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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Current Events Quiz: Who Said This to Whom, When, Why, and What Impact Does This Have Today? Do You Know? If Not, Why Not?

The general of what army placed heads on stakes to terrorize his victims? 
Villages Burning at Night. Egbert van der Poel. Source
Who said the following to whom, when?

Do these quotes have anything to do with current events?

Please do take a guess, and please do post your guess. I will post the answers after a few guesses.

These are actual quotes. The only changes I made was to remove identifying proper nouns.

The leader of an invading army said this to the people his nation was about to destroy in a genocidal war:

"Are you not aware that if the heavens should fall, we could prop them up with our bayonets? Other nations may be good mechanics and artisans, but power dwells only with us. No country ever waged successful war against us. If you refuse to listen to us, your country shall be taken from you, and you yourselves shall be treated with the utmost rigor. Be obedient, therefore, to my instructions. You must believe what has been told you, and you will be treated with lenity; otherwise, it will not be our fault if your valleys are destroyed with fire and sword, and your mountains trampled to dust! Yield, and you may retain your property; if not, all you possess, even your arms, shall be taken from you, and you yourselves made slaves."

A general from this army said, "I desire that the terror of my name should guard our frontiers more potently than chains of fortresses, that my word should be for the natives a law more inevitable than death."

Another general of this army said, "We want to conquer this territory at whatever cost. How would we take these people, except with fear and terror? They are not fit for philanthropy, and we achieve our goals by hanging people without mercy, by plundering and burning villages."

This general "erected an artificial mound outside his house and impaled the heads of his enemies on spikes set into it. A doctor's wife complained, so the general decided to store the heads in a box under his bed. He got out the box and showed off the heads to his appalled visitors. He wanted to send the heads to friends as souvenirs."

What army's leaders said and did these things as part of a genocide? What are the repercussions today?


  1. Someone attacking a mountainous country. Somehow, the whole setup sounds a tad British to me. I'm probably wrong.

  2. The "bayonets" places it in fairly recent history (unless that's a very free translation).

    The Russians shouldn't be saying that no one has ever waged successful war against them, what with the Mongol Conquest. Bragging often stretches beyond the limits of strict truth, but still.

    The Japanese could have made that boast, but would be unlikely to say "power dwells only with us" during their modern militarist window: they were always acutely aware of Western power. And their conquests were seldom genocidal.

    My guess would be late Ottoman Turkey. They'd fought unsuccessful wars, but not *that* unsuccessful, they were used to thinking of themselves as warriors and conquerors, and they had mountains on more than one border. Such as the one in the Caucasus region: the Armenian genocide pops to mind as a likely candidate.

  3. Just a guess, but I'd say a U.S. Cavalry General Officer speaking to Native American Chief(s).

  4. Reference to bayonets put's this no earlier than the 18th century, but the genocidal savagery sounds a lot like Genghis Kahn.

  5. Russians. XIX century. Conquest of Caucasus.
    Grand Duchy of Muscovy was created after Mongol invasion of Kievan Ruś (1223-1240). Backwater province became a vassal state of Golden Horde. Russians were under "Tatar Yoke" till 1480. This period had a great influence on Russian psyche. I don't think that Russians like to remember those times of weakness.

  6. Thank you, everyone. Here is the answer: