Author Topic: For Debate: Important [Little Known] Turning Points in Recorded History  (Read 624 times)

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Offline PzLdr

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Any era, any geographic location, any type of event [military, social, technological]. I'll take first whack:

December, 1241, Karakorum, Mongolia. Uggedai Qua Quan, third son of Temujin, Chingghis Quan, and Supreme Ruler of the Mongol Empire dies, most probably of the results of chronic alcoholism. Under the Jasagh, the Mongol legal code, all of the Princes of the blood, generals and Mongol nobility are required to return to the homeland for the convening of a Kuriltai and the election of his successor. Until that is done, his widow toregene Khatun acts as regent.

Word reaches the Mongol Army in Hungary in the Spring of 1242 of Uggedai's death. Among those who immediately de-camp are Guyuk, son of Uggedai, Kadaan, son of Chagatai [Temujin's oldest surviving son], and Mongke [oldest son of Tolui[Temujin's youngest son, and ruler of the Uluus comprising the traditional Mongol homeland. All take their personal armies with them. Faced with almost no Mongol troops to lead, Subodei calls off the campaign, and the Mongols withdraw to the east, razing Hungary, and keeping Russia. With one major exception, a raid, they never return.

The Mongols were on the cusp of taking Europe when they left. Never was so much of the Earth as likely to have been ruled as one polity, with Mongol overlords and Chinese administrators. And it was the  death of one man, several thousand miles away, that stopped it happening.
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Offline EC

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December 7th, 1941. A day that lives on in memory.

But let's look at December 6th. The State department was doing whatever the State department does. One guy decided to go home early. Maybe he was bored, maybe he had wicked stomach cramps or a migraine or his kid's birthday party. Who knows, now? He left just before the cable warning of the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor came in, and he was the go to guy for decoding cables.

The cable was not decoded until December 8th.

Not only did it catapult the USA into the war, but it saved a hell of a lot of lives. If the cable had been decoded in a timely manner and the fleet put out to sea, the loss of life would have been tremendous. Since most of the ships were sunk in the harbor itself, many of the sailors were able to swim to shore, and several of the "sunken" ships were raised and repaired within the month.

Not bad for one guy leaving work early.
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