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The Failure Of The Second Crusade And The Fall Of The Christians

794 words - 4 pages

Amongst the wars that have been fought in the history of mankind, The Second Crusade can be counted as one of the most disastrous. Completely contrary to the First Crusade, the Second Crusade was lead by two leaders with two un-cohesive agendas. This division of power and lack of military organization ultimately led to the massacre of thousands of Christian Crusaders and crushing losses along the way in the Crusaders' attempts to recapture the cities of Edessa and Damascus. The Second Crusade was the beginning of the fall of power of the Christian Crusaders for the first time in decades.
At the start of the Second Crusade, it had been four decades since the First Crusade had taken place and the stories from the first expedition had become legends. However, these legends soon began to unravel: Edessa, once a Christian held city from the First Crusade, fell to the Muslims under the forces of Zengi. After the fall of the city of Edessa, "the Christian aura of invincibility was shattered" and they were overcome with panic because this was the first time they recognized the invading Muslims as a threat (Madden 50). This fear was precisely what ignited the Second Crusade. Although Pope Eugenius III called upon the Second Crusade, it was technically considered Bernard of Clairvaux’s crusade. Bernard was a French abbot who was appointed to his position by the Pope in order to preach about the crusade. Bernard regarded the Second Crusade "as a means of redemption" and preached across Northern France and Germany in hopes of rallying civilians to stand by his side in the name of Christ (Madden 52).
Just as the Second Crusade began with two different figures, the mission continued to grow into an increasingly disjointed and divided project. As the Pope had feared, the crusades were now lead by two different leaders, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany - both of whom lacked communication skills. Louis and Conrad each led their respective armies into the Middle East to attempt to recapture Edessa. One of the early signs of the impending failure of the Crusade was the separation of troops. Conrad and Louis dispersed their troops in completely different directions. Specifically, Conrad and his troops decided to head to Antioch, along the same path of the First Crusade, without waiting for the French Army to...

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