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WEATHERFORD, Jack



Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern Word

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The first key to leadership was self-control, particularly the mastery of pride, which was something more difficult, he explained, to subdue than a wild lion and anger, which was more difficult to defeat than the greatest wrestler. He warned them that "if you can't swallow your pride, you can't lead.

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A leader should demonstrate his thoughts and opinions through his actions, not through his words.

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In preparing the psychological attack on a city, Genghis Khan began with two examples of what awaited the people. He offered generous terms of surrender to the outlying communities, and the ones that accepted the terms and joined the Mongols received great leniency. In the words of the Persian chronicler, “whoever yields and submits to them is safe and free from the terror and disgrace of their severity.” Those that refused received exceptionally harsh treatment, as the Mongols herded the captives before them to be used as cannon fodder in the next attack.

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As the Mongol warriors withdrew from the cities of the Jurched, they had one final punishment to inflict upon the land where they had already driven out the people and burned their villages. Genghis Khan wanted to leave a large open land with ample pastures should his army need to return. The plowed fields, stone walls, and deep ditches had slowed the Mongol horses and hindered their ability to move across the landscape in any direction they wished. The same things also prevented the free migration of the herds of antelope, asses, and other wild animals that the Mongols enjoyed hunting. When the Mongols left from their Jurched campaign, they churned up the land behind them by having their horses trample the farmland with their hooves and prepare it to return to open pasture. They wanted to ensure that the peasants never returned to their villages and fields. In this way, Inner Mongolia remained a grazing land, and the Mongols created a large buffer zone of pastures and forests between the tribal lands and the fields of the sedentary farmers. The grassy steppes served as ready stores of pasturage for their horses that allowed them easier access in future raids and campaigns, and they provided a ready store of meat in the herds of wild animals that returned once the farmers and villagers had been expelled.
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