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Unfortunately, the first Crusades were not really distinguished by any real level of idealism: Pope Urban II knew that a crusade would serve to reunite Christendom, bolster the papacy, and perhaps bring the East under his control.When the first Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099, they massacred the population regardless of whether they were Muslims, Jews or Christians.The People's Crusade was really part of the First Crusade. The peasant population that formed the basis of People's Crusade had been afflicted by drought, famine, and plague for many years before 1096, and some of them seem to have envisaged the crusade as an escape from these hardships - a practical reason, but hardly idealism.The German Crusade of 1096 is that part of the First Crusade in which peasant crusaders, mostly from Germany, attacked European Jews. Many people wondered why they should travel thousands of miles to fight non-believers when there were already non-believers closer to home. It is also likely that the crusaders were motivated by a need for money. The only evidence here for idealism is among the authorities and religious leaders who attempted to shelter their Jewish subjects.

Certainly the later Crusades were at least as opportunistic as the first. More importantly, they achieved little and resulted in the eventual abandonment of the Holy Land by Christian Knights.

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Q: Describe the degeneration of the idealism of the first Crusades into the blatant opportunism of the later Crusades?
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Describe the degeneration of the idealism of the first crusade into the blatant opportunism of the later crusade?

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