Quick! Which side are the Poles on?

Siege of Vienna

Lead and Gold has a quick summary of a major turning point for the Ottoman Empire 320 years ago yesterday. I fancy myself to have a passing knowledge of history, but wasn’t familiar with this particular siege or the battle that lifted it and changed the world.

The Turks had laid siege to Vienna and the city was on the edge of collapse.

The relief of the city was complicated by European politics.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Well, okay, we all know that part of the story.

By September, conditions were desperate inside the city- low supplies, disease, and weakening defenses…But, fortunately, Poland had spurned [French King and main political game-player] Louis’s maneuvers and sent an army of 24,000 under their King John Sobieski.

The Turks were routed completely, led by the Poles. Up until September 12, 1683, the Turks had almost always advanced. After September 12, 1683, they almost always retreated. Lead and Gold notes

Funny how many of these critical turning points find the Poles fighting on the right side.

The Poles have quietly been one of our strongest supporters throughout this war, and their GROM warriors are a welcome addition to the coalition of the willing.

Also, there’s this about the Ottoman empire:

[Poland’s King Sobieski] also noted the Turks “left behind a mass of innocent Austrian people, particularly women; but they butchered as many as they could.” Separate from that slaughter, the Ottomans had sent 67,000 Austrians east as slaves and 14,000 girls to the harems of Constantinople. [empahsis mine]

That reminds me of what I usually say to people (usually those with no concept of history, but not always) who say the United States is using 9/11 as an excuse to build an “empire.”

I usually say “Shut up.”

There’s rarely any point to debating the issue with them. If they knew what real “empires” were almost always like and what they did to the lands they conquered, AND THEY WEREN’T BENT ON BLAMING AMERICA FIRST, they wouldn’t say such foolish things. (Thanks to Hell in a Handbasket for the tip)

UPDATE: I’d like to clarify my last few comments about “empire.”

I don’t have an issue with people who question our government or its policies. That’s a big part of what make America so great, and I’m more than happy to express skepticism, myself. And I’ll agree that our new policy of “pre-emptive” action against our enemies could be used for evil ends. I haven’t seen that yet, and I don’t expect to see it in the future. The problem I have is with the people who think we’re an empire now. They need to understand what they’re saying before they can expect ot be taken seriously.