War of Vietnam

9/27/2019 12:08:00 AM 0
War of Vietnam

War of Vietnam

Vietnam was part of French Indochina, a French colony in Southeast Asia established in 1887 for the French to reinforce Catholic missionaries. Indochina was controlled by France up until World War 2 when France was invaded by Nazi Germany and Japan invaded Indochina. 

The Japanese ruled through the former French protectorate Emperor Bao Dai as a puppet. 
Ho Chi Minh was the leader of the Viet Minh, a communist army that rose up against the Japanese occupiers. 
After the Japanese defeat in 1945, the Viet Minh declared Vietnamese independence with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and Hanoi as its capital, and extended their war against the French, becoming the First Indochina War. 

During this time, the Cold War was setting in and the USA were backing anti-communist regimes while the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China were backing Pro communist regimes; the Korean War was a fine example of this. Thusly, China and the Soviet Union backed the Viet Minh and the USA and Britain backed the French in the south. 

The State of Vietnam was established with Emperor Bao Dai as the leader in an anti-communist regime. 
American military advisors had been helping the French, though President Eisenhower was reluctant to put US troops on the ground. The Viet Minh ultimately were victorious and it was decided in the Geneva Accords that Vietnam be divided into the State of Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. 
Cambodia and Laos were also granted independence, ending French Indochina. 
Ngo Dinh Diem became the prime minister in the south as South Vietnam prepared for a referendum on reuniting North and South. Many northern Vietnamese Catholics fled south while many Viet Minh went north to plan ahead. The North Vietnam regime sought to take power away from the landlords and distribute the wealth among the peasants. Many people were executed and wrongly imprisoned. 
The referendum was held but many were skeptical about its fairness. Diem rigged the votes, winning a ridiculously massive majority in keeping the South separate. 
Diem declared the south independent and became the Republic of Vietnam with Saigon as its capital. 
Thus Vietnam would move into the Second Indochina War, or simply known in the West as the Vietnam War. 
The U.S. looked on in fear, believing that communism would spread like dominoes and if Vietnam fell, it would threaten India, Japan and other nations in that region. 
Diem set about quelling any communist actions in the South arresting and executing many people. 
He was a Roman Catholic which was often at odds with the predominantly Buddhist population. 
In 1960, communist forces and other anti-government groups in the south were organized into the National Liberation Front or the Viet Cong, as they were branded by the South. 
North Vietnam support came via the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a border-hopping trail connecting north and south via Laos and Cambodia. Support for the NLF was strongest in the countryside which was being crushed by extreme rent and landlord reforms by the South government. 
The government under US advisement and funding tried to relocate many rural peasants into strategic hamlets to keep them away from the influence of the NLF insurgents but the program was a failure and actually ended up strengthening the NLF. 
New US President John F Kennedy faced many embarrassments with the spread of communism such as the Bay of Pigs disaster, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and the growth of communist power in Laos. 
He believed Vietnam was where he could make a strong stand against the spread of communism. 
Kennedy was reluctant to put US troops on the ground believing that the South Vietnam Army had to defeat the NLF on their own, but they were disorganized, crippled by political corruption, and under constant attack from guerrilla forces. 
More and more US military advisors and equipment were sent to Vietnam to help, but despite this, the South Vietnam Army continued to suffer silly defeats at the hands of the NLF. 
By 1963, religious tensions ran high as the Pro-Catholic government discriminated more and more against Buddhists, banning their flag, killing protesters and raiding pagodas. Protests intensified. 
On November 1st, officers of the South Vietnam army rose up against the government and captured the leaders in a coup d'état. Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother and advisor in Ngo Dinh Nhu were brutally assassinated the following day. 
NLF took advantage of the political chaos of the south and strengthened its position with the people. 
To add even more instability, John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas less than a month after the coup. 
Lyndon B Johnson became the new US president and things changed. 
After some more coups, General Nguyen Khanh became head of the South Vietnamese military council. 
The CIA had been training South Vietnamese forces and sending Vietnamese commandos on raids in the north. On August 2nd, 1964, u.s. navy ship the USS Maddox was monitoring signals coming from North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. 
It fired three warning shots at some North Vietnam torpedo boats who opened fire with torpedoes and machine guns. 
The skirmish resulted in four Vietnamese casualties and no US casualties. 
Two days later, a similar incident was reported from the Maddox but it would later turn out to be false, but not before these incidents were used by President Johnson to order an air strike and get Congress to push through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which allowed him to escalate the United States involvement in Vietnam without an actual declaration of war. 
Johnson ensured u.s. people that he would not be sending American boys over to Vietnam... before he was reelected. 
Conscription in the United States known as The Draft had been on the go constantly since 1940 to fill gaps in the army where volunteers weren't joining. 
As tensions in Vietnam escalated, many young men tried to avoid the draft which could be a criminal offense. 
From 1965, the NLF and North Vietnam forces continued their victories against the south. 
In February, while new Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin was on a state visit to strengthen ties with North Vietnam, the MLF attacked a US helicopter facility in Pleiku. 
In retaliation, Johnson ordered bombing campaigns over North Vietnam. 
It was also decided that the South Vietnam Army weren't enough to guard the u.s. air bases so on the 8th of March, the first u.s. ground troops were sent to South Vietnam in the form of 3,500 Marines. Neighboring Laos fell into a civil war between the us-backed government and the Communist Pathet Lao. 
US operation Barrel Roll saw the aerial bombardment of the Pathet Lao, trying to deny Viet Nam's access to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but this didn't work. 
One particular bomb which was used by the US throughout the war was napalm, a sticky, flammable chemical that was very effective at destroying the jungle and causing mass devastation and terror. By the end of 1965, US ground forces had swollen to 200,000 troops still with the view of defending South Vietnam, but troop morale was low. 
This defensive position was soon to change however as General William Westmoreland believed that US troops could end this war if they went on the offensive. 
A three-point plan was made with a view to winning the war. Johnson approved and the war escalated. 
South Vietnamese Air Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky became prime minister in mid-1965, bringing a little political stability to the south. U .s. called its SETO allies to contribute troops to the conflict, which they did, as did South Korea. 
Despite the change of focus to go on the offensive, the harsh conditions, and lack of progress, President Johnson and the US government reassured the public that everything was going as planned. 
Amidst the war, the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races rose up to oppose both North and South and defend minorities in the central highlands of Vietnam. 
In December 1966, Ho Chi Minh said of the Americans
 "if they want to make war for 20 years, then we shall make war for 20 years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to tea afterwards." 
It was a hard and grueling war of attrition in which the US had the technological advantage, but the NLF and North Vietnam had the knowledge of the land and the support of many of the people. Underground tunnel networks were used by the NLF to secretly move around the countryside near Saigon, surprising US troops seemingly out of nowhere. 
Nguyen Van Thieu became president of south vietnam in 1967 and would remain until 1975. 
On January 30th 1968, the Vietnamese new year known as Te't, the NLF and the North Vietnamese launched a massive offensive across the south, taking everyone by surprise. 
The Te't Offensive saw 85,000 troops attacking over 100 cities including the US Embassy in Saigon. Despite being caught unawares, the u.s. and South Vietnamese counter-attack was powerful and effective. 
The city of Hue, the former capital which lay near the border of north and south, was fiercely fought over. 
While occupying the city, NLF and North Vietnam forces brutally executed over 3,000 people after a month of fighting. 
The city was retaken by the US and the south, but there was little after the city standing. 
It was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Media coverage of journalists on the ground in Vietnam differed from the official line coming from President Johnson, which damaged his credibility. The u.s. people's approval of Johnson and the war plummeted. The conduct of some US forces was also very controversial. 
The My Lai massacre in March 1968 saw between 347 and 504 unarmed men women and children massacred by US troops in Son My. 
The story didn't emerge to the public until November 1969. Peace talks between US and North Vietnam began in Paris in May 1968 which resulted in the stopping of bombing on North Vietnam. After a presidential campaign with many twists and turns, Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States. 
When Nixon came into office, the war was very unpopular and looking more and more unwinnable. 
Nixon began to withdraw troops from Vietnam in 1969 with a view of replacing them with South Vietnam forces. Ho Chi Minh died at the age of 79 in September 1969. 
Some ministers and military leaders formed a Politburo for collective leadership to see an end of the war. 
Unbeknownst to the public until the 2000s, Nixon actually sent a squadron of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers to the Soviet border in October in the hope that they'd believe he was mad enough to win the war in Vietnam at any cost. 
The u.s. bombed NLF and North Vietnamese camps in neighboring Cambodia. North Vietnam invaded Cambodia in support of the Cambodian communist movement Khmer Rouge, so US and South Vietnam in turn invaded Cambodia. 
This escalation angered many. Nationwide protests in America sprang up and four students were killed by national guardsmen in Ohio. 
The south vietnam army invaded Laos looking to cut off the Ho Chi Minh Trail but it was a complete disaster. 
More controversies about the war became publicly known, including the Pentagon Papers, revealing top-secret documents which were leaked to the New York Times. 
Nixon tried to block their publishing but the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the papers. 
Nixon did begin to open talks with the Soviet Union and China possibly to isolate North Vietnam from its communist allies. 
The Easter offensive saw a new invasion from the NLF of North Vietnam in 1972. This resulted in the u.s. recommencing the bombing of North Vietnam which stopped the North's offensive. Eventually after Hanoi and Haiphong were heavily bombed at the end of 1972, North and South came to the negotiating table with the u.s. Around this time, Lyndon Johnson died of heart disease in Texas. 
In January 1973, Nixon suspended any attacks on North Vietnam, ended the draft, and the Paris Accords were signed, ending the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. 
All US ground troops were withdrawn by March. 
US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam foreign minister Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but Tho refused, as true peace didn't exist yet in Vietnam, and right he was. 
The South's economy felt the vacuum left by the US Army and spiking oil prices due to the trouble in the Middle East hit the South hard. 
In January 1974, the North used the dry season to retake much lost land from the south while the United States was embroiled in the Watergate scandal and Nixon's ultimate resignation. 
Seeing the limited response from the south, the north pressed their advantage in 1975. 
Poor and Confused leadership from the southern president led to massive gains by the north, capturing Da Nang and many other cities. 
A stream of retreating southern forces and refugees headed for the coast. With the momentum built, the North moved to capture Saigon before the monsoon season. 
A desperate evacuation began of many US Marines and foreign diplomats by helicopter as Vietnam civilians, trying desperately to escape, were abandoned. 

On the 30th of April 1975, North Vietnam forces entered Saigon, raising the NLF flag and the Vietnam War came to an end. 
In 1976 North and South would be unified into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. EDIT: Hanoi* became capitol of the whole country. 
All of former Indochina was now communist. 
The massive upheaval in Cambodia led to the terrible reign of the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot who would commit genocide of millions of Cambodians. 
Vietnam would go to war with Khmer Rouge leading to more war with China and Thailand. 
Vietnam's economy struggled throughout the 70s and 80s with many southern rice farmers refusing to cooperate with the state-run system, leading to aspects of capitalism creeping in. 
The wars and poor living led to many refugees. 
The US had dropped 7 million tons of bombs across Indochina throughout the war. 
Much of the unexploded bombs render much of the potential farmland in the region unusable to this day. 
This war deeply scarred the region. It also deeply scarred the psyche of the United States, the great world superpower which couldn't win a war against a small nation of Communists. 
It led to a weariness towards u.s. foreign intervention in the future and whether it was worth the american lives or the lives of those in whichever country for that matter. 58,220 American soldiers were killed during the war. Between 1 and 3 million Vietnamese were killed. 
The Cold War would chill on for another decade and communism did not spread to India or Japan. 
The government of Vietnam today still claims to be socialist but contains much of the capitalist corruption of neoliberalism. 
It has solid relations with the rest of the world yet remains scarred by what they refer to as the American War. 

Incredible CRAZIEST inventions of the Roman Army!!

9/27/2019 12:08:00 AM 0
Incredible CRAZIEST inventions of the Roman Army!!

Incredible CRAZIEST inventions of the Roman Army!!

In its day, Rome managed to conquer half of their known world, but it wouldn't have been possible without the skills of the mighty Roman army. Throughout the centuries, the Roman army came up with various weapons that helped it gain supremacy on the battlefield, and here are the top 10 military inventions of the Roman army. Find out which of these incredible tactics are still used today! 

Number 10: Carrobalista.

 The basic ballista mechanism was most likely created by the Ancient Greeks, but surely the Romans were the ones who upgraded the system of siege engines and perfected it on the battlefield. 
First, there was the manuballista, which was often deemed one of the most advanced siege engines in the Roman military. 
But the real game-changer was the carroballista - a ballista (or a missile weapon) mounted on a cart. 
The carroballista was a forerunner of the canon, and it was very effective. 
Each Roman legion had 55 of these in their ranks. 
A carroballista was pulled by mules and required ten soldiers to operate it, and by the end of the 1st century AD, the Roman army introduced various technical innovations that enabled the manuballista to be mounted on a cart. 
As such, it had greater maneuverability and was easy to move around during battle, allowing soldiers to assume the best position possible. 
During the battle, the most important aspects are speed and efficiency, and carroballista provided both. 

Number 9: Pilum. 

The pilum is the Roman long spear, and it proved very effective in battle, helping the Roman legionaries charge. 
The brilliance of the pilum was that once thrown at the enemy, it only favored the Romans, because there was no chance that the enemy could throw it back. 
How? Well, because of its design, and the pyramid-like point, the spear was very aerodynamic. 
Because of this, the pilum had amazing penetrating power, allowing it to hit its target with extreme forcer and get stuck deep in the enemy shield, sometimes even injuring the soldier that was carrying the shield. 
Once the pilum was stuck in the enemy shield, it was practically impossible to get it out. 
Because of this fact, the enemy was simply forced to let go of the shield and continue fighting without it. 
There was also a narrow variety of the pilum, which twisted when hitting the shield - this made it useless even if it was thrown back. Nevertheless, this was highly unlikely simply because of the initial shock of losing the defenders shield, combined with the stress the advancing Roman infantry. 

Number 8: Plumbata. 

This weapon is often forgotten or overlooked, because it was used so much later in the Roman Era, from the 4th century AD onwards. Basically, it is a throwing dart, with a lead weight attached to it, and it was used by the Roman infantry. 
This weapon was first used in Ancient Greece, but the Romans made full use of it. 
The idea for the plumbata probably came from the javelin, which was a semi-long spear. 
The plumbata was supposed to be an even shorter version of the javelin, and the lead weight was there to give it extra power upon impact and improve its efficiency. 
There were legions whose soldiers carried this weapon in battle and used it to a large extent. 
These legions were later honored by the emperors Maximilian and Diocletian. 
There were five plumbatae for every infantry soldier, and the weapons proved to be of great help. 
The reason was simple... with the plumbata, every infantry soldier was effectively an archer at the same time. 
This meant that he could strike the enemy before facing them directly in open battle. 

Number 7: Testudo. 

This is one of the most important aspects of the Roman military. Testudo (Latin name for "tortoise") is a military formation that was used extensively during a battle, especially during sieges. 
The idea was simple, yet highly effective. 
The soldiers would group in a square formation, and divide into a couple of sub-groups. 
Some of them would raise their shields above their heads, and the rest would keep shields in front of them. 
This way, the soldiers of the formation would be covered by shields and protected from the enemy attacks. 
Basically, the testudo was a defensive tactic, so that the soldiers could sustain all kinds of blows from missiles and projectiles from the enemy while advancing. 
If a rock or something else was thrown on the formation, it wouldn't do any harm. 
Because of the shields, the projectile would simply roll off onto the ground, and the formation just kept making progress. 
Compared to present-day military technology, the testudo was something like an armored tank. 
Although it wasn't bulletproof, the formation was practically impenetrable from enemy weapons. 

Number 6: Onager. 

Onager was another siege weapon used extensively by the Roman military. 
However, it wasn't used the same way as the carroballista. 
The ballistae were generally used for smaller projectile missiles, such as bolts. 
Onager, however, was used for heavier projectiles when it was necessary to take down large fortifications and massive walls. 
The name "onager" can loosely be translated as "wild ass", because of the animal's ability to kick. 
When a wild donkey is in danger, it uses its rear legs to kick stones toward its pursuers. In the same manner, the onager used a torsional force to "kick" the projectile toward the enemy. 
The onager was very powerful, and it had a strong impact, because of its construction. 
Before firing, the part of the onager called the "arm" was pulled back, against twisted ropes and springs. 
Then, it was released, and the same process could be repeated in a short amount of time. 
The projectiles used for firing were rocks, but also clay balls with combustible materials inside, which would explode once the projectile hit its target. 
Onagers proved extremely valuable in battle because they often shot farther than Roman archers due to their great torsional force.

Number 5: Castrum

The castrum was the Latin name for a building or a piece of land where the military camp was set up.
In Roman times, there were different types of camps, which differed in size and purpose. 
The biggest castrum was the legionary fortress, but there were also smaller, auxiliary fortifications and marching forts, and also fortlets called castellum, which means a small camp or small tower. 
There were various types of the castra (which is the plural form), but the four main ones were: castra stativa (permanent, or stationary camp), castra aestiva (summer camp), castra hiberna (winter camp) and castra nautical (navy camp). 
The castrum proved to be of extreme importance for the Roman army because it enabled the soldiers to rest, regroup and train when there was no fighting. 
Inside the castrum, soldiers protected and their equipment was safe and out of enemy reach. Each castrum was built according to a strict plan, in a rectangular shape with streets and military buildings. 
The entire castrum was protected by towers and guarded walls. 
The castrum helped the Roman army keep its organizational structure and control the empire without compromising the welfare of the soldiers and their operational abilities. 

Number 4: Pontoon bridge

Although the Romans didn't invent the pontoon bridge, they made excellent use of it in their military campaigns. 
It was used extensively and helped the Roman army win many battles of strategic importance. 
Julius Caesar was known as a commander who loved using the pontoon bridge to shock the enemy and advance with efficiency. The pontoons bridge was used for crossing big rivers, such as the Rhine river, where it was necessary to make a 1,300-foot-long bridge across it. 
The barbaric tribes on the opposite bank didn't expect the Romans the cross the big river and catch them off guard, but that's what guaranteed the Romans their victory. 
But the construction of a pontoon bridge wasn't at all simply. Roman military engineers had to calculate the speed and strength of the river, and to order for the exact type of timber to be cut, and prevent any floating logs from upstream to jeopardize the construction process. 
The incredible efficiency of the Romans was evident in the fact that it took them less than two weeks to build a pontoon bridge. 

Number 3: Corvus

Before they managed to dominate the Mediterranean, the Romans had a fierce adversary at sea ... Carthage. Carthage was a very powerful state because it had a long-standing tradition of sea trade and oversea colonies. 
So, during the First Punic War (264 - 241 BC), Rome had to come up with a powerful battle tactic in order to defend Carthage at sea and have the upper hand in combat. 
And Roman military engineers actually came up with the naval weapon called the corvus (Latin for crow or raven). 
The corvus made history because it helped the Roman army win what is probably one of the biggest naval battles ever - the Battle of Cape Ecnomus. 
This battle is also probably the most important battle Rome fought in its early days because it changed the balance of power in the Mediterranean. 
The corvus was a long boarding bridge with a heavy spike that could be rammed into the enemy ship and cling to it. 
This locked two ships together, which enabled the Roman soldiers to get across and fight their enemies face to face. 
And since the Romans were far better in close combat than the Carthaginians, victory was assured. 
In later centuries, Rome didn't use the corvus, probably because it also destroyed their own ships. 
But in the early years, this weapon helped Rome immensely. 

Number 2: Battlefield surgery

In order to be highly successful on the battlefield, the Roman army had to take excellent care of its soldiers. 
An important part of the Roman military structure was the immunes. 
This was a special group of legionary soldiers who were specially trained to provide all kinds of services, and they were exempt from various tasks an ordinary soldier had to perform. 
Immunes included architects, engineers, but also doctors and members of the medical staff. 
Because it had doctors who were also part of the army, the Romans were able to keep the army up and running even in the midst of the biggest bloodshed. 
Roman surgeons and their staff used medical innovations, such as hemostatic tourniquets and arterial clamps, which enabled them to prevent massive blood loss and save hundreds of thousands of lives. 
Another very important aspect of Roman battlefield surgery was the application of antiseptic measures before an operation. 
All instruments were disinfected with hot water and thus made usable for the next patient in line. 
For its time, this was quite revolutionary, and it proved to be highly effective. 

Number 2: Roads and highways

At the height of its power, the Roman Empire encompassed an enormous territory, stretching from the island of Great Britain to present-day Turkey, including the whole of the Mediterranean and North Africa. 
It would have been absolutely impossible to control such vast territory without a stable network of roads and highways. 
Roads and highways were built to boost trade and commerce among various parts of the territory and enable easier travel, but that wasn't the main reason. 
Roads and highways were primarily built to speed up the movement of the military. 
If there was an uprising in on the far end of the Empire, the army could reach that point much faster via roads built of bricks, granite, and hardened lava. 
Roman engineers applied strict construction standards for every road that was built, which meant that practically the whole network of roads and highways had the same quality of the build. 
The roads were regularly maintained, and they were curved for better water drainage, which kept them dry and mud-free. 
By the year 200 AD, the Roman Empire had 50,000 miles of roads and highways, including numerous post houses, for the army to rest and replenish their supply. 
The Roman military was thus capable of crossing around 20 miles per day. 
It is estimated that there were around 30 military highways and at least 370 roads, connecting the empire and allowing the military to keep everything under control. 
Many Roman roads have survived the centuries and can be seen even to this day. 


Why Did Korea Split in to North and South?

9/22/2019 02:36:00 PM 0
Why Did Korea Split in to North and South?
Why Did Korea Split in to North and South?

Relations between North and South Korea have been rather tense for some time. Which might be -- an understatement. 
On this year we saw North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walked over the border to shake hands with South Korea's president, Moon Jae-In. 
Until then, most South Koreans and most of the world, for that matter, saw that North's head honcho is some kind of evil dictator. 

After the meeting, some South Koreans referred to him as a cute teddy bear. 
So, is everything okay now? Following handshakes and slaps on the shoulder? 
Well, even though a third summit has been proposed between the two leaders, right now the North isn't exactly in the USA's good books.
South Korea's big brothers certainly watches over this relationship like a brooding mother. 

Let's have a look at how this division started. In this episode of The Infographics Show, why did North and South Korea split? You probably already know that North and South Koreans are very similar in many ways, even culturally. 

The language is pretty much exactly the same, except for a few small differences. 
You could say that North Korea likes to keep the language free from impurities, such as borrowing words from English. 
But besides regional dialects being slightly different, we can say you speak Korean, not North or South Korean. 
North and South Korea originally came together in the 7th century under Silla Dynasty, and they remained united up until 1945. 
So, what happened? How could a country united for so long suddenly just split in two? The answer is WAR. 
The SECOND WORLD WAR. But it's a bit more complicated than that. Prior to the second world war, there was something called the First Sino-Japanese war, which was a war between China and Japan between 1884 and 1895. 
Based on a western industrial model, Japan had become a very powerful country in the 19th century. No longer a backwater, as the members of the British empire used to call it. Japan emerged as an empire itself. 
Korea, on the other hand, had been rather fearful of foreigners and western industrialization, especially the elite that ruled over the country. 
They didn't want outsiders messing in their business. But then, in 1880, things started to change. 
Korean diplomats went on a mission to Japan that year. 
While in Japan, they were presented with a study from a Chinese diplomat, which was called "A Strategy for Korea". 
In part, that study warned that the Russians were coming. 
It also said "Stay friendly us, the Chinese, and don't get on the wrong side of Japan." Japan wasn't at an immediate threat at that time, but the Chinese diplomat advised the Koreans to stay close with the burgeoning nation, at the same time, Korean was also advised to form good relations with the United States, who also could provide protection from the Russian juggernaut. 
In 1882, Korea signed a treaty with the US, called the "The Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation". So far, so good. Open trade, modern industries, and the bonus of added protections. 
But, there was a catch. The Chinese wanted the treaty to say that the Korea belonged to China. 
The Americans were not keen on that, and insisted that Korea was independent. In the end, they agreed that Korea had a kind of independent status, but was still a tributary state of China. 
To cut the long story short, China had a massive influence on Korea, and tried to reform the country. 
That was in line with embracing some western ideas, and using western technology. 
So, Korea became more modernized to some extend. China just kept pushing and soon was involved in running Korea as well as dispatching its own troops there. We can't spend too much time on this, but the war between the Japanese and China was fought hardly in Korea. 
Japan came out on top and in 1910 the country annexed the Korean Peninsula. From then until the end of the second world war, Korea was part of the Japanese empire. 
This wasn't exactly great news for many Koreans as some historians said the Japanese treated them like second class citizens. But then, the war ended, and Japan was on the losing side. 
What to do with Korea? That was in the hands of the winners. 
The allied powers. "No more empire for you", said the allies to Japan. 
It was up to the USA to take over the administration side of Korea, but it wasn't keen on the idea of running the country. 
The Soviet Union was keen, and wanted the land it thought it deserved. Russia had lost a war with Japan in the early 20th century, called the Russo-Japanese War. 
That's why the Soviets, to some extend, at least, thought they deserved control of Korea. Under developed Korea, for so long had been standing between these giants of Japan, China and Russia, and basically everyone, at some point, wanted a piece of it. 
Or should we say -- all of it. It was actually quite surprising that the Japanese had defeated the Russian empire. 
And so perhaps Russia had been left with some eggs on his face. 
After winning wars both against China and Russia, the Wests knew that Japan certainly was a mightier power. 
But that ended with its defeat at the hands of the US in the second world war. Two Americans called Dean Rusk and Charles Bonesteel had the responsibility of making orders in the US occupied territories in East Asia. They came up with the idea of splitting Korea into two, almost in half, divided by what's called "The 38th Parallel". 
This was done without Korea having a word in it. 
The Americans said that half the country would be run by the Soviets, and half by them. Not surprisingly, America got the better half of the cake, which included the more modern city of Seoul. 
That's not to say that North wasn't out bad, it too had many major heavy industries; the South had the light industries. Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin and President Roosevelt agreed to the split, while the Koreans were not even invited to the meeting. Of course, many Koreans were passionately against this, but not those that had ties to the Soviet Communist Party. 
Actually, at the end of the war, many Koreans from the North and South were over the moon. FINALLY They would get their independence back. Brothers in arms, they embraced in plan for the future together, but of course, that didn't happened. Brothers in arms were about to become quarreling siblings. 
Soviet forces quickly took a control from the Japanese forces in the North; and in the South the same happened with the Americans. Easy. Well, not really. 
The US, as we know, was afraid of the spread of communism as one might fear an outbreak of Ebola. 
The country didn't even want any of the South Korean political parties to have much say and how of the now half country was wrong. 
Just in case they lean ever so slightly to the left, as things turned out the US wanted both North and South to have a democratic government and democratic principles, while the Soviets wanted the entire peninsula to be communist. Now, we have a divide of the former two allies, although America had been wary of communism for a long time. 
The US and Soviet leaders were even supposed to meet in 1948 to discuss the idea of reunifying Korea, and leaving the country to its own devices. 
But, both countries were so afraid of the other that this didn't happen. 
In 1948, the Americans pretty much installed their own idea of a good leader for the South. A staunch anti communist called Syngman Rhee; the Soviets installed Kim Il-Sung as leader. 
He'd been a fighter in the Red Army, and of course, was a puppet for the Soviet Empire as much as Rhee was the puppet for the empire that dare not speak its name -- i.e. America. Like Stalin, the North had to be ruled by a God-like character, and the cult of personality was sewn into the minds of those Koreans living in the North. You must remember at this point, the Koreans were still just Koreans, they'd been split in half without any saying in it. 
Of course, North Koreans were not born with such things as supreme leaders, and all that attended propaganda. 
But, if you feel like Plato, you've heard of the "Noble Lie". Plato said that "If the elite must rule, they must tell a huge offer, create a mythology for the not so clever public consumption". Plato said that he was noble because the normal folks need this lie to bring them together under one great myth, just as religion brought people together under one truth. 
Plato said if the first generation don't buy it, the second will, mostly.
And you'll have the 3th completely, if you fill their heads with his idea from being children. That's how many North Koreans became so enamoured with their godly leader. Well, that and fear. 
But then in 1950, Kim Il-sung got ambitious, and decided he wanted to rule the whole peninsula. 
That was the start of a three-year long war called "The Korean War". 
The Americans joined the South with other countries of the United Nations, and they defeated the North. 3 million people died, and in the end nothing at all really changed, Korea was still divided at the 38th Parallel. After that, the demilitarized zone was set up to prevent more blood from being spilled, and to prevent people from reuniting or escaping. People did get through though, most of the Northerners trying to get into the South. 
Both countries though, soon became enemies, or at least enemies in ideas. 
The North was strictly communist with its Korean workers party, and the South espoused capitalism, individual freedom, and American values. 
The Americans have kept bases in Korea's sense, as you watch this, there are about 28,000 US troops base in South Korea. 


The old Egypt : Summarized history

9/20/2019 04:41:00 PM 0
The old Egypt : Summarized history

In ancient Egypt, myths and history go together like sugar and arsenic powder, or was it arsenic powder and sugar? Oh oh Crap! What I mean is they can be hard to distinguish and if you do get them confused you're probably going to have a bad time. 

Egyptian history can get really complicated and uncertain since it's become so heavily mythologized due to [A] thousands of years of less than stellar records; [B] the tendency for the desert to kind of swallow important pieces of archaeological evidence, as it does; and [C] a tendency for ancient Pharaohs to both erase the legacies of their predecessors and deliberately mythologize themselves. 

As a result, we have a very strong sense of the aesthetic of ancient Egypt without having much to go on - on the actual historical front. Well, there's a lot more to ancient Egypt than just these myths, so let's dig in and try to separate the facts from the fables. 

Now interestingly, one of the myths about Egypt we should dispel first is that it's "too mysterious". One of the most common instances of this particular myth is the idea that we have no idea what ancient Egyptians really looked like and there is some truth to this. 

You see Egyptian art had very little realism in it. First off, they use this thing called "hieratic scaling" which meant the more important something was, the bigger it was represented. 

They also put a lot of work into making every character represented complete, in a way. 
See, there was this idea that the paintings or representations of you, determine how you'd look and function in the afterlife. 
As a result, you got that weird pseudo profile art style that showed the face and profile but the eye from the front, always made a point to show all ten fingers on anyone, show the torso from the front, but the legs from the side, you know, all that good stuff. 

It was meant to show the body in full so the person wouldn't be missing anything important when they died. 

Then why were their faces in profile? Because profiles are pretty, damn it! Anyway, the third thing in Egyptian art was that the colors used weren't representative or realistic in any way because in Egypt, the colors had meanings; black meant good things like order, life, and fertility since black was the color of the Nile silt that made the banks of the river so fertile; green meant fertility too but specifically it was representative of plant growth and agriculture. In fact, this is why Osiris is green, of all colors to paint him. 

Not just because he's dead but because he's a god of agriculture, growth, and change. Beyond that, blue meant the sky; Gold meant the sun; and red meant the desert, which was also representative of Chaos. 

The inherent meaning in these colors is why we have such a technicolor array of people represented in Egyptian artwork but before the inevitable cries of "well see we don't really know what the Egyptians looked like so it's totally cool that we make them all White in any given Hollywood production because you don't know that they weren't", I'd like to inform you that we actually *do* know that a significant portion of the Egyptian population was Nubian which meant that they look like this. 

Christian Bale does not look like this. Nubian society had contact with Egypt as early as 6000 BC That's more than three thousand years before the upper and lower kingdoms unified into what we considered the old kingdom. 

3,000 years mind you, is one metric western history and by 1800 BC in the Middle Kingdom, Nubia had officially been conquered by Egypt and to a large degree, culturally subsumed. It wasn't until 300 BC that Egypt got Greek-ed and White-ified, so while we don't know what the 'original' Ancient Egyptian population looked like before there was an Ancient Egypt, we can make a number of educated guesses as to what the population probably looked like after 3,000 years of regular contact and cultural fusion with these fine folks Suck it, Hollywood! So now the broad context is out of the way let's dispel some more specific myths right off the bat first up Egyptians were not as obsessed with death as they're commonly portrayed, in fact there's plenty of evidence to the contrary We think that they were always on about death because the most lavish and detailed archeological finds we have are all the things that got buried underground in huge easily preserved stone structures we have no idea how much other stuff that had nothing to do with death either got yanked by an enterprising thief, worn away by the literal sands of time or otherwise destroyed. 

On that note: pyramids. I touched on this briefly earlier. See, before Egypt, there was kind of two "Egypt"s: Upper and Lower Kingdoms. 

This stopped being a thing around 3100 BC when King Narmer conquered the Lower Kingdom, fused the two crowns together into one super crown and made Egypt a thing in one fell swoop. 

After that Egypt's timeline is roughly split between three periods: the Old, Middle, and New Kingdom each of which ended with a brief intermediary period of internal schisming and chaos which we'll get into all of that later. 

The pyramids were overwhelmingly made in the earliest period: some four and a half thousand years ago. 

The Middle Kingdom rolled in around 2000 BC and it wasn't until the New Kingdom happened in 1500 that some of Egypt's most famous figures like King Tut and Rameses showed up. 

This means that Egypt's most iconic rulers lived a full thousand years away from Egypt's most famous structures and Cleopatra, arguably the most famous Egyptian, lived another full millennium after even that. 

Damn. But while we're on the subject of the pyramids it's important to know that they probably weren't built by slaves as far as we could tell. This claim comes to us by way of Herodotus But for all he did, he isn't the most trustworthy source by any stretch. 

The dude is self-admitted to telling the absolute craziest stories he comes across. 
This claim is probably false because, among other things we found a chamber full of the buried builders inside the pyramid and, contrary to the popular belief, servants and slaves weren't typically allowed the honor of being buried with their Pharaoh. Instead, he was interned with statues of servants called shabtis which would serve him in the afterlife without all the mess of you know burying people alive too. 
Effectively, we're saying that slaves would not have been buried in the pyramid, leading credence to the idea that they likely weren't slaves.
Also, chemical analysis reveal that these builders ate beef which was a delicacy in Egypt which leads us to believe that they were well respected and highly skilled builders rather than simple slaves. And don't get me wrong the peasant class was absolutely conscripted into building monuments pretty regularly, but the pyramids were something else. 

And while we're on the slavery point let's confront the elephant in the room to say that there's pretty much no evidence that the ancient Israelites were enslaved in Egypt and decent evidence that they weren't. if two million Jewish slaves, a sizeable chunk of the population mind you, just walked away, the Egyptian economy would have been devastated for centuries, but the second millennium had a thriving economy which we wouldn't expect to see in the aftermath of Exodus. 

There's also no biological evidence of a sizable Jewish population in Egypt, nor any archaeological evidence of an actual migration out of Egypt. 
Also, the Egyptian court at this point was pretty decent at keeping records, so you'd expect that we'd see something, anything, from anyone about this sudden and shocking development. But, there's no record of it anywhere and as a result, the general consensus is that Exodus, while a great story that serves many clever literary and theological purposes wonderfully, Probably isn't directly grounded in historical fact But then again, what is these days? Egypt was also a very structured society. 
See, the Nile flooded regularly. So regularly that it was what defined their seasons and by extension defined their agricultural life. 
The first season, Akhet, was the flood season which made the ground fertile, next came Peret where they planted, and Shemu where they harvested. 
That degree of regularity was found nowhere else in Africa, and the rigidity of the structure seems to have propagated into their society as well. 
There was something of a caste system and while it wasn't totally rigid, if you were born a peasant, your only hope of elevating yourself to the level of craftsmen or bureaucrat was either learn an art, or learn to write. 

Neither one was easy and even then there was no hope of becoming a priest if you weren't born one, let alone Pharaoh. 
Weirdly enough, despite the caste system, there was a surprising amount of equal opportunity between men and women. In fact, a famed Athenian physician named Agnodice traveled to Egypt specifically to learn medicine, where it was totally allowed. 

But when she returned to Athens she had to dress like a man in order to practice because Athens had made being a female doctor punishable by death. 

Why? Well, let's just say they had a pro-life stance as long as that life didn't belong to a woman who disagreed with them on that subject. 
Because Athens was misogynist as hell. But getting back to Egypt. In anthropology, there is the fun kind of myths, which is more Red's department, And then there are those myths that obstruct fact: the ones that you have to wade through and hope to God that in a couple decades or centuries people just stop believing in. 

Egypt is terribly prone to be mythologized on account of not having very much of what we'd call "history" in its earlier half. 

Egypt, ever eager to imitate the calm predictability of its Nile River, lived a remarkably calm, quiet life of isolation in its first 2,000 years, barring the one time they conquered Nubia. It wasn't until the new kingdom between the 16th and 11th centuries B.C.E that they actually do anything in the way of expansion or outside interaction. 

We do know a bit about what some pharaohs were like, but that's mostly the later ones, you see because Pharaohs in the early and some of the middle periods generally really enjoyed purging things related to their predecessors upon their becoming Pharaoh. Couple that with the fact that any lasting evidence about these Pharaohs all got thrown underground and most of it got subsequently stolen, and we're really not left with a lot to go on. 

There are a solid 2,000 years where we can really do little more than point to the pyramids and Egyptian mythology And people are naturally going to want to fill in those blanks, and I mean who wouldn't? Much like our understanding of why on Earth The Mummy is getting a reboot, there's a lot that's unknown What we do know, we know from geography, specifically: water. Egypt exists because of the Nile. 

Without the Nile, there was no Egypt. 
The Nile was a calm river that flooded regularly and was wonderfully easy to manage. It allowed for what's called basin irrigation, which was cheap and not labor-intensive for individual farmers who worked the land. 
That said, organizing the large-scale construction of an agricultural system along the Nile doesn't happen overnight, and it's the reason Egypt ever had kings. 

The so-called Despotic state theory says that any society dependent on a widespread system of agriculture requires coordination to make it possible, and coordination can only come from the central power, namely, the Pharaoh. Since there was one body of water and everyone basically lived no more than a mile away from it at most, Egypt was supremely easy for one government to monitor and regulate In fact Egypt had a structural advantage to centralization that most other African kingdoms lacked, which is that the borders were geographically defined. 

Other African kingdoms located south of the Sahara Grew Outward through livable terrain and basically stopped when it became impractical to communicate with the outer border. 
The presence of the king had to be felt in order for a kingdom to remain a kingdom, so once the king was a distant voice with some 30-day lag in news or orders, he stopped feeling like a king and the people who lived out there stopped treating him like one. 
Egypt just didn't have that problem because the livable area was small and manageable already. 
You knew the government was present because their ships patrolled up and down the Nile all damn day. As a result, Egypt was a single centralized society. 

This is completely distinct from Egypt's contemporary Mesopotamia which was structured as a collective of City-States dotted around the fertile crescent. 

Mesopotamia, literally "between two rivers" in the Greek, was an area sandwiched between two, main Rivers (which I... just said) with a series of small channels running between them. This setup made it impossible for one society to effectively control the others and as a result, a series of small independent City-States sprang up. These polis-style civilizations, like Mesopotamia, later ancient Greece, and medieval Northern Italy to name a few, all follow this pattern of a network of Independent City-States springing up around interconnected waterways, specializing in certain crafts, and trading with each other like mad Point is, Egypt isn't that and despite our general lack of historical intrigue from the old and middle stages of the Kingdom, we know a lot about its economic and developmental history. 

For the sake of completeness, Egypt's rough chronology goes as follows: the old kingdom from 2700 to 2200 B.C.E was the building stage when Egypt sorted out its agricultural system and had a go at making giant stone polyhedrons. Near the end of the period there was a severe famine, which resulted in the government being unceremoniously toppled (like a cat tipping over a canopic jar and spilling guts everywhere). 

The century and a half period of political strife that ensued was the first intermediary period. 

Yet, oddly there was a concurrent boom in writing and art. After some light civil warring in the absence of any convincing government, Theban society stepped up, kicked ass, and became the new rulers of Egypt in the Middle Kingdom. In the Middle Kingdom, from 2100 to 1700 B.C.E., modest land expansion and a more secure supply of resources helped promote an economic and especially cultural flourishing. 

Literature started cropping up, for one, and also sculptures in relief became an increasingly common and visually appealing way to depict characters in detail. 
The period drew to a close upon an invasion by the Hyksos, a people of mixed heritage from probably West Asia, who usurped the pharaoh and ruled the kingdom for over a century. 
More civil warring ensued and once the Hyksos were expelled, the Egyptians, understandably shaken from being invaded for pretty much the first time ever and definitely not wanting to let that happen again, resolved to push out in every direction and also went way east across the Sinai peninsula and into the Lavant. 

This marks the onset of the New Kingdom which lasted from about 1550 to 1150 B.C.E., In the beginning, the New Kingdom was a party as trade routes were re-established, serious diplomatic relationships became a thing for the first time, and more and more land was being conquered Most of the pharaohs you're familiar with are from this period, as the historical records get better as time goes on. 

One such pharaoh was Hatshepsut, and she was awesome. Not only was she the one to thank for setting up all those sweet trade routes, but she was also a prolific builder, almost ordering more construction projects than any other pharaoh. 
The things she made were so impressive her successors regularly took credit for them. That's how you know it's good. 

This was a bit of a recurring theme in ancient Egypt. Pharaohs trying to wipe out all memory of earlier rulers for the sake of glorifying their own image. 
Talk about a Mary Sue, am I right? During the new Kingdom, the pharaohs made a concerted effort to elevate the prestige of a local god, Amun, to a national level. 
Syncretizing him with a Sun god to become Amun-Ra, crafting the image of the all-powerful Sun god that we instinctively picture today. 
This was cool because Amun-Ra is great, but one asshole decided he wanted to ruin the fun for everyone and his name was Akhenaten. 

He not only engaged in the typical jackassery of wiping away the legacy of past pharaohs, but he also warmed wipe out all other gods except his buddy the Sun God, Aten, often pretty much only because Akhenaten didn't like the temple of Amun, and how powerful they were getting. 
His son Tutankhaten thanks to being urging of those very same Amun priests indulged in some healthy teenage rebellion and changed his name to Tutankhamun as well as restoring the old gods to their original status after that Egypt just collectively decided that this whole Akhenaten episode never happened. Aside from that King Tut didn't really do much of anything before dying of something rather the reason he's so famous nowadays Is that he's the one whose tomb wasn't robbed. 

British Archaeologists found it entirely intact some [3,000] years later or at least entirely intact before they got their hands all over it and started breaking precious artifacts yeah Yeah Boo. 
Anyway, almost all other tombs have been wiped clean by robbers centuries ago And the fact that his wasn't is a big enough deal to warrant his fame Another famous Pharaoh is Ramses II who is right next to Hatshepsut on the list of most successful pharaohs ever below of course Yami-Yugi Ramses waged multiple military campaigns and built a splendid assortment of temples and monuments However as Egypt grew in magnificence more and more foreign people wanted a piece of the proverbial pie So Egypt started to fall prey to numerous invasions both small and large While daily life for the average Joe Egyptian remained mostly unchanged Egypt's power gradually declined and multiple different foreign powers conquered Egypt during the four hundred year period, most notably the Assyrians. 

After the Assyrians the Achaemenid Persians stepped in and three hundred years after that Egypt came under the control of Alexander the Great and his Macedonian cohort Macedonians made a point not to try and Hellenize Egypt instead, fully promoting Egyptian culture as a way to keep the people on their side and having the Greeks rule with continued use of Egyptian offices and titles like Pharaoh. 

This last section of Egyptian history is covered rather well by Shakespeare who's covered rather well by Red So give a look over there if you want to know this in more detail But the short of it is that Cleopatra. the last pharaoh of Egypt. was an all-around cool and especially cunning character. 

Among other things she was described by most contemporary accounts as an incredibly intelligent witty and charming conversation partner which later got [burglarized?] into to her being a beautiful seductress who twisted the minds of men with her boobs to explain how she got all these powerful men to ally with her and also bang maybe. 

Despite most contemporary imagery showing her to be a pretty normal-looking lady. There are straight-up scholarly Archaeological debates about whether this powerful and ruthless queen was a 6 or a 10 because clearly, we have priorities Can't we just appreciate one of the most powerful women in the ancient world for something besides her looks? She comes on with Julius Caesar the night he casually burned down the library of Alexandria in order to cement an alliance with him and then after he bit it in the senate she moved on to his adopted son Octavian's enemy Mark Antony Octavian chased Mark Antony and Cleopatra to Egypt where they ran off and later killed themselves after each coming to terms with their defeat at the hands of Octavian. 

Egypt, now pharaohless, became a province of Rome for several centuries where upon it was conquered by the Islamic Caliphate in 7th century, the Ottomans in the 16th century, the British in the late 19th century, all the way up to 1953 when for the first time in close to 3,000 years Egypt was once again ruled by native ethnic Egyptians How insane is this to wrap our heads around? An empire that lived for almost 3,000 years, all before western history as we know it even existed, only to spend almost all of that subsequent western history under some form of foreign rule Damn. 

The pyramids are older to the Romans than the Romans are to us. Cleopatra lived closer to spaceflight than she did to the building of the pyramids. That's all the time I have for today because I need to go and bandage my poor brain