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The Phoenician Empire
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The Mediterranean Sea has spawned many civilizations through history. The Phoenicians, which originated around 1200 BCE, is one example. Despite the rather small size of this civilization, its impact on our world has been considerable. Being a seafaring nation, the Phoenicians established colonies all over the Mediterranean area, including the present-day cities of Carthage and Tripoli. As notable traders, they shared cultures with many nations, which allowed their invention of the alphabet to spread throughout Eurasia. The Phoenician Empire continued to evolve until its eventual incorporation into the Persian and Macedonian Empires, around 400 BCE. Phoenicia is an ancient region...
alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet also closely compares to the Early Aramaic, Nabatian, and Arabic alphabets.

Although the Phoenician Empire did not leave a very conspicuous trail in its path, its contributions to human civilization are of great importance. Being the most noteworthy seafaring and trading nations of its time, the Phoenicians connected Mediterranean cultures by establishing trade routes throughout Eurasia. Specialized crafts of the society included glass production, metallurgy, and textiles. The biggest contribution of the society was the phonetic the word usage is not a coincidence alphabet, which later evolved into the Modern Roman alphabet we use today.

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Why did Stalin rather... Why did Stalin rather than Trotsky emerge as the leader of the USSR in 1929? A power struggle for control of the Bolshevik party began after Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924. Among the several contenders, two of the most important names in this struggle were Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. Ultimately, Stalin was able to secure power and vote out Trotsky. In the following essay I will discuss the reasons why Stalin rather than Trotsky emerged as the leader of the USSR in 1929. First of all, Stalin was lucky. Trotsky remained ill for most of the power struggle and Lenin died at an opportune time. Indeed, had Lenin lived, Stalin would probably have been sent to the provinces to work for the party. Dzerzhinsky, the head of the Cheka and political adversary to Stalin, also died fortuitously in 1926. His death facilitated the infiltration of Stalin's supporters into the political police which Stalin eventually used against his opponents. It was also fortunate for Stalin that Lenin's testament was not publicized. If Lenin's negative views on Stalin succeeding him had been aired, there would have been no possibility for Stalin's victory. Another reason for Stalin's victory was his influence over the party machine through his key positions in the Politburo and Orgburo and as General Secretary. This power allowed Stalin to appoint his supporters to key positions in the party. He also controlled the membership of the party by admitting members likely to support him and expelling those members likely to support Trotsky. Stalin's control of appointments and membership also made him a valuable ally to other contenders who needed his ability to deliver votes in the congresses. Stalin was also politically skillful and cunning. In the Politburo, when matters of high policy were being discussed, Stalin never imposed his views on his colleagues. He carefully followed the course of the debate and invariably voted with the majority. To the party audiences he appeared devoid of personal grudge and rancour and even seemed to be a detached Leninist, a guardian of the doctrine who criticized others only for the sake of the cause. Stalin always adopted policies that were broadly approved by the majority of the Communist party. Hence, using his political dexterity, he maintained a good reputation within the party. Stalin also made full use of Lenin's funeral to advance his position. He tricked Trotsky into not attending the funeral by letting him know that he would never make it on time of course this was not true. He gave a speech at the funeral, tactfully taking on the mantle of Leninism and thereby transferring Lenin's prestige to himself. Stalin's personal characteristics and qualities also helped him become leader of the party. Stalin was perceived as dull and mediocre "“ the 'grey blur'. None of the contenders saw him as a threat until it was too late. He was tough-minded and ruthless. He was determined to defend his power base and make sure that he was not removed. Stalin was also a very loyal party member who was one of the few leaders from the lower class. As such, he was less high-minded and more down to earth than the other leading Bolsheviks; Stalin was ideally suited to managing the bureaucratic and centralised party that had developed. Trotsky, on the other hand, was responsible for his own downfall. Trotsky did not go out of his way to develop or build up his power base in the party and allowed Stalin to erode the one he already had. Just like the other contenders, he underestimated Stalin and was outmanoeuvred by him. He was high-minded, arrogant, and dismissive of his colleagues which made party members suspicious that he would cause splits in the party. These weaknesses enabled Stalin to defeat him easily. In conclusion, the main reasons for Joseph Stalin's victory were his luck, political power, political ability, personal characteristics, and of course the weaknesses of his opponents. However, there is no doubt that the most important reason for Stalin's victory was his luck and more specifically the fact that Lenin's testament was not exposed. If Stalin had not been lucky, his chances for victory would have been severely reduced.   

Why did Stalin rather than Trotsky emerge as the leader of the USSR in 1929? A power struggle for control of the Bolshevik party began after Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924. Among the several contenders, two of the most important names in this struggle were Leon Trotsky and...

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The war was set off by...The war was set off by a system of alliances all reacting to a fairly small event in Serbia on the 28th of June 1914. This was where the archduke of Austria was assassinated. This small event ended up in a full-scale war in Europe. It was the triple alliance of Germany Austria-Hungry and Italy against the triple Entente of Britain France and Russia. The Germans tried a huge offensive to try and end the war before it started. But this resulted in a charge into France, only to be pushed back with a race to the sea. This ended up with stalemate. Now Germany who was on the higher ground went on the defensive whilst the French and British tried to push them back out of France. Back at the home front in Britain patriotism and enthusiasm was high as the war was a new type and the people didn't understand how bad war would actually be. So young men of Europe flocked into joining up to the war. They had the idea that this new modern war would be quick and swift. This was not to be the case. There was a cold and bloody stalemate. As the people back at home started to get a sense of this cold and bloody war the government introduced conscription on the 25th of January 1916. Also the British used their empire to help. They got Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans all to provide help and to give more men to increase numbers. But on the western front methods of breaking through were not arising easily for the leaders. There seemed to only be one way of breaking through, attrition and slaughter until one side would have to show the white flag. Each side tried to wear the other down to get a chance to break through. The only method they could use was to pound the enemy trench with artillery bombardment. The intention of this was to destroy the enemy's dugouts, barbed wire and machine gun posts. At the war of the Somme in 1916 the British bombardment lasted 8 days. Then the soldiers would go 'over the top', on foot, across no mans land towards the enemy's lines. They hoped that they could break through the enemy lines by sheer weight of numbers. But this had little success, as it needed a long time to collect the guns and men that were needed for such an attack, and it could not be done secretly. The enemy knew that when the guns stopped the infantry would be coming. Soldiers carrying rifles and packs were then forced to move slowly across no mans land, which had often been turned into a swamp of water filled shell craters. This made the advancing soldiers an easy target for the defence's machine gunners. So these attacks ended up in failure most of the times, which cost them thousands of lives. On the first day of the battle of Somme, the British army lost around 60 000 men, either being killed or wounded. The only thing gained out of four years of warfare was a few hundred meters of mud. But this land could easily be lost in weeks. Each side had been working hard on the development of weapons back at home. Some of the outcomes of this work were: 1. The breech-loading rifle "“ a main weapon, it enabled soldiers to fire between 5 "“ 10 shots before reloading. 2. Machine guns "“ these were a major success for the defence. They were much heavier than the usual rifle, but to make up for the weight they were extremely deadly. It could fire several hundreds of rounds per minute. It could kill hundreds of men. 3. Wheeled guns "“ these had very heavy shells. They blasted and cratered battle areas. 4. Bayonets "“ these were long sharp blades that attached to the end of rifles so soldiers could fight with these in close combat action. 5. Hand grenades "“ used in close trench fighting to drive the enemy back. But the two major new weapons that started to be produced in 1915 and 1916 were gas and tanks. Poison gas was used first by the Germans at the second battle of Ypres in 1915. The Canadians suffered heavily after this attack. So soon enough the British started to produce their own gas. So now both sides were able to use gas leaving horrific effects. The gas that was usually used was chlorine or phosphene and could be contained in either shells or it could be released from canisters when the wind blew in the right direction. If a soldier were caught by gas he would almost definitely be taken out of the war. He would either be killed or made ill or even blinded. But as deadly as gas was it did not achieve much success as expected. Gas masks were soon under development and they became extremely effective at defeating gases deadly effects. But also the wind direction could change instantly and then gas could be used against its owner. Before 1916 armoured tractors with caterpillar tracks instead of wheels started to be produced. For secret reasons the British named it the "tank". These mechanical monsters could resist machine gun fire, crush barbed wire and cross ditches, by dropping bundles of wood or fascines to be used as bridges. It was hoped that these could tear a hole in the German defences through which the infantry could advance. The British first used them at the battle of Somme in 1916 at Flers. But there were not enough of them, and they did not have enough infantry support to break through and some got stuck in the mud. So with more development in 1917 another attack was launched with the use of tanks at the battle of Cambrai. The British sent out 381 tanks to advance across no mans land and came very near to achieving breakthrough. But by the end of the day most of the tanks had broken down. So after another year of development tanks were very influential in defeating the Germans on the western front, as witnessed in the allied final counter offensive in august 1918 when over 858 tanks were used including help from USA soldiers. The first attempts of war in the air were used in the First World War. In the early war the most important aircraft was the airship. These were huge flying objects that were filled with hydrogen. Engines carried in cars powered them. The cars also carried the crew. These airships were mainly used to escort ships and for hunting down U-boats. The Germans were much more advanced than anyone else and they used their 'zeppelins' as an observation deck for the German fleet. Then later on in 1915 the zeppelins were used as bombers. Although they could not give real damage they made Britain's home front scared and the British government had to pull back fighter planes to protect Britain from these attacks. Early in 1914 aeroplanes were unreliable and dangerous. But as they technically advanced through the years of the war they became fitted with machine guns in 1915. And in 1918 dogfights became a common event especially over the western front. Although aeroplanes were not a huge success until the end of the war they created a new idea for inventors to work on if any other battles occurred. Here is a time line of the allied attacks on the Western Front The First battle of Ypres The Belgian city of Ypres was the final barrier between the German army and the channel posts. The allies were determined to keep Ypres, as it was important ground. They were willing to keep it at all costs. The Germans staged their first attack on Ypres in an attempt to break through. But the allies were too strong. The British expeditionary force lost around 50 000 men but the Germans lost around 100 000. So the English kept control of the channel ports, which supplied them with supplies of men and ammunition. The German army moved away and Ypres was saved for the time being. The German troops were moved to the near sit of Neuve Chapelle where the British had launched an offensive. After this both sides settled down as they entered the first winter of the war. Neuve Chapelle Early in 1915 both sides started to adjust to trench warfare. In March, the British made an initially successful attack at Neuve Chapelle, but the Germans responded with heavy defence, which stopped any further progress and caused heavy casualties. The second battle of Ypres With a huge army the Germans went out to capture Ypres salient. They tried new ideas such as using gas for the first time. This was a major shock for the allies as they were totally unprepared for it. Fighting continued from the 22nd of April until the 27th of May. But still neither side had the upper hand. All in all the Germans gained a fair amount of land but never actually broke through to capture Ypres. Almost 1 million men were lost, about 63% being British and 37% being German. Loos and Aubers Ridge The British attacked at Aubers Ridge on the 9th of May. This was an accompaniment to the French offensive in Artois. This offensive was not properly planned out and actually had no objectives. On the 25th September 1915 the Allies launched their joint offensive. The French attacked Champagne and Artois, whilst the British fought at Loos, where they used their gas for the first time. After small success, the offensive came to a halt. The battle of Verdun Early in 1916 the Germans had an idea to break the stalemate. Their idea was to 'bleed France white' with a huge offensive at Verdun. Verdun was surrounded by several large forts, which made it important ground. So on the 21st of February the Germans let out their heaviest artillery bombardment of the war so far. This shattered the French defences. On the 23rd of June the Germans were near to breaking through but the French defence was relieved of pressure by the Franco-British offensive on the Somme on the 1st of July. In the autumn a French counter attack at Verdun forced the Germans to retreat almost as far as they're starting point. At this battle the French gained almost 400 000 casualties and the Germans received roughly 350 000. The battle of the Somme In an attempt to relieve pressure off the French at Verdun the British and French launched an offensive on the Somme. It was to be leaded by field Marshall Douglas Haig and had been planned for quite some time. The idea was to have a huge artillery bombardment, and to set mines to destroy the German lines. Then the attacking troops would be able to walk across no mans land and to rebuild German trenches to be used for themselves. But the prediction was wrong and on the first day there were 57 000 British casualties. The fighting continued from July until November with a loss of around 1.25 million men. Arras On the 9th of April 1917 the British successfully attacked Arras and the Canadians gained a strategic success by taking Vimy Ridge. Miles of tunnel were dug on four different levels so that troops and supplies could get to the start lines in greater safety. When I visited vimy ridge I noticed you could really see the difference of heights of the german and british lines. The tunnels were long but very well made and had no signs of caving in and are all still used today. Nivelle's offensive On the 16th of April the new French commander, general Robert nivelle, launched an offensive in Champagne. It was a disaster and Mutinies broke out in the French army. Nivelle was replaced instantly by General Phillipe Pétain. The third battle of Ypres "“ Passchendale On the 7th of June, weeks before Passchendale, the British launched a successful attack on Messines ridge, using 19 mines to blow the Germans off Messines Ridge. This killed almost 10 000 German men at a stroke. But the infantry that followed this attack was immensely slowed down by heavy rain, which caused nightmare conditions. The battle to capture Passchendale was first launched on the 31st of July when an attempt at capturing the channel ports was used to try and stop the Germans using their highly useful submarines. But with the terrible conditions and stubborn German defence the offensive was ground to a halt. 325 000 British men were lost and the troops had only just reached 5 miles of land. This battle almost broke the resolve of both armies. This was said to be the lowest point of the war. Cambrai On the 20th of November, in the first mass tank attack as I have noted earlier, the British launched a surprise attack towards Cambrai. A total of 381 tanks were divided into groups to achieve certain purposes. For example 32 were designed specially for cutting wire. The British broke through and gained around 5 miles. It was all on the up until there were insufficient reserves to consolidate the gains. The Germans counter attacked on the 30th of November and regained most of their lost land. Allied offensives August the 8th 1918 was the 'Black day of the German army' "“ the beginning of the end. With increasing attacks the allies drove the Germans back. In early October the British and the USA broke through the 'hindenburg line' with the help of tanks. German soldiers started to surrender and Germany began to speak of peace. The war on other fronts Battle of Gallipoli The western front in 1915 was at a definite deadlock. Ideas of trying new methods of attacking were being talked of. For example there was rumour of an offensive through the Balkans or even a landing on the Germany's Baltic coast. These ideas were normally shrugged off, but when Russia found themselves in trouble with Turkey in early 1915 they appealed for help. So the British decided to go ahead with a naval expedition to bombard and take the Gallipoli Peninsula on the western shore of the Dardanelles, with Constantinople as its objective. If the British could capture Constantinople, they could link with the Russians and knock the Turks out of the war and attempt to persuade the Balkan states to join the allies and keep Russia in the war, this maintaining a two front war. So on the 19th of February the naval attack began. Bad weather caused and the attack was abandoned after three battleships had been sunk and others damaged. When the British finally attacked with military assistance on the 25th of April the Turks managed to churn up a defending army that was six times larger than it had been at the start of the campaign. Little progress was made and the stalemate dragged on into the summer. The allies had deadly diseases running through their men. The men were tired and weary. The offensive attempt was a failure and in December 1915 and January 1916 troops were evacuated. The British were too cocky and stubborn by believing that their navy could do everything without the need of any other forces. The allies sent troops into Salonika in Greece to attempt to help Serbia, but nothing was achieved from this. Italy joined the allies and attempted to attack the Austrians, but this attempt failed and this caused another stalemate on the Isonzo Front. The Eastern Front 1914 - at the start of the war Russia surprised everybody with a quick mobilisation of two huge armies. With these they invaded Prussia in August. The Germans withdrew 100 000 men from the western front to prevent this offensive from working. This helped towards the failure of the Schlieffen plan. The Russians enjoyed early success but in tannenberg they were shattered by the German forces. The Russians were badly organised and equipped. They were fought by well-trained men who were well equipped and led. 1915 "“ the Russians received more success against the Austrians in 1915. They invaded the Austrian province of Galicia. Although they were defeated it took the Austrians four months to drive the Russians out of Galicia. However this put tremendous strain on Russia as 2 million men in 1915 alone were lost. 1916 - General Brusilov led a stunning offensive against the Austrians. Three Russian armies broke through the Austrian lines and captured the city of Lutsk on the 8th of June. But the Russians success was short lived as instead of attacking other parts of the Austrian lines, Brusilov's superiors decided to help him advance. By august the Russians ran out of steam and with 500 000 men lost they decided to head home. 1917 "“ the war had put great strain on the Russians. Keeping the army fed meant that civilians had to go unfed due to lack of food. In 1917 Russia fell into revolution and in November a new Bolshevik government, led by Lenin, pulled Russia out of the war. So the allies tried many different methods to break the stalemate. They ranged from fighting on different fronts, to using different weaponry. Although most schemes did not work they finally paid off when Germany showed the white flag in 1918.   

The war was set off by a system of alliances all reacting to a fairly small event in Serbia on the 28th of June 1914. This was where the archduke of Austria was assassinated. This small event ended up in a full-scale war in Europe. It was the triple...

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