Picts with no real wealth to pillage.  Even with the heroics of the legendary Romano-British leader Arthur, The British were forced to move west into modern Wales while the Anglo-Saxon’s took control of most of Britain renaming it England.  They have been there ever since.

New Amsterdam Wall:

New Amsterdam settlement in present day lower Manhattan Island constructed a wall along its northern border in the 1640’s to protect Dutch settlers from Indian attacks. Later, the Dutch West India Company constructed a stockade. By the time war had developed with the English, a strengthened 12-foot wall was fortified by palisades.  In 1664, British ships sailed to the port and seized control of the city without ever having to penetrate the Wall.  The Fur traders along the Hudson River would meet at the Wall to exchange goods.  When the British took the Wall down, they built a street in its place and named it Wall Street.  This informal fur trading center eventually became the New York Stock Exchange.

The Maginot Line and the Atlantic Wall:

German invasions into France had been occurring since the Roman Empire.  Following the Great War, France constructed a series of fortifications and defenses along the border with Germany.  In 1936 Hitler militarized the Rhineland breaking the treaty of Versailles that ended WWI.  France countered by heavily reinforcing the Maginot line.  In 1940, Germany engaged the French with small holding attacks against the Maginot line, and sent its main force through Belgium and Holland into an unprotected France.  Germany’s Right Hook caught France on the chin and Paris fell before the French troops at the Maginot Line could react.  The Allies lost 2,292,000 troops due to the failed Maginot line Defense including 1.8 Million French troops who surrendered.  The British successfully evacuated 300,000 troops from Dunkirk before they could be captured.

Germany did not learn from this wall defense strategy.  After the capture of mainland Europe, they built an Atlantic Wall to keep the Allies from launching a counter-offensive into Europe.  On June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion of Normandy breached the Atlantic wall and advanced inland in only a few hours of fighting.

The Berlin Wall:

After Soviet occupation of Berlin during WWII, the mass migration to the west began.  Germans wanted to be in the U.S./British West instead of the Communist controlled East.  The Berlin wall was built in 1961 to keep people in instead of keeping people out.  So East Germany was essentially a prison.  The wall divided families, and kept people from their jobs.  The wall did not stop people from escaping.  An estimated 5,000 Germans illegally crossed into West Germany by tunnels, canals, trains, and even hot air balloons.  A standing order to shoot anyone trying to cross was in effect until the wall fell.  An estimated 200 people were killed attempting to cross the border. The last death was in 1989, where 31 year old Chris Gueffroy was shot by guards. 

The Iron Curtain was opened in Hungary in August, 1989, and 13,000 East Germans poured out of the country.  Czechoslovakia soon followed suit.  Nearly a million people protested outside the wall throughout 1989.  In order to ease the complications, the politburo decided on November 9, 1989, to allow people to exit directly through crossing points for business purposes with proper approval. The announcement went out on Television, but the restrictions were not mentioned.  Tens of Thousands of Berliners immediately flooded the border checks and demanded exit from East Berlin.  The overwhelmed guards opened the gates and November 9, 1989 became the day the Wall fell.

So, in conclusion, walls do not work.  They are a waste of time and money.  Rivers, deserts and mountains are crossed by illegal immigrants every day.  How is a fence going to keep people out?  The border fence is a ridiculous proposal that will do more harm than good for the security of the United States.  The thought of defense is totally backward.  The solution is offense.

How do you keep illegal immigrants out of the United States?  How about spending the $1.2 billion on economic revitalization programs in Mexican border cities?  U.S. engineers and construction companies could get back to work by building power plants, roads, factories, bridges etc.  They could finally build a sewer system that actually works.  The labor would come from Mexican workers.  If they have jobs, they would not come here.  A fence does not keep illegals out, it keeps them in!  With all the jobs created in Mexico, there would be an emigration of migrant workers back to Mexico.  Isn’t that really what we all want? 

One for the Age’s

March 12, 2008

Nobody knows when eras or ages change while they are happening.  The clarity of historical perspective gives us the knowledge to name the ages.  Time moves along the status quo until an event of series of events drastically change the world.  The changes are not entirely without dispute.  There is no consensus because history is not facts. It is just an individual’s interpretation of events (his story). 

Classical Age or Antiquity

In 776 B.C. the Greeks developed a written language and the concept of philosophy was introduced.  Education and free thought allowed societies to flourish through shared knowledge.  The Fall of Rome when the last Emperor, Romulus Augustus, was deposed in 476 is widely attributed to the end of the Classic age and the entrance into the dark ages.  The Visigoth sack of Rome in 410 is also considered by some the beginning of the dark ages.

Dark Ages

The collapse of systems following the fall of Rome was too much to overcome.  The monetary system deteriorated and people fell back into barter.  The roads, aqueducts, etc. were not maintained.  Architects, engineers, doctors, etc. stopped practicing their trade, and within a few generations, it was all forgotten.  Common trade allowed society to flourish, but when the systems that allowed the trade went away, so did the trade.  The period is called “dark” because of the lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and no significant cultural achievements.

Middle Ages

Charlemagne united Europe into the Holy Roman Empire to end the Dark ages in 800 and move into the Medieval Period or the Middle Ages.  His rule is also associated with the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the medium of the Catholic Church. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne helped define both Western Europe and the Middle Ages.  Today he is not only regarded as the founding father of both French and German monarchies, but as the father of Europe: his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Romans.  The Muslim advance through Spain was stopped and by 803, the Franks captured Barcelona.  With the Muslim-advance stopped in the west, a Crusade to retake the holy land was called for by Pope Urban II in 1095.  200 years and nine crusades later, the Muslims still controlled the holy land, and the rift between Christians and Muslims is still felt today. 

The Enlightenment

There are several major world events that occurred in the 15th century that drastically changed the world.

The renaissance was a rebirth of culture that began in Italy in the 14th century.  Christians conquered of the Muslim city of Cordoba, which contained a library with 400,000 books.  Science and philosophy were studied for the first time in 1000 years. 

The Black Death hit Italy particularly hard. Modern medical study was done for the first time and the study of the natural world in Italy increased during the plague. The plague was not passed off as an act of God.  People wanted to know what caused the Plague.  Also, religious artwork was commissioned during this period.  Three of the greatest artists in world history; Da Vinci, Botticelli, and Michelangelo were all born in Florence around the same time period.

1440:  Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.  Mass production of written documents allowed shared knowledge to usher in the scientific revolution.   Chemistry, physics, astronomy, and biology were all developed because of the printing press.  Da Vinci, Copernicus, Galileo, Keppler, Newton, and many other great minds all came of age during this time period.

1453:  In the 2nd Battle at Castillon: France beat England, ending the hundred year war.

1453:  Ottoman Turks captured the Roman city of Constantinople ending the last remnants of the Roman Empire, and the last Christian hold on the East.  Europe did not control trade routs to the Far East and inflation went out of control for tea, spices, etc.  Greek scholars fled to Italy and brought with them the text of classic Greeks that had been lost for centuries in the west.

1492:  Europeans were looking for a western passage to the rich trading of the orient due to the Muslim control of land and sea passages to the east.  Christopher Columbus sailed across the Pacific Ocean and found the new world.  This began the colonization of the Americas and a new economic vitalization for Western Europe.

1492:  Christian re-conquest of Spain, which advanced southward, concluding with the fall of the Moorish province of Granada, the last Muslim occupation of Europe. 

1517 Martin Luther published the 95 Theses, challenging papal authority and criticizing its perceived corruption, particularly with regard to its sale of indulgences. The 95 Theses led to the Reformation, a break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Are we still in the age of enlightenment, or have we moved to a new age?  History will be able to see the changes that we can not.  I believe that the modern age began in 1897 with the discovery of electrons.  How has electronics changed the world in just over 100 years?  Think about it. 

Other key events around this time were: Einstein’s theory of relativity (1905), Wireless telegraph (1895), Automobile invention (1889), assembly line (1901), Airplane, Wright Brothers (1903), Bayer Aspirin (1900).  Also, in 1898 The United States became an imperial power with victory in the Spanish-American War.  In 1899 the industrial revolution progressed in America with the formation of Carnegie Steel.

The current time period does not have a name.  We can not give it a name because we do not have any idea on the direction the advancements will lead us.  The next age change may be far off, but, will it be another enlightenment of another dark age?  History only knows.

What is the best Military in world history?

March 11, 2008

Obviously modern armies would make quick work of any ancient military, but I am judging an Army based on how well they dominated in their time. Brilliant strategists like Hannibal of Carthage and Napoleon are not listed because they lost wars and did not sustain an empire. They would be listed among the greatest commanders of all time along with Alexander, Julius Caesar, and Attila. An Empire builder is a politician, strategist, economist, and leader. The rise of an empire that is sustained throughout time is the real legacy of a great military. Here is a list of the most dominant militaries of their day. The dates listed are the peak of power.

Antiquity

Egypt 1274 B.C. The rise of Egypt as a world power was steady over two thousand years. Egypt was basically a set of villages that defended the fertile Nile River Valley on both sides from foreigners trying to settle there. The invasion of Egypt by the Hyskos (Syria) in 17th Century B.C. led to the formation of a standing army and the beginning of the New Empire. The major advance in weapons technology and warfare began around 1600 BC when the Egyptians fought and finally defeated the Hyksos people. It was during this period the horse and chariot were introduced into Egypt. They fought wars against powerful Near Eastern kingdoms like Mitanni, the Hittites, the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Battle of Kadesh (1274) took place between the forces of Ramesses II (The same guy that killed all the Jewish Babies)and the Hittites of Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh, in modern Syria. Egypt was ambushed crossing the Orontes River and routed. Egypt lost control of the Middle East and allowed the rise of Assyrians.

Assyrians 612 B.C. Assyria is considered to be the worlds first Empire. They competed with Babylonia and Egypt for dominance in the Middle East for centuries. They took control of Babylonia in 703 B.C. They destroyed all of Israel and enslaved the population. The tiny Kingdom of Judea was surrounded and just when it seemed that Jerusalem would fall, the Assyrian Army was infected with the plague and retreated. In 701 B.C. they faced a coalition of Egyptian, Phoenician, Philistine, and Jewish armies and crushed them all. They went on to conquer Egypt in 671 B.C. Upon King Ashurbanipal’s death in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate rapidly. The Assyrian Capital city of Nineveh was sacked by Babylonians in 612 B.C. and all Assyrian territory was over run by the Persian Empire by 609 B.C.

Persia 480 B.C. The Persians conquered all of southern Asia (the “stan” countries) up to the boarders of China and India. They held all of the middle east including, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Holy Land. They invaded Europe, and conquered Thrace up to the Danube River. The Greek War devastated the vast numbers of Persian troops. Even though they defeated Sparta and Athens, the loss in the naval battle of Salamis to the combined Greek Fleet led to the withdrawal of Persia from Europe. If the Persians held the Greek cities, western civilization would have been very different.

Macedonia 323 BC: Alexander never lost a battle in 12 years of constant war. Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria, and Mesopotamia, and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as Punjab, India. Alexander’s victory over vastly superior Persia forces at the battle of Gaugamela is one of the most important and innovative battles in history. Persian chariots, which were unstoppable up to this point, were considered obsolete after Alexander’s tactics obliterated Persian Chariots. Prior to his death at age 33, Alexander had already made plans for military and mercantile expansions into the Arabian peninsula, after which he was to turn his armies to the west (Carthage, Rome, and Spain). Alexander’s battle strategies and system of governing were closely studied and implemented into the Roman Republic.

Roman Republic 49 B.C. By the first century B.C. Rome controlled every inch of shore touching the Mediterranean as well as Britain and Gaul (modern France). Julius Caesar defeated a combined Gallic Army and held the Governorship of Gaul at the same time as being consul of Rome. The senate thought he had too much power, and they ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome to stand trial for violations of the constitution. He entered Rome with his army and Civil War led to the eventual downfall of the Roman Republic.

Roman Empire 117: Rome was a world power for so long that it is tough to come up with the peak of power. The largest territory was in 117 under Emperor Trajan when Armenia, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia were conquered from the Parthian Empire. Trajan’s successor Hadrian abandoned the middle east because he did not believe they could defend the cities so far from Rome. They defeated Germania in several wars, but were never able to maintain a hold north of the Rhine River. They were smart enough to avoid land wars in Asia because they understood supply lines and communication. Rome was founded in 1000 B.C. and the eternal city officially fell in 476 but the empire continued in Constantinople until 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured the city.

Middle Ages

Huns 453: Attila united central Asian nomads into an elite mobile fighting force that raided cities and left them in ashes. Three Norse sagas depict Attila as a hero and his tactics may have influenced the Vikings. The Huns territory stretched from China (The Great Wall) to Germany, and from the Baltic to the Danube River in Eastern Europe. They pushed the Goths, Vandals, and many other Germanic tribes into Roman territory . Rome had to defend the entire border of the empire, so they were stretched too thin. Rome had to ally with the Germanic tribes and provide them with weapons, food, land, etc to guard against Hunnic plundering. Eventually, Rome granted Attila land to settle on, modern day Hungary, and paid him a tribute in Gold. When the Emperor Valentinian’s sister Honoria proposed to Attila, he invaded Italy to claim half of the Roman Empire as dowry. Attila was defeated at Chalons, France by a combined Roman, Gothic Army. He returned the next year and invaded Italy. Northern Roman provinces left their homes to live in on the many small islands in the Venetian lagoon which became the city of Venice. In 452, Pope Leo I pleaded with Attila to spare Rome, and he agreed leaving Italy. He died in 453 before he could capture Constantinople. Although the Roman Empire officially fell in 476, the Fall of Rome was Attila the Hun’s doing.

Arab Empire 743: The Umayyad dynasty under caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik marked the greatest extent of the Muslim empire. Their rule stretched from Spain to India. They controlled Spain, North Africa, The Middle east, Persia and western India (Pakistan). The Muslims were defeated at the battle of Tours in Spain by Frankish King Charles Martel. This was the end of Islamic expansion into Western Europe. Hisham continued fighting the Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor and the Near East. They forced religious conversions of Pagans. Surprisingly, they allowed Christians and Jews to practice their faith, although they were placed into a higher tax bracket. Before the Crusades, the Muslims respected Christians and Jews rights to worship because they believe in the same God.

Holy Roman Empire 814: Charles I, King of the Franks or Charlemagne was crowned the first holy roman emperor on December 25, 800. He conquered most of Europe and converted all lands to Roman Catholicism through force if necessary. The conquest of Spain eventually pushed the Islamic Moors out of Europe. The Roman Catholics dominated Europe for the next 700 years until the protestant reformation caused several nations to split with the Holy Roman Empire. The empire formed by Charlemagne lasted until 1806 when the last emperor Francis II was defeated by Napoleon.

Byzantine Empire 1054: The Re-conquest of Crete and Cyprus and the expansion into Syria and Northern Iraq extended the Byzantine power throughout the Eastern Mediterranean again. The empire stretched from Armenia to Southern Italy. They defeated the Bulgarian empire and controlled all of the Balkans up to the borders with Hungary. The split of the Catholic and Orthodox Church in 1054 caused weakening relations with Rome. New enemies emerged as Normans invaded southern Italy, and the Turks conquered Armenia and Asia Minor. The Empire lasted until 1453 when the Turks captured the capital city of Constantinople.

The Vikings may have been the most fearsome group in the 9th-11th centuries, but they were not united under one ruler, and can not really be considered one military group. They did however control land from the Arctic to Baghdad, and North America (500 years before Columbus) to The Black Sea and everywhere in between. They conquered parts of France, Spain, Italy, and all of England in 1066 (the last successful invasion of England). The Russian Czars all the way up to present day Russians are Viking decedents. Nationalism in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as Christianization of settlements led to the end of the Viking Age.

Mongols 1279: Genghis Kahn’s grandson Kublai Kahn ruled the largest contiguous empire in world history. China (The Great wall did not work again), Russia, most of the Middle East, and Eastern Europe fell to the Mongols. They were fighting the the German Teutonic Knights, and the Japanese Samurai at the same time! How would things be different today if the Mongols did not turn back at Vienna and instead rode through Western Europe? The enlightenment may not have happened for a few hundred more years. After they left Europe, they conquered Korea from the Japanese Shogun, then tried unsuccessfully to invade Japan in 1281. Japan was saved from the Mongol fleet by a sudden violent storm that destroyed many of the invading ships. The Japanese called the storm Kamikaze, (the divine wind). Unity of the Mongol tribes was never as strong following the defeat. In 1368 China revolted and pushed out the Mongols (Yuan) to form the Ming dynasty.

Ottoman Empire: 1566: Suleiman the magnificent conquered Belgrade and the Kingdom of Hungary as well as most of central Europe. He laid siege to Vienna but failed to take the city. In the East, they captured Baghdad from the Persians and controlled all of the Middle East from Mesopotamia to Egypt. With access to the Persian Gulf, they developed the worlds best Navy. The empire expanded by defeating Spain and conquering Algeria and Tunisia. The Turks actually evacuated Jews from Christian Lands during the inquisition and returned them to safety in the Ottoman controlled Holy Land. Continued wars with Austria, Persia, and the newly emerging European powers weakened the empire. The Ottomans lasted until 1919 when British helped unite the Arabs and Iraq to fight against Turkish rule during WWI. The British and French then took control of all former Ottoman regions. Ottoman remnants settled in Asia Minor, which eventually became the nation of Turkey. The Balkan provinces were given their independence, but Britain governed Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Iraq, and Iran until stable governments could be put in place. Sound familiar?

British Empire 1783: British had control of the all of the world’s oceans. Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, North and South America and everywhere in between were controlled by the British. They were mainly a naval power, but still, the American Revolution was histories greatest upset. The British fought wars on six continents and four Oceans simultaneously. The loss of America in 1783 did little to hurt British interests world wide. India and Burma were granted independence. Britain granted parliamentary control of South Africa, Australia, and Canada to the local people who agreed to maintain loyal to the British Monarchy. The influences of British colonialism formed the modern world as we know it.

Modern Era

Russian Empire 1856: After the defeat of Napoleon in 1812, Russia was considered militarily invincible. They controlled the territory from The Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and the Arctic Ocean in the North to the Caucus Mountains in the South. The empire spanned over 6000 miles and 11 time zones. The advance south into Ukraine and dominance of the Black Sea led to the Crimean war. The first modern war was fought by a joint force of France, Britain, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Even though Russia dominated the war, Russian Czar Nicholas I agreed to a peace treaty that severely weakened Russian influence in Europe. The peace settlement of the Crimean war actually led to WWI.

Third Reich 1942: I am breaking my rule about a long lasting empire here, but the Germans became so powerful so fast that they deserve mention. It took Russia, Britain, France, and the United States to break the German military machine. They conquered France in 40 days, along with most of Europe. The two front war and loss of Air and Sea supremacy weakened the Germans. The key to the turnaround was the Greek resistance. They held out fighting man to man in the streets for 10 months. That allowed the allies to regroup and the Russian Red Army was formed. If not for the Greek resistance, Hitler would have certainly captured western Russia. Then he could have turned west and taken Britain before America was entrenched there. It would have been a very different war after that!

USSR 1989: This great military machine never went to war, but instead fought and lost the cold war with the U.S.A. If China and Russia could have avoided a split in ideology in the 1950’s, communism could have spread throughout the world forcing an eventual war with the NATO allies along the Eastern Bloc lines. Nuclear war was far from likely although it was the great deterrent.

USA 2008: Combat troops are spread from Korea to Iraq. Firm control of land, air and sea as well as outer space make the American Empire the most dominant the world has ever seen. Iraq, The world’s 4th largest Army at 600,000 troops lasted 4 days against the U.S. in 1991.