The True Cold War Essay

3136 words - 13 pages

The Bubonic Plague and The Black Death Research Paper

Plague. A word that has struck fear in the hearts of man since the earliest of times. It has also lead to some of the greatest historical events and stories of our time. The ancient cities of Rome and Athens, in their downfall, were finished off by pestilence. The Bubonic Plague, also known as The Black Death, devastated Europe in the 14th century, starting a new age. The great warrior Ivan the Terrible was stricken with disease, and driven mad.During the 'exploration' of the new world, Cortes's greatest ally against theAztecs was smallpox. Napoleon's Grand Army was defeated by theRussians, and typhus. Queen Victoria spread hemophi ...view middle of the document...

This may seem incredulous to people today, but it happened. During those times, where there were humans, there were black rats. And where there are rats, there are fleas. And where there were fleas, there was the plague.Bubonic plague, and also pneumonic plague, were everywhere. France, Italy,Russia, England, you name it. When a village was infected, people fled, most likely taking the plague with them to the next village.3 One can only imagine what the people of that time thought. In those days, the church was the controlling influence. So, they probably thought it was the wrath of god.And with wraths of god, comes the need to search for scapegoats. And the main scapegoats were the Jews. They were accused of infecting town wells, and spreading imaginary poisons from city to city. For these 'crimes,' they were burned, hung, stoned, etc. Also, specific scapegoats were found and killed in every city. Mass hysteria gripped the known world. Then, it slowed down. It didn't stop, and it wouldn't for many years, but it slowed down enough for society to get back on its feet. And society now had a new outlook on life. The all-powerful Catholic Church still wielded some power, but not what it previously had. Europe was ready for a change. So, if you're an optimist, you might say that the plague gave Europeans a fresh start.4And while we are on the subject of the past, I shall relate another story of a strange disease and its effects on history. In the opening, I mentioned the destruction of Napoleon's Grand Army at the hands of typhus. Let's delve a little deeper into that event. In the spring of 1812, Napoleon had reached the height of his power and glory. His empire spread eastward to the Russian frontier and to Austria. Two of his brothers were kings. His 3 sisters all sat on thrones in one sense or another. His first son was Viceroy of Italy. AndNapoleon himself was currently married to the great niece of Marie Antoninette, and their first child was immediately named King of Rome.Napoleon was on a roll.5 Given time, patience, and some luck, he might have been able to extend his empire to the East, and force those pesky British into isolation, cutting them off from any matters in Europe and Asia. But these dreams would go unresolved. Because of something Napoleon could not see. In June of 1812, in eastern Germany, Napoleon massed a force of368,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 1,100 guns, and 100,000 reserve infantry.He now outnumbered the Russian forces. With the Russian's defeat,Napoleon could boast being in control of most of Europe. But only 90,000 of the central army reached Moscow. And the rest was destroyed in the retreat.Why? As the Grand Army marched to Russia, they had to pass throughPoland. Poland was filthy and dirty. Most of the army was undisciplined, and pillaged villages, making themselves sick in the process. In the third week of July, Napoleon had lost 80,000 men, most to disease, and some of those to typhus. Since typhus was transmit...

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