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The Second Crusade (The Crusades)

The Second Crusade (1145-1149) was the second crusade summoned by the Pope to defeat the Muslims who were still threatening to retake the Holy Lands. The fall of the County of Edessa the previous year marked the need for more military reinforcements so the Pope, along with many of the Christian rulers, deemed a crusade necessary.

Within months, large armies from England, France, Germany and other smaller nations marched to Constantinople. These armies were led by kings for the first time, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Upon reaching Constantinople, they planned the upcoming invasion. They would cross to Anatolia and destroy the Turkish armies that had been spotted the previous year. Their objectives were also to secure the pilgrim pass, recover the County of Edessa and provide reinforcements to Jerusalem which was in great danger as most knights had perished since the First Crusade (1095-1099).

There were two big armies led by kings and a few smaller independent armies that were scattered throughout the Mediterranean. Upon reaching Anatolia, both kings were soundly defeated separately giving the Turks a victory they badly needed. The Second Crusade was a failure, despite some success in the Mediterranean namely the acquisition of Lisbon and other small settlements.

The Second Crusade was a failure due to many reasons. First, there was really no communication between the two kings. While Conrad marched first to attack Iconium, the Seljuk Turks capital, the French stayed behind and attacked another target. This allowed the Turks to quickly march from one place to another without being overwhelmed. Conrad was defeated and almost killed. The French, on the other hand, lasted longer but they were ultimately routed and their army almost destroyed.

The Second Crusade had a devastating effect in Europe and was the first real sign of the decay of the Crusaders States in the Middle East. After their defeat, Jerusalem was weakly protected, but this only resulted in the call for the Third Crusade. However, such an humiliating defeat had a negative effect in Europe apparent in its economy, lack of recruits and internal turmoil.

Another negative effect was that the Egyptians were now ruled by Saladin. He successfully united Syria and Egypt completely surrounding the Crusaders; the main reason of their union was a common enemy: The Christians.

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