The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
1 Points

Military Superiority of the West from 900-1300 AD

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 938 times Debate No: 51282
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




This is my second debate about an historical topic. Check out the first one at! This debate is impossible to accept, so write your proposed topic in the comments and I'll invite the person with the best topic to debate. Please include all definitions and assumptions you'd like to use in your comment. Also, no WWII topics - there are thousands of years of history to choose from, please pick something less cliché.

Structure will be as follows:
Round 1: acceptance only, no arguments
Round 2: Opening statements for each side (no rebuttals allowed)
Round 3: Rebuttals and additional arguments
Round 4: Final rebuttals and conclusion (no new arguments)
All sources are encouraged except Wikipedia. Use of Wikipedia or non compliance with the debate structure will result in a 7 point penalty.

Looking for a serious debater who won't troll or forfeit. Burden of proof will be shared. I am slated for Con so you must be in favor of whatever prompt you give. Looking forward to a fun debate!


These 400 years fromn the 10th to 14th century of the Commion era marked the begining of western/european dominance in our world and I will look forward to debating the military strategies,skilsl and hardware of the Western world against that of the Eastern world in this time.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to my opponent for accepting. The resolution for this debate is that the West (Europe) was militarily superior to the East (Asia) in weapons, strategy, and engineering from 900-1300 AD. I, as Con, will attempt to refute this claim. I propose that we exclude the Middle East because it can be equally claimed by both Europe and Asia. Pro, please let me know if you disagree. I will present my arguments according to weapons, strategy, and engineering.


Gunpowder is undoubtedly one of the most important military technologies of the first millennium. Perhaps it is even the most important. This revolutionary weapon was invented in the East. As early as 800 AD, Taoist alchemists discovered the mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter which is the foundation of gunpowder. Over the centuries they developed items comparable to grenades, bombs, and rockets at a time when Europeans had no concept of such weapons [1].

It is well known that the Chinese never harnessed the true potential of these weapons which were instead perfected in Europe. However, this Western adoption occurred much later. The earliest known depiction of canons in the West was in 1326 AD, and these did not even become practical weapons in Europe until the 15th and 16th Centuries [2]. This is beyond the time period of this debate and therefore cannot be considered.

The East possessed this incredibly revolutionary weapon for centuries while the West was still fighting in ways which became instantly obsolete once gunpowder entered the battlefield. As a result, I propose gunpowder alone gave the East an unprecedented weaponry advantage over the West during this time.


It is difficult to compare strategies between regions that never fought each other. Fortunately however, we do have an instance during this period where East and West clashed and tested their strategies against each other. The Mongols were perhaps the greatest military force of all time and conquered what became one of the largest land empires ever. The Mongols proved their strategic superiority by defeating both fortified and mobile enemies and conquered China, central Asia, and Turkic kingdoms until finally reaching the doorstep of Europe. In 1221 the Mongols got their first chance to demonstrate the superiority of highly mobile and lightly equipped cavalry against the slow, heavily armored, and statically fortified Europeans in the Kingdom of Georgia. The Mongol cavalry lured the Georgian infantry into the open and fatigued their heavily armored forces by forcing a long pursuit, and then destroyed them [3]. After this victory, the Mongols proceeded to defeat the Russians (Muscovites), Hungarians, and moved as far west as Germany and Vienna. The ultimate test of Eastern vs. Western strategy came in 1241 at the Battle of Wahlstatt. Here, Duke Henry II of Silesia led a force of 30,000 knights from Germany and France to meet the Mongols, and they were soundly defeated [4].

The Mongols also demonstrated superiority in their ability to conduct multiple campaigns across huge distances. In the 13th Century, the Mongols sustained simultaneous campaigns across an area stretching 5,000 miles and 100 degrees in latitude, a feat which was not repeated until the 20th Century! [5]. By comparison, while the Mongols were quickly conquering the known world, European armies during this time often bogged down in slow, static warfare that focused on maneuver and siege while avoiding pitched battles.

As a final proof of the East’s strategic dominance, we must examine the legacy of the world’s greatest strategic philosophers in our modern world. Of these, Jomini, Clausewitz, and Sun Tzu are the most studied. Sun Tzu is an ancient Eastern strategist, whose principles were followed during the 10th and 14th Centuries by Eastern armies. Jomini and Clausewitz did not exist until the 18th Century. As a result, the West was not able to deeply contribute to the historiography of strategic philosophy until well after the time period of this debate, while the Eastern foundation of strategic thought was very much alive.


For engineering, I simply submit that the East was capable of constructing forts and systems equal to anything found in the West at this time. As in Europe, the East also engineered great castles, walls, and palaces. It will be very difficult for my opponent to prove that European engineering was superior to that of the East.

I therefore propose that Eastern weapons were far superior to those of the West due to knowledge of gunpowder. Eastern strategy was championed by Sun Tzu long before Western strategy was triumphed during the Napoleonic period, and the Mongol defeat of multiple Western armies during this time displays the East’s strategic dominance. Even if we assume Western engineering equality to that in the East, the first two categories clearly tip the scales in favor of Asia.

I look forward to Pro’s opening arguments.

[1] Arnold, Thomas. The Renaissance at War (HarperCollins, 2006), 14.

[2] Ibid., 30.

[3] Weatherford, Jack. Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Crown, 2004), 138

[4]. Ibid. 152

[5]. Ibid., 144



I apoligize to con, My health isn't great and I am having a difficult time focusing enough to put this together. I will have to concede the debate for now But I would be interested in taking it up with you again when I am feeling better. My apologies again for backing out.

Debate Round No. 2


I am sorry you are feeling under the weather. I wish you a speedy recovery, I would welcome the chance to debate you in the future.
Debate Round No. 3
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sengejuri 2 years ago
You win jevinigh, looking forward to it!
Posted by Jevinigh 2 years ago
Debate topics:

The Isolation of japan in the Sakoku policies 1633 - 1853

Con position, arguing against of the isolationist policies implemented after the Sengoku period ( 戦国時代 ), arguing that the Isolation of Japan did more harm than good.

Pro will argue that the isolationist policies did more good for Japan than harm.

Debate option #2:

Military superiority of the west ( from the 10th to the 14th Century)

Pro: Will argue in favor of Western military weaponry,strategy and engineering.
Con: Will argue for Eastern superiority in the same.

Debate option #3:

International banking cartels and European powers played a roll in instigating the American Civil war.

Pro : will argue in favor of evidence that the European powers fanned the flames that caused the divisions which ultimately lead to the civil war and further that their roll was significant ( but not primary.)

con: will argue against the evidence of European involvement or argue that the roll of European banking interests and national powers did not make a significant impact on the course of history.
Posted by lightingbolt50 2 years ago
Senge, really? I love the cold war too but I thought it seemed like too much of a cliche. Sure I can debate you, though I don't know on what. I would like to do one of the lesser known parts of it Like the Afghanistan proxy war though I don't know too much about it either. I don't want to cop out with this.
Posted by NightofTheLivingCats 2 years ago
Still doing this?
Posted by Buggie111 2 years ago
This would be shorter and heavy on hypotheticals, but I'd argue that Europe would have been better off with the Schlieffen Plan succeeding.
Posted by UnderStated 2 years ago
With the current depression and rising extremist and fascist views in Europe, Does history repeat itself?
Using historical examples, Is socialism an inherently bad ideology?
Posted by sengejuri 2 years ago
wildcat - what exactly do you want to debate in relation to bio weapons? What is your specific stance?
lightningbolt - I would love to do a cold war debat! Any interesting topics you can think of?
TheOpposition - I am fascinated by WWI and would be interested in your debate. Can you list your assumptions and definition of bad?
Posted by Ozzyhead 2 years ago
As a student studying to be a history teacher, I would love to debate you on a historical topic. I believe at the time, the civil war was necessary
I believe the revolutionary war was liberal in nature
I would argue that adding the In God We Trust on our currency, as well as Under God was and still is unconstitutional
I believe that the nuclear bomb on Japan was necessary (just throwing it out there)
I believe many accounts of any holy text about history are fabricated stories
I do not accept accounts of UFO sightings as completely true
I believe that Nikola Tesla was a better inventor, and contributed more to technology than Thomas Edison
I believe Ozzy Osbourne was not responsible for any suicide
I believe morality is objective
I believe Adolf Hitler did have a mental disorder
Posted by TheOpposition 2 years ago
Hi, I'd be interested in debating you. I need to practice against someone who won't forfeit, and you have a good record so far. Here's what I propose (it's a fair debate with good points for both sides): THBT the German Schlieffen Plan of WWI was a bad plan.
Posted by yomama12 2 years ago
I think the debate should be that Kennedy was a better President than Abe Lincoln
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Relativist 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession. + Uncontested arguments