Throughout history, mankind has always been interested in understanding how past events shaped our present. From studying the Roman Empire to comprehending the Industrial Revolution, historians have attempted to explain why things happened when they did and what led to them happening as such. Whether you're a student or a hobbyist, we can all learn something from revisiting ancient wisdom and applying it to modern situations. In this blog post I will discuss some of history's greatest lessons that are still applicable today.
1. Don't fight a war on two fronts
One of the most important concepts in military history is that you don't fight a war on two fronts. This is due to an army's inability to divide its manpower and still be able to win at both fronts.
The idea behind this concept is that if one army fights against two opponents, it can not concentrate enough force on either front, risking defeat. It will also find itself unbalanced as the enemy may be able to take advantage of this lack of balance by mounting a counterattack or even launching a surprise attack.
In 1812, the French Emperor Napoleon invaded Russia with a force of 600,000 men. The Russian army was not prepared for this attack and retreated to Moscow. However, the Russians were able to stop Napoleon’s advance on Moscow by burning their own crops and homes in order to deprive him of food supplies.
The campaign is divided into two major phases. In the first, from 1812 to 1813, Napoleon invaded Russia with a Grande Armée and advanced to Moscow. He was turned back by the Russian winter and scorched earth tactics.
In the second phase, known as the French invasion of Russia (1814), he attempted to strike at his enemies' heartland with an army of 450,000 but was again defeated by a combination of stubborn Russian resistance in front of Moscow and British naval superiority on the Baltic coast.
This resulted in a long retreat from Moscow back into France where he was finally defeated at Waterloo.
Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and ultimate downfall, is one of history’s most famous examples of the perils of fighting a war on two fronts. Napoleon assembled a great military force by closing the Elbe River to British shipping in order to keep his forces fed and supplied. Back home in France, Napoleon was able to maintain power through an alliance with Tsar Alexander I; however, it was not enough for him to hold onto both countries simultaneously. Which brings us neatly onto our second lesson...
2. Never invade Russia in wintertime
For over a thousand years, Russians have been saying that invading Russia in wintertime is a bad idea. The Mongols learned it the hard way when they invaded and were defeated by Russian forces at the Battle of Kulikovo Field in 1380 CE, which was actually fought during the autumn season. Napoleon Bonaparte made his own fatal mistake while leading an army to attack Moscow during the unusually cold winter of 1812-1813, where temperatures dropped below -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).
The French Emperor had a dream of conquering Russia. But when he tried to invade that country in 1812, his army was defeated by Russians who were fighting for their homeland. This is known as one of the major turning points in history and Napoleon’s invasion is considered to be an act of foolishness.
In the words of Napoleon,
"If I had to invade Russia, I would do it only in the summer."
And he should know; he tried twice and failed both times. It's not just Napoleon who has learned this lesson. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia the British decided to have a go at invading Russia, which they did, also in 1812. This turned out to be a bad idea as well. Hitler, too, found out what happens when you invade Russia in wintertime during Operation Barbarossa.
The winter of 1941-2 was one of the coldest on record, and it is not surprising that many historians consider this to be a key factor in Germany’s failure to defeat Russia. The Wehrmacht had never encountered such extreme weather conditions before; their equipment and uniforms were not designed for sub-zero temperatures. Additionally, German supply lines became overstretched as they struggled to sustain their advance.
It's not just the cold that makes it so dangerous to invade Russia in wintertime, but also the lack of food and supplies for your army. You'll be fighting on unfamiliar ground with soldiers who are freezing to death and starving, while you're running out of ammunition and fuel.
So if you're thinking about invading Russia anytime soon (or even if you're not), please don't do it during wintertime!
3. The importance of good communication
The evolution of communication has been one of the most essential factors in human development. It allows us to learn from one another, and it’s a necessary skill for cooperation. It also allows us to share our thoughts, ideas and discoveries with each other without having to be physically present. The written word first appeared over 5,000 years ago on clay tablets. Shortly after its appearance it spread across Eurasia and Egypt where we saw a vast range of different scripts develop before its widespread use began to decline around 500 AD due to religious persecution by Christians who believed that only God could communicate directly with man.
Communication is a particularly critical aspect of human history. Without communication, we could not have advanced as a civilization, and there would be no basis for cooperation between people. It has been essential in establishing relationships with other humans and animals alike. It allows us to express our thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs and desires to others by using verbal or nonverbal methods such as body language or facial expressions.
When Napoleon was preparing for his Egyptian campaign in 1798, he did not anticipate the large number of casualties that would result. On paper, it seemed like a good idea to take an army across the Mediterranean Sea and into Egypt to attack British forces there. But despite all of his logistical planning, he failed to account for how difficult it would be for men fighting together to understand each other given their different languages and accents.
In our modern world where everything is done via the internet, it is very important to have good communication to avoid problems. If you want to run an online store, for example, you need a great support team that will help solve any issues customers may encounter when purchasing from your website.
The importance of good communication cannot be overstated; it is vital that you learn how to communicate effectively so that you can better understand yourself and those around you!
4. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Keeping your enemies closer is a phrase that has been around for centuries. It is often attributed to Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher known for his treatise on military strategy. This saying can be applied in many situations but it frequently works best when you are dealing with a friend who has turned into an enemy.
The saying was also made popular by Aristotle, but the concept of keeping your enemies close goes back to ancient times. The idea is that you want to be able to watch and monitor them without having them know what you are doing. You also want their impression of you to be as positive as possible so that they will not consider harming or battling with you.
Niccolo Machiavelli also talks about the phrase in his most famous work, The Prince. The saying, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer", is used to remind people that through the use of diplomacy it is possible for two opposing forces to achieve mutual gains.
Julius Caesar, the Roman conqueror and politician believed in this saying at a time when he was involved in a war with his rivals and had them under his thumb. This quote seems to ring true for most people; keeping their friends close is one thing but an enemy even closer could prove useful. But how does this relate to us?
This strategy can be applied to many aspects of life, including business. Keeping an eye on your competitors and knowing their weaknesses will help you stay ahead in the game. You'll also have more information about what they're doing and how they operate which could prove useful if you decide to take them out later down the line.
So it still applies today. When we say "Keep Your Friends Close," we mean just that—keep those who are loyal close to you and let nothing come between you two! But with our enemies, it's different; keep them as close as possible so that if they try anything funny, we'll know about it beforehand and take care of business accordingly.
5. The pen is mightier than the sword
This is a story about the most influential weapon in human history. It was forged during the Dark Ages and was used as a tool for war, trade, diplomacy, and even writing. Its name: The Pen.
It has been used to create some of the most influential documents in history like the Declaration of Independence and Magna Carta.
A weapon of war, a tool for trade, and a way to communicate ideas. It’s been used in every major conflict since it was invented by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. But why has it endured for so long?
The pen is mightier than the sword. It is an old saying, but very true. The ability to communicate a message verbally can quickly change public opinion and incite people into action that was previously inconceivable. This idea has been around for thousands of years; in fact, this statement was first used by Plato in his work “The Republic”. However, it wasn’t until the mid-18th century that communication using written words began revolutionizing how society worked on a day-to-day basis.
In the early 1800s, many countries were fighting for independence from their respective rulers. The pen was a powerful weapon in the fight against oppression. Specifically, newspapers provided people with information that motivated them to join forces and fight for freedom. Which leads us nicely to our last timeless lesson from history...
6. The power of the press and media
The power of the press and media is often underestimated by the general public. While it can be used as a tool to sway public opinion, there are many instances in which it has been used for good. During times of war or strife, journalists have risked their lives to give people a real picture of what’s going on beyond government propaganda. There is no doubt that the media's influence shapes our perception about history and current affairs.
The rise of the press in the late 18th century and its subsequent growth throughout 19th century England is a fascinating story to read about. It tells you how newspapers were born, why they became so popular among people and what kind of impact they had on political affairs. Many people fail to understand how powerful this means of communication can be when used correctly or abused for mass manipulation.
It is important that we are aware of the power that this form of communication holds so we can utilise it appropriately to shape our world as we see fit.
History has a lot to teach us, but often the lessons are not as obvious as we may think. The wisdom of the ages is all around us. From business to romance, finance to hobbies, there are lessons we can learn from history that apply today. We’ve looked at some of those timeless lessons here with this six-part post on what you can learn from history and how it applies to your world in 2021 and beyond. The history of the world is filled with lessons and warnings that can help us understand our own lives better.