Support the show (http://www.battlegroundhistory.com)
Support the show (http://www.battlegroundhistory.com)
welcome to battleground history, episode 23, the fall of constantinople versus the Cold War. Today's event bracket battle pits, two vastly different incidents. One, the fall of Constantinople was the culmination of a series of events and the general deterioration of the successor to the Roman Empire. The other, the cold war started suddenly raged on dangerously and ended with a whimper. Let's see who moves on to the second round. The full of Constantinople officially occurred on May 20, ninth, 14, 53 after a 53 day siege by the Muslim Ottoman armies, but the end didn't come because of the siege or a lost battle or two, it was part of the gradual and long decline and one of the greatest empires in world history, the conquest of the fortress. Lake City was a watershed moment shaking the foundations of all of Christian Europe, but it was something that was inevitable. Let's start with the siege and the assumption subsequent capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Empire troops were led by a 21 year old Sultan, Mehmet the second. The Byzantine emperors at the time was constantine the 11th Paleo logus who ascended to the throne in 1439 being the region for his brother John the eighth. For the two previous years, the two lead vastly different worlds. One, the Ottoman empire was on the ascent reaching its apex and the 15 fifties under Suleiman the magnificent someone we will see in episode 37 when he faces off against Marcus Aurelius. Constantine was a capable leader, but during his reign we've seen an empire that was at its Nadir. They saw their peak a thousand years earlier during the reign of Justinian, the first and 5:27, two five 65. The Sultan, Mehmet lead about 90,000 men to the siege of Constantinople, including numerous masons to help build another fort to help cover the army's transportive. Men through the Strait of phosphorus included in the armies are snug. We're 700 cannons, including one called the basilica. It was 27 feet long and used 600 pound projectiles that could do severe damage to the walls of Constantinople. While it can only fire seven times a day, it's effect was devastating. They needed this as three walls surrounding the city and they held back 23 seizures before this one in Constantinople. They only had about 10,000 men to defend the city as most people already bailed out. Knowing the end was near. There were about 2004 and mercenaries to help out, but clearly that was not going to be enough. When [inaudible] arrived on April six, 14, 53, they had to have looked over the walls and abject fear. This town once held a million people down to about $50,000 by April 18th amendment. The second believe that 12 days of cannon fire should be enough to breach the walls and take the city. He sent men into try to break through the opening, but they were repulsed two days later for relief festivals from Genoa made it into the Golden Horn. Next to the city was supplies. Ma'Am. I knew that he had to control that region but couldn't get past the massive chain across the narrow waterway. So in an incredible engineering feat, he had 30 boats hold overland to take control of the golden horde, and the ensuing weeks to significant gaps in the outer wall have more troops of the Ottoman army to attack, but they were repulsed yet again, the Turkish engineers tried to dig under the walls in place, landmines underneath. But that failed miserably as well. Then they decided to scale the walls that was even more disastrous for the invaders. So much so there was talk of giving up. Mehmet the second knew that if he did that, it would likely caused him his life. On May 20, ninth, 14, 53, another breach and the walls near the [inaudible] river was opened and the Turks sent in their Bashir Bazooka into the gap. They were repulsed. So another wave of men was sentenced. They've also failed, but by now the defenders of the city, we're beginning to tire. So with third wave, this time of genesis areas went in. They started to make headway when another group of Turks open undefended gate, which allowed a massive men to enter the city, Constantine and ninth or 11th, excuse me, lead the remaining men and many of the citizens of Constantinople at the Ottoman army, and they were all slaughtered for the next few days. The city was sacked and alluded with Memud, making sure that he can take control of the most important and wealthiest buildings. The hydros Sophia was quickly converted from one of Christendoms most magnificent churches into a Muslim mosque. Those citizens who were not murdered were sold into slavery. It is estimated that the number of enslaved top 30,000, the aftermath of the taking of Constantinople was enormous. All throughout your concerns has been an invasion of their continent by the armies of Islam would be unstoppable if the walls of Constantinople could be breached. What hope do the rest of Europe have? Well, as we shall see in episode 52 with the battle of Vienna facing Zama, the onslaught would be halted, but that would take another hundred and 30 years of fighting. Now for putting it into perspective segment. In the forties and fifties, Machu Picchu was being built, Pope Nicholas the fifth issues the DM diverse bull, which legitimize colonial slave trade as Gutenberg produces the first Bible printed using his moving type press, and the war of the roses begins in England. Next up is an event that many of you may have lived through the Cold War beginning in 1947, just two years after the end of World War II. An event occurred that would last for 44 years and would bring the world to the brink of destruction. The Soviet Union in the United States of America were allies during the later stages of the war, but it was an uneasy alliance. The two are diametrically opposed to each other, both economically and politically. The Soviets were under an authoritarian Marxist leninist regime, while the Americans were federal republic with a capitalist economic system with the USSR, taking eastern Europe as a supposedly buffer to prevent another invasion. The US responded with what is known as the Truman doctrine. The Truman doctrine was introduced to the world at a joint session of the US Congress on March twelfth, 1947. The following is an excerpt from Harry Truman's speech at the present moment in world history. Nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is to often not a free one. One way of life is based upon the will of the majority and is distinguished by free institutions. Representative government, free elections guarantees that individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion and freedom from political oppression. The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed on pond, the majority. It relies on terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms. I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples were resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies and their own way. I believe that our health should be primarily through economic and financial aid, which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes. This is where the cold war began as the Soviets, and in particular Joseph. Stalin believed that they were being threatened, Turkey and Greece in their region near their borders and usaid have financially and militarily so close to them was not acceptable. Grease was in the midst of a civil war with the US supporting the MTI communist faction with stolen tightening his grip on eastern Europe. The United States with its allies decided to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO. In 1947, the British and French signed the Treaty of Dunkirk whereby they would protect each other in case of attack from Germany where the Soviet Union, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands quickly joined the following year, talks to expand the treaty led to the formation of NATO in 1949 with the addition of the United States, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark. In response, Stalin created his own alliance known as the Warsaw Pact, starting in 1946. The following countries joined in order of their acceptance. Here we have Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the German Democratic Republic. Let's be clear, though, this was not a voluntary decision to join forces with the Soviets. It was expected that they would do this, the sharp ideologic divide between the West and the Soviet block. Nations would keep feeling the tensions through the number of regime changes in the US and USSR. General Eisenhower's leadership during World War II help elevate him to the presidency in 1953 because of the American people's belief that he was level headed and could lead them through the troubling times. Eisenhower carried on the idea of the war of ideas that men like John Foster Dulles and George F keenan espoused. Keenan especially believe that this cold war would not be foot militarily, but through propaganda and words, the Soviet Union controlled the media and the east side. The West started things like Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. The war of words was on the communist wind and the Chinese civil war alarmed the West. So when Kim Il Sung North Korean people's army invaded South Korea in 1950. Stalin was surprised that the UN supported the defense in South Korea, but fighting would last for three years, one month and two days. Tensions began to mount with Secretary of state. John Foster. Dulles has planned to increase the US nuclear arsenal with plans for quote massive retaliation unquote. If the Soviets decided to attack another sovereign country, the USSR was now going through a rain change with the ascension of Nikita Khrushchev. After the death of Stalin, Khrushchev would taunt the west with his plants to unify the German city of Berlin through force if necessary. He believed that Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West Queen I squeeze on Berlin, his offer was flatly rejected. This would eventually lead to the Berlin crisis of 1961 culminating with the construction of the Berlin Wall beginning that same year, another earth shattering occurrence during the early years of the Cold War was the Cuban revolution. The United States now had a communist country only 90 miles off its shores, something that they just couldn't stand for. This led to the ill fated Bay of Pigs invasion in April 19, 61, which was beaten back. This was a humiliating defeat for the new US president John F Kennedy. It was under the Kennedy Khrushchev administrations that the world came close to a nuclear end with the Cuban missile crisis. Khrushchev's thought that putting nuclear missiles in Cuba was a smart move despite getting told otherwise by his advisors, October and November of 1962, what the US and Ussr to the brink of war, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed. It was one of my first memories of fear in my family as I was in kindergarten that year and remember seeing my parents and older brother transfixed by the TV during the new segments. Khrushchev for his part in the crisis would alluded, loses position of leadership and the Soviet Union. In 1964, we placed by Leonid Brezhnev, Nikolai pokorny and Andre Gromyko. This trio, which would later be bridged natives only later on, would continue the war of words, except they were painfully aware that the US had a vastly superior nuclear force than they did. They would extend the Cold War, but mainly through proxies. Asia, Africa, and Latin America was the battle ground. Now, money and weapons from the US and her allies would pour into countries on those continents. Letting them fight it out. The exception of course was in Vietnam. North Vietnam was backed by both the Chinese and Soviet communist regimes with us and her allies supporting the south. The Chinese gave additional aid as they did in Korea with hundreds of thousands of troops. The US did the same for the south, eventually causing the death of 58,000 Americans over two point 5 million Vietnamese lives and unknown Chinese deaths. Lyndon Johnson was now the US president after the Kennedy assassination. His hard line was led by some word secret policy known as the man doctrine, what it called for was turning a blind eye to dictatorships regardless of their human rights records as long as they were pro west, but if they were leaning towards communism, US would intervene. And example of that intervention was the election of Socialist Salvador. Lan Day in Chile in 1970, the CIA aided in military coup by General Augusto Pinochet in 1973 to get themselves rid of Lan day. This in suing massacres of leftists stained the country for decades by now, Richard Nixon was the US president and he, along with his secretary of state and re, kissinger began to try to improve relations with communist China and their leader Mount St Tang. The reason it was successful in part was the growling Sino Soviet split, which almost led to a war between the two communist nations. In 1969. In February 1972, Nixon went to China and began talks seeing this Brezhnev and the Soviets decided they needed to get into talks with the US as well. This opened the errand known as detente. Coming out of these discussions were treaties to reduce the nuclear arsenal of their two countries. One Treaty was salt, one the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and the Antiballistic Missile Treaty. Things were slowly ratcheting down. One of the primary motivators for these peace treaties with economic, both the US and the Soviet Union were pointing vasts amounts of money into their militaries at the expense of their people. We were not to learn until years later that the USSR was actually going broke because of it. Nixon was out and then you as president Jimmy Carter was in this period which would last until 1985 would be known as the second Cold War. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1978 to prop up their communist regime with the US supporting the move shahade dean. This is where some have been logged. Ladin got his training in weapons and man, we will hear more about an episode 96, the last episode in round one where he faces off against Attila the Hun, the US and some of its allies boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow and withdrawing the approval by the senate of assault to agreement things were deteriorating. They were to get worse with the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency that year. Reagan was a staunch anticommunist from his days in Hollywood. He, along with the new British prime minister and fellow conservative Margaret Thatcher, would build a strong stances known as the Reagan doctrine. They would support covert activities and resistant movements throughout the world. For anyone espousing an anticommunist position that and the presidents significantly increased military funding. The Soviet leadership was aging with few young people to take on advanced government roles. When Brezhnev died in 1982, he was replaced by European and dropoff who died in 1984, followed by Constantine Chernenko who passed away a year later. Reagan has been quoted as saying, how am I supposed to get any place with the Russians if they keep dying on me? Well, the next man to take the reins of the Soviet Union was no old man, Mikhail Gorbachev was named a new head of the Communist Party when he was 54, a spring chicken. Compared to the last three leaders, he would lead the USSR through his policies, have petter striker, which is restructuring and glasnost, which is openness. These policies and others would lead to the gradual collapse of the Soviet Union, which was in existence since 1922 ending 69 years later. In 1991, the end of the Cold War came with a whimper. The Eastern block nations dumped communism with many actually joining NATO. China, I'll still a communist country is open to the west, still in 2018 tensions between Russia and the US and begun to reach level seen not since the cold war itself. Will we see a resumption of the hostilities we saw back then? That's hard to say, but I certainly hope not because if it does get bad, we may not be able to prevent a turning from a war of words and ideologies to an actual nuclear war. Now onto the scoring. First off, we have 15 points allotted for the number of people involved in the event. Well, this is a slam dunk for the cold. War is billions of people were affected compared to about 100,000 with the fall of Constantinople. 15 points to one cold war takes it. Second is the effect on the rest of the world at the time had occurred for 20 points. Both had an enormous impact on the surrounding world with a slight edge going to the 20th century conflict. Twenty points to the Cold War with constant and opals fall. Getting 18 next step is a longterm effect. This one surprisingly has to swing in favor of Constantinople as it has had time to make its effects known. The fall caused the city to become Istanbul. It solidified the standing of the Ottoman Empire in the world stage and rattled the rest of Europe for centuries. Twenty five points for the Byzantine capitals fall with the Cold War, getting 18 as its ramifications said, non entirely shaken out. Finally, we have the big 40 point giveaway, which is based on the effect of the event on the country of countries involved. While the fall of Constantinople ended the 1000 plus your Roman Empire. It was already in a state of collapse. The fault of the Turks was only the end point that was inevitable. The Cold War was greatly responsible for the full of one of the two great powers in the world. The USSR, tens of millions of lives were lost to proxy wars. Suppression of rebellions, as well as financial hardships suffered by many on all sides. For this, I give 40 points of the Cold War and 25 to the fall of Constantinople. Cold War will then face the French revolution in the second round. Join me next time where we returned to the villains bracket or we decide who moves onto the second round and the battle between the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, or they're fiddling Roman emperor nero. I'd like to ask that you review the podcast. We're starting to get some more reviews. It's still need more and it's the best way to get the word out about battleground history. As I said, the listenership is growing, but it needs your support, good or bad. It all helps and don't forget that we'll be uploading today [email protected] So as always, remember, we are not the makers of history. We are history.