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Tags adolf hitler , Josef Stalin , Robert Conquest , Soviet Union history , Tim Snyder , World War II history

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Old 1st June 2018, 02:40 PM   #361
lobosrul5
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Originally Posted by Jerrymander View Post
The figures for Stalin's direct killings appear to be

Great Purge (1936–1938): 900,000–1.2 million
Katyn massacre (1940): 22,000
NKVD prisoner massacres (1941): 100,000–500,000

This would add up to almost 2 million.
Stalin massacred roughly 1% of the population of the USSR. Nazi Germany massacred some 17% of Poland's population.
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Old 1st June 2018, 02:47 PM   #362
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Stalin massacred roughly 1% of the population of the USSR. Nazi Germany massacred some 17% of Poland's population.
So what?

Osama bin Laden massacred 100% of the fathers of children whose fathers died in the 9/11 attacks. What's your point?

Last edited by theprestige; 1st June 2018 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 1st June 2018, 03:18 PM   #363
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
So what?

Osama bin Laden massacred 100% of the fathers of children whose fathers died in the 9/11 attacks. What's your point?
You're not being serious about that. Fathers of children whose fathers were killed necessarily by definition die in any event which causes death. You're being mischievous.

It is interesting that your mischief is deployed in mitigation of Hitler's killings in Poland, where his criminality reached a peak. You exculpate Hitler in order to make a point about a Muslim criminal, and your point is in any case a definitional game, as if there were not enough valid reasons to condemn bin Laden.

It has been pointed out in the past that Stalin's victims were primarily his own subjects, but Hitler's were mainly citizens of countries he invaded. That is the "point" of lobosrul5 citing deaths in Poland, I imagine.
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Old 1st June 2018, 03:31 PM   #364
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
So what?

Osama bin Laden massacred 100% of the fathers of children whose fathers died in the 9/11 attacks. What's your point?
What do you mean so? Would you rather be faced with a 1% chance of being murdered or a 17% chance? Both are bad, but one is numerically, far far worse.
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Old 1st June 2018, 03:34 PM   #365
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It has been pointed out in the past that Stalin's victims were primarily his own subjects, but Hitler's were mainly citizens of countries he invaded. That is the "point" of lobosrul5 citing deaths in Poland, I imagine.
While that is true*, my main point was, the Poles under Nazi Germany fared far worse than Soviet citizens during Stalins reign. They of course fared far better under their own government.

*His regime did also see many many POW's killed.
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Old 1st June 2018, 03:51 PM   #366
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
While that is true*, my main point was, the Poles under Nazi Germany fared far worse than Soviet citizens during Stalins reign. They of course fared far better under their own government.

*His regime did also see many many POW's killed.
These POWs were also "citizens of countries he invaded". And you are of course entirely right about Hitler's and Stalin's respective regimes in Poland. Hitler intended to destroy the Polish people. Stalin intended to exploit them. His Polish client regimes were oppressive and authoritarian, but not genocidal.
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Old 1st June 2018, 05:08 PM   #367
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
What do you mean so? Would you rather be faced with a 1% chance of being murdered or a 17% chance? Both are bad, but one is numerically, far far worse.
If that's the question wouldn't a percentage of world population be a better metric?
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Old 1st June 2018, 07:11 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
If that's the question wouldn't a percentage of world population be a better metric?
Hitler didn't rule the whole world. If Stalin murdered his own people and Hitler murdered people in countries he invaded, then the best metric is Stalin's 1% against the average % of the population killed in all the countries occupied by Hitler.

But that is misleading too, because both tyrants had special targets so treated different populations differently, which invalidates "average" figures. Stalin hated prosperous peasants; Hitler hated Jewish Russians more than he hated Flemings. So what's his "average"?

ETA Also, I gave a reason in #360 why I think 1% for Stalin is a significant underestimate
Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
... I'd be inclined to add the number of deaths due to ill treatment of people unjustly detained in prisons or labour camps as a direct result of Stalin's decrees. Their number must be very large.

Last edited by Craig B; 1st June 2018 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 2nd June 2018, 04:26 PM   #369
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
These POWs were also "citizens of countries he invaded". And you are of course entirely right about Hitler's and Stalin's respective regimes in Poland. Hitler intended to destroy the Polish people. Stalin intended to exploit them. His Polish client regimes were oppressive and authoritarian, but not genocidal.
Mostly citizens of countries that invaded his country. Finns excepted.
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Old 3rd June 2018, 12:37 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Mostly citizens of countries that invaded his country. Finns excepted.
Sorry i thought you were referring to POWs held by the Nazis.
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Old 5th June 2018, 05:21 AM   #371
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If number of people compared to the world population is the criterion, then I submit to you than both Hitler and Stalin were mere amateurs compared to Napoleon Bonaparte, who caused around 4 million unnecessary deaths at a time where the total world population was about 1 billion. (Current estimate for the year 1800.)

Including, yes, such acts of pointless spite as bayonetting the whole garrison of Jaffa, anywhere between about 2500 and 7000 prisoners, depending on who you ask, but with most estimates being around 4000. After he had promised them fair treatment as prisoners if they surrender. So of course after signing the surrender, he just had them marched off and bayonetted.

And for that matter only letting the civilians go because he thought they'd deliver news of his mighty army and glorious victory, and scare everyone else into submission. Strangely enough, the news of his bayonetting prisoners didn't make the garrisons of the other cities want to surrender, but actually made them fight harder. Who would have guessed, eh?

Well, other than, you know, anyone who's read Sun Tzu: "Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. [...] If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm." Napoleon had just made sure that his enemies know that there is no escape when he shows up.

Or his firing the last ammo of his guns at the civilian part of Acre before abandoning the siege.

Or for that matter refusing the offer from the British to help rescue the wounded from his last attack. Napoleon, who was already unilaterally proclaiming the siege he was abandoning a victory, preferred to let his own French wounded die a long slow death in no man's land than essentially admit that those are now at the mercy of whether the British allow him to collect them or not.

Etc.

Somehow he's still more admired than Hitler or Stalin. Go figure.
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Old 5th June 2018, 06:21 AM   #372
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@HansMustermann

I have no regard for Napoleon at all, but it's pretty easy to "figure" why he is let off relatively lightly in the historical record of mass murderers. The incidents you enumerate entail mainly the deaths of soldiers, including his own troops, rather than civilian populations. The only example of that you cite is an artillery bombardment of a civilian area, but that is a common military activity now, and I have had innumerable arguments in this forum opposing people who think civilians are a legitimate target, and praise "Bomber" Harris.

Hitler and Stalin are best known for being responsible for mass civilian deaths. The losses suffered by their armies due to their own incompetence or indifference are hardly to be counted against the untold millions of civilians who died under their dominion.
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Old 5th June 2018, 07:03 AM   #373
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Napoleon also very brutally put down the slave revolts in the French colonies in the caribbean. Supposedly he's also pretty much the first to use poison gas in warfare, long before WW1, by burning sulfur to create clouds of poisonous gas to use against the rebelling settlements.

At least one author even credits Napoleon with pretty much inventing the gas chamber to murder prisoner slaves with said sulfur dioxide. A pretty horrible death even by Nazi standards, since what it does is create sulfuric acid in the lungs (and eyes, mouth, etc) that then burns through them. But that's HIGHLY contested, so let's ignore that.

At any rate, no, what he did was NOT normal at the time. There is plenty of evidence from letters and such that his own soldiers and officers tended to be horrified and depressed by Napoleon's brutality. Some of his soldiers were even contemplating suicide after being forced to bayonet defenseless captives at Jaffa. Presumably because as we nowadays know, that's one of the most traumatic things you can make someone do.

Edit: And it wasn't normal by the standards of other nations either. The British at Acre for example then went and rescued the French wounded themselves, if Napoleon won't do it.
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Old 5th June 2018, 07:21 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Napoleon also very brutally put down the slave revolts in the French colonies in the caribbean. Supposedly he's also pretty much the first to use poison gas in warfare, long before WW1, by burning sulfur to create clouds of poisonous gas to use against the rebelling settlements.

At least one author even credits Napoleon with pretty much inventing the gas chamber to murder prisoner slaves with said sulfur dioxide. A pretty horrible death even by Nazi standards, since what it does is create sulfuric acid in the lungs (and eyes, mouth, etc) that then burns through them. But that's HIGHLY contested, so let's ignore that.

At any rate, no, what he did was NOT normal at the time. There is plenty of evidence from letters and such that his own soldiers and officers tended to be horrified and depressed by Napoleon's brutality. Some of his soldiers were even contemplating suicide after being forced to bayonet defenseless captives at Jaffa. Presumably because as we nowadays know, that's one of the most traumatic things you can make someone do.

Edit: And it wasn't normal by the standards of other nations either. The British at Acre for example then went and rescued the French wounded themselves, if Napoleon won't do it.
None of these crimes, especially not cruel repression of slave rebellions, places Napoleon in the higher ranks of murderers in history. If his soldiers were inclined to commit suicide rather than murder defenceless captives, that is much to their credit. I wish more modern soldiers had been consistent in following this admirable example.
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Old 5th June 2018, 07:29 AM   #375
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Well, anyway, I'll stop derailing the thread now
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Old 5th June 2018, 03:32 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If number of people compared to the world population is the criterion, then I submit to you than both Hitler and Stalin were mere amateurs compared to Napoleon Bonaparte, who caused around 4 million unnecessary deaths at a time where the total world population was about 1 billion. (Current estimate for the year 1800.)
4 million out of 1 billion is 0.4%.

Even if we weren't to distinguish between civilian deaths and battle deaths,and I think CraigB's point is quite valid, 50-80 million people died in world war 2. That figure includes both the Pacific and European theatres, but the majority of deaths occurred in Europe.

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World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total casualties. Over 60 million people were killed, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion).[1] Statistics of military wounded are available for the major combatants. The tables below give a detailed country-by-country count of human losses. World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million.[2] The higher figure of over 80 million includes deaths from war-related disease and famine. Civilians killed totalled 50 to 55 million, including 19 to 28 million from war-related disease and famine. Military deaths from all causes totalled 21 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million prisoners of war. Statistics on the number of military wounded are included whenever available.

Recent historical scholarship has shed new light on the topic of Second World War casualties. Research in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union has caused a revision of estimates of Soviet WW2 fatalities.[3] According to Russian government figures, USSR losses within postwar borders now stand at 26.6 million[4][5] including 8.5 million due to war related famine and disease.[6] In August 2009 the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) researchers estimated Poland's dead at between 5.6 and 5.8 million.[7] Historian Rüdiger Overmans of the Military History Research Office (Germany) published a study in 2000 that estimated the German military dead and missing at 5.3 million, including 900,000 men conscripted from outside of Germany's 1937 borders, in Austria, and in east-central Europe.[8][9][10] The People's Republic of China puts its war dead at 20 million,[11] while the Japanese government puts its casualties due to the war at 3.1 million.
Given the world population of 2.3 billion in 1940, if we put 40 million of these deaths on Hitler's conscience (which seems to be the same criterion you're using for Napoleon, though I may have misunderstood), that's 1.7% of world population. Even in relative terms then, that's more than 4 times the figure you gave for Napoleon.

I think the numbers are somewhat disputed, but the world record for worst person ever on this metric may go to Genghis Khan, with 11% of world population killed. I say disputed though because much of that is based on Chinese census data and may be in part due to people moving or otherwise not being counted after the Mongol conquests rather than actually being killed, though whatever the actual figure is, it is certainly very high.
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Old 5th June 2018, 03:58 PM   #377
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Well, I didn't say Napoleon was the record holder.

If you want a world record, well, I'm not sure exactly who started it off the top of my head, but you may want to also check out the Three Kingdoms war in China. After the war, the population of China has dropped by TWO THIRDS. Not just soldiers or killed by soldiers, mind you, but also by the famines (partially caused by having more soldiers than the population could possibly support), disease, cannibalism (I wish I was kidding), etc.

And the occasional war atrocity like burying a few hundred thousand people alive when conquering a province. Because, you know, what's a civil war without a few atrocities? Apparently Cao Cao wasn't even content to bury the people alive, he also buried their dogs and chickens alive. Talk about not knowing when to stop flogging a dead horse...

Anyway, it's estimated that about 40 million people died in that war -- and this time probably more of them civilians than even Hitler ever managed to do -- at a time when the estimated TOTAL Earth population was 190 million.

Over a FIFTH of the total world population died in that war.

Seriously, that makes even good ol' Genghis Khan look like an amateur. These guys not only matched his percentage, they literally DOUBLED it.

Not to mention that i never understood why they don't make a China: Total War game. I mean THAT was a total war, not the cute little castle sieges and knights ransoming themselves like we had in medieval Europe

Edit: so yeah, something to think about if you actually want to have nightmares
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Old 5th June 2018, 07:36 PM   #378
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I think the numbers are somewhat disputed, but the world record for worst person ever on this metric may go to Genghis Khan, with 11% of world population killed. I say disputed though because much of that is based on Chinese census data and may be in part due to people moving or otherwise not being counted after the Mongol conquests rather than actually being killed, though whatever the actual figure is, it is certainly very high.
More than "somewhat disputed". I mostly draw on Morgan's "The Mongols", 2nd ed., here.

- By the death of Chinggis Khan, only the northmost part of "China" was conquered (Xia and most of Liao). China proper, or Song Chao, took generations to conquer - even by the death of Möngke Khan in 1259 (that's 36 years after the death of Chinggis) the Chinese heartland was still unconquered. By the time Khubilai finally did conquer China proper, (late 1260's) it was a war waged by Chinese armies led by Chinese generals, hardly recognizable as a Mongol conquest.

- Similarly, the population decline (which is hard to blame on bad censuses simply for the sheer amount of time it took for the population to recover) was also something that occurred over generations of population displacement and agriculutural decline. It wasn't a matter of people being slaughtered (though that certainly happened) so much as displacement, starvation and/or poverty due to land deprivation resulting in decreased fertility, disease from displaced populations, etc, etc, etc. The Mongols, it should be remembered, had little to no understanding of how to use land, and took pride in that - they saw it only as a means for tax extraction (and let's not even go to Khubilai Khan discovering that the Chinese printed money...)

- What Chinggis is usually blamed for is instead actually casualties from the sieges of Bukhara and Samarqand in Transoxiana (Uzbekistan today), where according to various Persian historians, a half-dozen million or so people are supposed to have perished.

Except, of course, there just weren't that many people in those cities - even though these were at their height, not even the silk road could support 2+ million people living in cities standing on irrigated steppe, and those numbers turn out to have no value whatsoever, because the mongols used exaggerated stories of slaughter (e.g. every man in an army 100,000 strong finding 25 people to kill as I believe Juwayni or whoever recounts) as terror propaganda. Case in point, Hülegu Khan sent a letter to the King of France suggesting he had 2 million people killed in Baghdad, which is a compeltely absurd number that he obviously just made up. I don't know if there are any good population estimates for Baghdad at that time, but it had been in decline for hundreds of years at that point (a decline that subsequently was incorrectly blamed on the Mongols) and its irrigation systems were far from their prime in the 9th century, so I'd ballpark low hundreds of thousands.

Don't get me wrong, Mongol society was essentially parasitic in its nature, nurturing a horribly toxic culture of hypermasculinity defined in contrast to the effeminate settled people who the Mongols subsisted on raiding, and I am very strongly opposed to e.g. the revisionist mongolophilic histories of Jack Weatherford. The Mongol invasion and the actions of subsequent states were an absolute cataclysm that tore up the very fabric of both Muslim and Chinese society. Greater Iran was in serious decline with the fracturing of the Seljuq state, but the Song dynasty was truly thriving, to the point where it is often suggested as a potential candidate for an industrial revolution... if not for the mongols, that is. On the other hand, Chinggis Khan isn't quite the monster he's made out to be, especially when three generations of Mongol conquests are compressed and attributed entirely to him.

Now, Timur-e Lang, on the other hand - **** that guy.

HansMustermann: Such numbers for old Chinese wars, including the An Lushan rebellion, are completely meaningless for a number of reasons. I'd pay them no heed.
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Old 13th June 2018, 12:20 AM   #379
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BTW, can some kindly moderator, if one still reads this thread, split my derail into some "Bloodiest wars in history" thread or such, starting with my Napoleon derail? 'Cause I have a couple more ideas, and I think that they have nothing to do with THIS thread.

Thanks.
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Old 13th June 2018, 01:12 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
BTW, can some kindly moderator, if one still reads this thread, split my derail into some "Bloodiest wars in history" thread or such, starting with my Napoleon derail? 'Cause I have a couple more ideas, and I think that they have nothing to do with THIS thread.

Thanks.
I reported this post - as a rule that is the best way to communicate requests of this kind.
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Old 13th June 2018, 03:09 AM   #381
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Ah, ok. I'll just report my own post next time. Thanks.
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Old 17th June 2018, 04:31 AM   #382
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I meant to reply to this but forgot to, mostly because I didn't have anything particularly important to say.

Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
More than "somewhat disputed". I mostly draw on Morgan's "The Mongols", 2nd ed., here.
I mainly wanted to acknowledge that you are correct here. By saying "somewhat disputed" I originally was attempting to avoid making the claim that, as you point out, is false, but clearly my language was both too weak and too vague.

(I've added that book to my amazon cart, though it will be a month or two before I'm ready for another round of ordering)

Quote:
- By the death of Chinggis Khan, only the northmost part of "China" was conquered (Xia and most of Liao). China proper, or Song Chao, took generations to conquer - even by the death of Möngke Khan in 1259 (that's 36 years after the death of Chinggis) the Chinese heartland was still unconquered. By the time Khubilai finally did conquer China proper, (late 1260's) it was a war waged by Chinese armies led by Chinese generals, hardly recognizable as a Mongol conquest.
I don't think you can go quite that far. It was still a war led by a Mongol Emperor and at least in part spurred by Mongol ideology/worldview.

Quote:
- Similarly, the population decline (which is hard to blame on bad censuses simply for the sheer amount of time it took for the population to recover) was also something that occurred over generations of population displacement and agriculutural decline. It wasn't a matter of people being slaughtered (though that certainly happened) so much as displacement, starvation and/or poverty due to land deprivation resulting in decreased fertility, disease from displaced populations, etc, etc, etc. The Mongols, it should be remembered, had little to no understanding of how to use land, and took pride in that - they saw it only as a means for tax extraction (and let's not even go to Khubilai Khan discovering that the Chinese printed money...)
Sure, but that population decline was certainly related to the Mongol conquests, even the spread of disease is likely in part a consequence of those disruptions.

Quote:
- What Chinggis is usually blamed for is instead actually casualties from the sieges of Bukhara and Samarqand in Transoxiana (Uzbekistan today), where according to various Persian historians, a half-dozen million or so people are supposed to have perished.

Except, of course, there just weren't that many people in those cities - even though these were at their height, not even the silk road could support 2+ million people living in cities standing on irrigated steppe, and those numbers turn out to have no value whatsoever, because the mongols used exaggerated stories of slaughter (e.g. every man in an army 100,000 strong finding 25 people to kill as I believe Juwayni or whoever recounts) as terror propaganda. Case in point, Hülegu Khan sent a letter to the King of France suggesting he had 2 million people killed in Baghdad, which is a compeltely absurd number that he obviously just made up. I don't know if there are any good population estimates for Baghdad at that time, but it had been in decline for hundreds of years at that point (a decline that subsequently was incorrectly blamed on the Mongols) and its irrigation systems were far from their prime in the 9th century, so I'd ballpark low hundreds of thousands.
That all makes sense. I've heard different opinions about the Bagdad thing, but the high numbers do seem a little high, and obviously the Mongols did attempt to use terror to get the next guys to surrender more quickly.

Quote:
Don't get me wrong, Mongol society was essentially parasitic in its nature, nurturing a horribly toxic culture of hypermasculinity defined in contrast to the effeminate settled people who the Mongols subsisted on raiding, and I am very strongly opposed to e.g. the revisionist mongolophilic histories of Jack Weatherford. The Mongol invasion and the actions of subsequent states were an absolute cataclysm that tore up the very fabric of both Muslim and Chinese society. Greater Iran was in serious decline with the fracturing of the Seljuq state, but the Song dynasty was truly thriving, to the point where it is often suggested as a potential candidate for an industrial revolution... if not for the mongols, that is. On the other hand, Chinggis Khan isn't quite the monster he's made out to be, especially when three generations of Mongol conquests are compressed and attributed entirely to him.
Agreed with all of that. I find the highlighted particularly interesting actually, and something I've been wanting to look into more deeply for some time. Can you recommend any good books? It will be a while before I can dig into anything new, but I'd appreciate a good recommendation.
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Old 17th June 2018, 10:42 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Agreed with all of that. I find the highlighted particularly interesting actually, and something I've been wanting to look into more deeply for some time. Can you recommend any good books? It will be a while before I can dig into anything new, but I'd appreciate a good recommendation.
Not off hand, most of my reading on China has been peripheral. I think "The Great Divergence" touches on it, maybe "Why the West Rules... For Now" too, but they tend to focus more on the Qing since they're writing from a West-centric perspective. A book called "The European Miracle" supposedly deals extensively with the Song Dynasty in this respect as well, as does "The Pattern of the Chinese Past". I could check with some people for more China-centric works but if you read Chinese fluently I can almost guarantee you'll find more high-quality work than in English.
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Old 17th June 2018, 11:50 PM   #384
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Thanks.

I read and enjoyed Why the West Rules... For Now (and a few of his other books), which is actually what got me interested in that topic. I'll take a look at some of your other suggestions.

My Chinese is okay, good for day to day kind of stuff and chatting with people, but I'm better speaking than reading/writing, not really at the level for deep study yet. I'm actually planning to start working on my Chinese again soon.
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