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The Battle of Vienna was the high watermark for both Turks and Poles: historian

Jan Darasz, historian and’s editor, talked about the momentous battle of Vienna, which took place in 1683 and changed the course of Europe.

As Mr Darasz explains, the battle of Vienna was the high watermark of the Turkish expansion in Eastern Europe. The Ottomans had their eyes on controlling the region in order to dominate trade routes.

Poland, which has been struggling against the Turks itself, especially for the control of the Ukrainian lands, decided to come to the rescue of Emperor Leopold and together with other allied armies came to relieve Vienna, which was on the verge of falling into the Ottoman’s hands.

Paradoxically for Poland, while the rout at Vienna began the long period of the decline of the Ottoman Empire, it also was also the beginning of the decline of the Commonwealth. Poland-Lithuania would never be as powerful as it was in 1683, and its power declined while Austria’s power grew. And less than a hundred years later, Austria was one of the powers that participated in the Partitions of Poland.

Other issues discussed by Mr Darasz: what determined the Polish and allied victory in the battle; what was the role of the famed winged hussars on the battlefield; is Europe capable of uniting against danger like that of the Ottoman Turks again; and why the Austrians were reluctant to honour the saviour of their capital with a monument?

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