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The True Coldwar. Refers To The Bubonic Plague, Known As The Black Death

3136 words - 13 pages

Plague. A word that has struck fear in the hearts of man since theearliest of times. It has also lead to some of the greatest historical events andstories of our time. The ancient cities of Rome and Athens, in their downfall,were finished off by pestilence. The Bubonic Plague, also known as TheBlack Death, devastated Europe in the 14th century, starting a new age. Thegreat 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 hemophilia to her heirs,leading to the illness of the only son of Czar ...view middle of the document...

And where there arerats, 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 onlyimagine what the people of that time thought. In those days, the church wasthe 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 themain scapegoats were the Jews. They were accused of infecting town wells,and spreading imaginary poisons from city to city. For these 'crimes,' theywere burned, hung, stoned, etc. Also, specific scapegoats were found andkilled in every city. Mass hysteria gripped the known world. Then, it sloweddown. It didn't stop, and it wouldn't for many years, but it slowed downenough for society to get back on its feet. And society now had a newoutlook 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'rean 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 storyof a strange disease and its effects on history. In the opening, I mentionedthe destruction of Napoleon's Grand Army at the hands of typhus. Let's delvea little deeper into that event. In the spring of 1812, Napoleon had reachedthe height of his power and glory. His empire spread eastward to the Russianfrontier and to Austria. Two of his brothers were kings. His 3 sisters all saton thrones in one sense or another. His first son was Viceroy of Italy. AndNapoleon himself was currently married to the great niece of MarieAntoninette, and their first child was immediately named King of Rome.Napoleon was on a roll.5 Given time, patience, and some luck, he might havebeen able to extend his empire to the East, and force those pesky British intoisolation, cutting them off from any matters in Europe and Asia. But thesedreams would go unresolved. Because of something Napoleon could notsee.6In 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 ofthe 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 thirdweek of July, Napoleon had lost 80,000 men, most to disease, and some ofthose to typhus. Since typhus was transmitted through lice, soldiers couldcarry them on unwashed clothing without even knowing it. The Grand Armywas a walking death trap.7 As typhus raged on, Napoleon...

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