The Great Mongolian Leader, Genghis Khan
I think that Genghis khan is a history maker because he was able to adapt to the current times to be a powerful leader. Genghis Khan was able to make history because of his unorthodox methods and ability to think outside the box to conquer other empires. For example, he would make his armies travel light and only travel in the colder months so his armies would need less supplies and water. According to the novel “In contrast to almost every major army in history, the Mongols traveled lightly without a supply train(p4).” This was a result of him being able to adapt to the hot and harsh conditions of the desert.
Another personal quality of Genghis khan was he was very smart and strategic allowing him to develop new methods to raid empires. Part of the reason that Genghis khan was able to create history was by developing the new method of the surprise attack. Many previous armies would attack by sending the strongest forces up front but when the Mongols began using this new strategy it caused many future armies to use the same tactic. A situation where Genghis Khan used this tactic was in his attack on Bukhara. “The objective of such tactics was simple and always the same: to frighten the enemy into surrendering before an actual battle began(p5).” This tactic was successful and caused the population of bukhara to surrender to the mongol army. “Genghis Khan’s ability to manipulate people and technology represented the experienced knowledge of more than four decades of nearly constant warfare(p9).” He was able to manipulate people by uniting certain empires to make them stronger as well as taking over the others. He was able to manipulate his enemies by striking fear into them causing them to surrender some of the battles. He was also able to manipulate the available resources to help him and his army.
The last trait that helped Genghis Khan was his cruel and harsh behavior. He would do whatever it took to accomplish his goal. His cruel ways started with the harsh conditions and challenges he had to face growing up including being forced to kill his own brother. Throughout his reign he would execute all who betrayed him or didn’t help make his empire stronger. His cruel mentality made it so nobody would disobey him. He also took these cruel actions to the battlefield by killing everyone who stood in his path. He even took his soldiers who died from the plague and would catapult them over the enemy walls to spread the plague. This was the start of biological warfare. I think that because of the qualities that Genghis Khan possessed and his ability to adapt to his time, he would’ve been able to be a powerful leader in any era. Therefore I believe that history does not make the man and that man makes history.
Having a technological advantage does not always mean that you will win in a war. Having strong technology is not helpful unless you have a strong strategy to use the technology. Although having advanced technology can give you a strong advantage, the person using the technology controls how successful they will be. Although Genghis Khan had many helpful technologies he had to make them out of the natural resources available to him.
For example the novel states that “When the Mongols came to the first trees after crossing the vast desert, they cut them down and made them into ladders, siege engines, and other instruments for their attack(p4).” The main weapon used by the mongol army was the bow and arrow. This was a strong technology because it allowed for long range battle and allowed for them to shoot over city walls. Another powerful technology developed by the Mongols was the catapult. This was shown in the attack on Samarkand when “The Mongol invaders rolled up their newly constructed siege engines-catapults, trebuchets, and mangonels that hurled not only stones and fire, as besieging armies had done for centuries, but also pots of burning liquids, exploding devices, and incendiary materials(p7-8).” These catapults were later used to launch soldiers infected with the plague over enemy walls to infect the city.
Another example showing that technologies do not always win battles was when the Mongols attacked the song. The song had major technologies that the Mongols did not including gunpowder. Gunpowder was first used in warfare as an incendiary, or fire-producing, compound. Small packages of gunpowder wrapped in paper or bamboo were attached to arrows and lit with a fuse. Song efforts to continually improve their weapons were one reason they were able to hold off the Mongols for several decades. But the Mongols were equally ready to adopt new and better military technology, often by capturing the Chinese engineers and gunners. However even though the song had the stronger technologies the Mongols were still able to take over the song by using a strong navy to enter the inside of the song empire. The Mongols were able to later on use the technologies developed by the song in their later conquests against Europe. In conclusion the Mongols developed many major technologies that will be used in warfare for centuries. They also proved that having stronger resources in battle does not mean that you will win and that it takes a good strategy to win.
The Mongols are known in history as one of the strongest empires to ever live and part of the reason was the powerful leader, Genghis Khan. Led by Genghis Khan and his sons and grandsons, the Mongols briefly ruled most of modern-day Russia, China, Korea, southeast Asia, Persia, India, the Middle East and eastern Europe. After uniting the nomadic tribes of the Mongolian plateau, he conquered huge chunks of central Asia and China. I think that the key to Genghis Khan maintaining a strong empire is that he was feared by not only his enemy but his people as well. This enforced that his people would not disobey him and would stay loyal. The Mongols were a very successful empire. Their success in creating the empire came from their military powers. The Mongol military included both heavy and light cavalry whose abilities and tactics were beyond those of the people who the Mongols conquered. The Mongol army continually trained the troops in rotations, formations and diversionary tactics. They trained for as many circumstances as they could think of so they could react fast and sure to any tactic of the enemy.
The Mongols were also good at maintaining the empire. This happened because they strictly enforced laws that actually helped the people of their empire. They made trade much more easy and managed to suppress things like tribal warfare that had made people’s lives hard. They allowed people to practice their own religions instead of imposing a religion on anyone. They even had a fairly flexible system of local governments that could adapt to local conditions.
The main failure of the Mongols empire was there defeat against Japan. The Japanese defeated the Mongols on two invasions, 1274 and 1281. The main reason that the japanese were able to defeat them was they had a much more powerful navy over the Mongols. As well as when the Mongols went to invade Japan they had to face harsh weather including a tsunami. Another thing that made the Mongols so successful was their ability to have a stable economy because of their control of the Silk Road. Genghis Khan began controlling the northern parts of the Silk Road during his early conquests, spreading his power and influence to the south. Destroying and occupying Arab and Turkic trade centers, he quickly gained control over the majority of the route. In conclusion, the keys to the Mongols keeping a healthy empire was their ability to constantly expand using their powerful military as well as being able to maintain a powerful empire with a strong government and economy.
When the Mongols had as large of an empire as they did it was very important that everything always ran smoothly. To do this there was very specific gender roles. In the Mongol society, there are specific, yet relatively equal roles for both men and women. Men and women would have their everyday jobs and tasks that they would be responsible for.“While the mongol Men stayed busy on the battlefield conquering fioreign countries, women managed the empire (p160).” The men in Mongol society covered many of the stereotypical roles that one might expect. They were the head of household, the warrior, and the leader of the tribe. Men typically handled external affairs including military, administrative, and trade matters. Most of the men would be in the military and fight as a part of the very powerful Mongol army. They would start their training as a small child and would have to train until they are ready for the military. They would also have to learn the tactics of the Mongol army. Men in the tribes were expected to be accomplished horseman, bowman, and hunters. These men were considered to be obedient, respectful, and friendly toward one another.
Just like the men, the Women also had their own responsibilities. According to the text “Among the herding tribes, women traditionally managed the affairs at home while the men went off to herd, hunt or fight, and although the war campaigns now lasted for years rather than months and the home consisted of not merely a collection of ger camps but a vast empire, women continued to rule(p160).” The women in Mongol society were considered to be highly valued members of that society. The women were responsible for not only caring for the home but also being the adviser for their husband. It was not uncommon for a younger Mongolian man to marry an older Mongolian woman who was capable of offering advice suited to advancing her husband’s position. During wartime, women were expected to follow their men to the battlefield carrying supplies, weapons, and offering aid to the injured. In Mongol society, men were dominant. The society was patriarchal and patrilineal. However, Mongol women had far more freedom and power than women in other patriarchal cultures. This was different from many surrounding societies because women were treated very poorly and given very little power in most places around the world. Even though the Mongol men and women were not always viewed as equal they both had very important roles in a functioning society.
Genghis Khan’s rule over the Mongols empire had many positive and negative effects on future societies. The very important decisions that Genghis khan was forced to make made the Mongol empire the successful empire that we know today. However we can now learn many valuable lessons from the decisions and choices that Genghis Khan made. We can use many of the mistakes that he and the Mongols made so future societies do not repeat them.
Many of Genghis Khan’s personal qualities can be used today by many people in the modern world. Some qualities including perseverance and leadership can be used by anyone in their daily life. Genghis Khan had a very difficult early life and he never gave up. He was captured by his own tribe and was tortured but because of his perseverance he was able to overcome these challenges and was able to become the leader of a massive empire. This is a very important lesson that anybody can learn from. Another lesson that can be learned from Genghis Khan is his leadership. He was able to lead arguably the most powerful military to ever walk the earth. Other things that Genghis Khan promoted can be used as a staple for present-day societies. He promoted things like, he abolished torture, embraced religious freedom, united disparate tribes, hated aristocratic privilege, ran his kingdoms meritocratically, loved learning and advanced the rights of women in Mongol society. These things were staples for the successful Mongol empire and should still be promoted all around the world. The Mongol empire was the first society that gave women equal rights to men and also promoted religious freedom, however, this is still not practiced in many places today. Many leaders today can learn from the way that Genghis Khan ran his empire.
Although there are many positive things that we can take away from Genghis Khan’s reign, they are also many negative things that we can take away. Some of these things include his harsh and cruel mentality. He did not care who he killed and hurt to achieve his goal. People can learn that there are better ways to achieve what you want. Another mistake that Genghis Khan made was he made his empire to large to keep under control. This can teach people not to “bite off more than you can chew” and to not try to take control of something more than you can manage. Genghis Khan and the Mongol empire taught us many lessons, good and bad. Genghis Khan was a key part of history and many of the decisions he made made the world what it is today.
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