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The Battle of Grunwald and the Peace of Thorn

The Teutonic Knights have been harassing Lithuania for decades but when they were offered the lands between Prussia and their northern holdings, it removed a lot of motivation to attack. Unfortunately, an uprising in those lands supported by Lithuania caused the Knights to attack Lithuania and Poland in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. As the numbers of dead increased and the Teutonic leaders were caught or killed, the Knights finally capitulated.[1] The Peace of Thorn will allow the Knights to avoid total destruction, pay reparations and ransom the prisoners. This is the beginning of the end for the Knights. They will fall into shadow as the economic aftermath of war engulfs them. [2][3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day the Battle of Grunwald (rather than the Peace of Thorn) will be remembered and serve as a propaganda weapon between the Nazis and the Soviet Union during World War II.

Here is an example of Polish/Soviet propaganda:

To arms! Fight the Germans wherever you encounter them! Assault their transports, provide information, aid Polish and Soviet soldiers! On liberated territories, fulfill mobilization orders and enlist for the Polish Armed Forces, which will avenge the September defeat and, together with the armies of Allied Nations, will deal the Germans another Grunwald!

-- Manifesto of the Polish Committee of National Liberation, Chelm, 22 July 1944 (Polish) [7][8]

China: The Grand Canal

China's Grand Canal between Beijing and the port city of Hangzhou has fallen into disrepair over the years of Mongol rule so the Yongle Emperor has assigned 165,000 laborers to dredge the canal, dig reservoirs and build a dam in order to maintain a higher water level in the canal. In the past larger barges were required to offload onto smaller barges over certain stretches which slowed transportation of goods and added considerably to the cost. In 50 years or so, the effort will lose some of its value as the port of Hangzhou becomes clogged with silt. [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This work is more politically significant than it seems. The current capital of China is Nanking in the south so making such radical improvements for Beijing in the north is like laying a railway line to the middle of nowhere. Beijing looks a lot like "nowhere" to the Chinese bureaucracy, intellectuals and elitists who live in Nanking. Making improvements to the canal is a signal that the center of power is moving north to Beijing.[12]

Henry and Son

King Henry the 4th of England has had a debilitating illness for several years now. Historians cannot agree on exactly what that illness is except that the King looks like hell. In the interim, his son, Henry the 5th, the Prince of Wales, has been having a field day or as Shakespeare will write, "...a little intoxicate in his brains." But the King is not dead yet. He has removed the Prince from Parliament because his own son has been opposing him. [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most men in their early 20s think they know everything, but imagine yourself as the heir apparent to a king in poor health. The household staff know which side of the buttered bread hits the floor so no one is contradicting this young man who has a sense of honor but not the sense to know when to quit. Nevertheless, the people are going to love him mostly because he is exciting, inspiring even into the modern day... and a bit lucky. We'll be together in the Hundred Years' War, "we band of brothers." [16]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1411, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Alex Shrugged notes: Both sides were sick of the fighting and the Lithuanians were running out of cannonballs too.
  2. Webb, Jonathan. Battle of Grunwald, 1410 - The Art of Battle. 2014 [last update]
  3. Peace of Thorn (1411) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Battle of Grunwald - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Teutonic Knights - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Council of Constance - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Battle of Grunwald - Wikiquotes.
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: Within Jewish circles, the people of Chelm are often the butt of jokes... as if the people of Chelm were idiots who tried to do something intelligent but always missed the point. I'm not sure how this started but it is true nevertheless.
  9. Gernet, Jacques. (translated by Foster, J. R. and Hartman, Charles) A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. 1996. p. 408. (BOOK)
  10. Grand Canal (China): Ming Dynasty Restoration - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Hangzhou - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Nanjing (Nanking) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Cantor, Norman F. general editor, The Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages: Henry V. Viking Penguin. 1999. p. 219. (BOOK)
  14. Henry IV of England - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. Henry V of England - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  16. St Crispin's Day Speech - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update] quote="We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;"

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