Macedonia was subject to two growth spurts during its time period, thanks to two men who held power. Prior to these two men, Macedonia was a tiny kingdom which was behind Athens and Sparta. Macedonia lacked military strength, innovation, or leadership. King Phillip II came into power in 359 BCE, and with him came the updated military that gave Macedonia the backbone that it needed in order to not only protect herself, but it also gave Macedonia the strength to conduct a conquest which would expand the borders of this ancient power. Phillip II introduced numerous military innovations that would increase the productivity of the ground fighter. Sarissa spears, lighter armor, torsion, were all technological advances that were shown to improve not only the individual soldier, but would increase the efficiency of the unit as a whole. Phillip II was also a pioneer in the use of cavalry to increase the mobility of soldiers.
Technological and military advances provided by Phillip II were necessary for the expansion of Macedonia. Phillip II laid the groundwork for his son, Alexander the Great to take this strong, experienced military into the conquest of Persia. He invaded Persia in 334 BCE. Over the course of 10 years, and the cat and mouse chase between him and Persian king Darius III, Alexander had conquered the strongest nation in Asia. By this point, Macedonia has reached its prime of a powerful nation. While Alexander led a great conquest into Persia, he would not have been able to conduct this conquest without the foundation that was laid by Phillip II. It was him who built the military, and honed its edge into a conquestable force.
Macedonia is a prime example of a nation who developed power over the course of a generation, and then exploited that growth in the next generation to great success. Not many examples are shown in modern history in which a country goes from being a lackluster, powerless country to becoming a superpower. If one were to look at a graph that would show the magnitude of a country’s power versus time, the line would either remain stagnant, or have a very slight slope upwards or downwards based on the course of the country’s international influence. As time went on, there were many more variables that developed that must have been considered in determining a country’s power. In Macedonia, it had a very steep slope in the years between 359 and 323 BCE, Macedonia’s power slope is rather steep.
In the years prior to World War II, the United States was in a time of depression, which showed some of the lowest rates of employment in the nation’s history. It’s military had not made major developments to better itself, and was being outpaced by the powers of Germany and Japan. This was a major lowpoint in the US. When Japan struck on Pearl Harbor in 1941, it threw the United States into WWII. WWII placed demands on the United States to build a strong military, with the power and technological innovation to maintain and win a war in the oceans, skies, and grounds of the enemy’s regime. The United States met these demands, and was able to win the war. Following the war, the United States was recognized as a national millitary powerhouse, and has lived up to that ever since. Consistent technological development, mass production capability, and growth of military leadership have had exponential growth since WWII. The American military today is a clear result of the potential to grow and adapt shown in WWII.
- Jackson Mitchell
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