Does Conquest Pay?

Does Conquest Pay?: The Exploitation of Occupied Industrial Societies

Peter Liberman
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 262
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  • Book Info
    Does Conquest Pay?
    Book Description:

    Can foreign invaders successfully exploit industrial economies? Since control over economic resources is a key source of power, the answer affects the likelihood of aggression and how strenuously states should counter it. The resurgence of nationalism has led many policymakers and scholars to doubt that conquest still pays. But, until now, the "cumulativity" of industrial resources has never been subjected to systematic analysis.

    Does Conquest Pay?demonstrates that expansion can, in fact, provide rewards to aggressor nations. Peter Liberman argues that invaders can exploit industrial societies for short periods of time and can maintain control and economic performance over the long term. This is because modern societies are uniquely vulnerable to coercion and repression. Hence, by wielding a gun in one hand and offering food with the other, determined conquerors can compel collaboration and suppress resistance. Liberman's argument is supported by several historical case studies: Germany's capture of Belgium and Luxembourg during World War I and of nearly all of Europe during World War II; France's seizure of the Ruhr in 1923-24; the Japanese Empire during 1910-45; and Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe in 1945-89.

    Does Conquest Pay?suggests that the international system is more war-prone than many optimists claim. Liberman's findings also contribute to debates about the stability of empires and other authoritarian regimes, the effectiveness of national resistance strategies, and the sources of rebellious collective action.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2174-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Does Conquest Pay?
    (pp. 3-17)

    Does conquest pay in the modern era? Can invading powers mobilize the economic resources of occupied industrial societies? Or do nationalistic societies frustrate invaders by imposing high costs and denying economic gains? What factors influence the size of imperial profit margins, and why? These questions are the subject of enduring disagreement among policymakers, analysts, and scholars. Many have found it selfevident that industrial nations are potentially cumulative or transferable economic resources. Others have believed just as firmly that the conquest of modern societies is economically futile. These diametrically opposite opinions lie at the root of longstanding debates in foreign policy...

  6. CHAPTER 2 When Does Conquest Pay?
    (pp. 18-35)

    Understanding why and under what conditions conquest pays requires a theory about the sources of resistance and collaboration. This is because the behavior of conquered peoples greatly influences the revenues and collection costs of empire. Resistance—whether by whole nations, administrative agencies, political parties, unions, and businesses, or by individual workers, technicians, scientists, bureaucrats, and all other citizens—reduces revenues and imposes costs. But if a conquered nation collaborates fully with the invader, then it can be taxed and mobilized as efficiently as a loyal ally or province, and the cumulativity of resources will be 100 percent.

    Resistance can reduce...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Nazi-Occupied Western Europe, 1940–1944
    (pp. 36-68)

    In the space of three short years, from 1938 through 1941, Hitler conquered nearly all of Europe. The course of this expansion began with the annexation of Austria in March 1938 and of the Czech Sudetenland after Munich. Hitler invaded the Czech rump of Bohemia-Moravia in March 1939, attacked Poland in September, and seized Denmark and Norway in April 1940. Then, in a victory that stunned the world, the German Army swept into the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France in May, losing fewer than one hundred thousand men.¹ Yugoslavia and Greece were seized in the spring of 1941; in June,...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Belgium and Luxembourg, 1914–1918
    (pp. 69-86)

    By the time Germany’s 1914 offensive against France stalled at the battle of the Marne, the German Army had occupied Belgium, northern France, and Luxembourg. Over the next four years, Germany attempted to mobilize these relatively industrialized regions for its draining struggle against the Allies. The military call-up and flight from the front at the outbreak of the war stripped northern France of its male labor force and thus hamstrung its wartime economic potential.¹ But Belgium and Luxembourg provide useful test cases of the profitability of conquest.²

    Occupied Belgium was at best marginally profitable for Germany. On one hand, the...

  9. CHAPTER 5 The Ruhr-Rhineland, 1923–1924
    (pp. 87-98)

    Reparation, like imperial tribute, consists of economic resources extorted from vanquished nations. The main difference is that reparations are justified by victors, fairly or unfairly, as legitimate and finite compensation for war damages and costs caused by criminal aggression. But few defeated nations are so burdened by war guilt that they happily surrender the demanded sums. Most must be militarily occupied or threatened for reparations to be extracted. Since cases of forced reparations extraction are analogous to other cases of conquest and economic mobilization, they add to our knowledge about the profitability of conquest.

    Over the course of 1923 and...

  10. CHAPTER 6 The Japanese Empire, 1910–1945
    (pp. 99-119)

    The Japanese Empire differs from previously analyzed episodes of conquest in both duration and level of development. Japan built it up over a half century by conquering and then developing backward, agrarian societies. When first seized—Taiwan in 1895, Korea in 1905, and Manchuria in 1931—they contained virtually no industrial development. If resources were to be mobilized from these conquered regions, they first had to be developed. But Japan managed to create an economically booming and politically submissive empire, and thus greatly increased the economic resources available for wartime mobilization. Although further expansion, into China and Southeast Asia, ultimately...

  11. CHAPTER 7 The Soviet Empire, 1945–1989
    (pp. 120-145)

    By the time the smoke cleared at the end of the Second World War, Stalin’s Red Army had nearly restored Soviet borders to czarist dimensions and had occupied Eastern Europe as well. Installing loyal communist regimes and backing them with threats of force, the Soviet Union assumed informal control over the region Mackinder once called the “pivot of history.” Because the cold war stayed “cold,” Eastern Europe was never mobilized for war. But the Soviet Union for several years sought to extract reparations, and throughout the cold war wanted to maintain control and cultivate industrial growth there. Thus Eastern Europe...

  12. CHAPTER 8 The Spoils of Conquest
    (pp. 146-158)

    This book began by identifying the implications of the cumulativity of industrial resources for international politics. A lack of systematic research on this subject has resulted in longstanding theoretical and foreign-policy debates that can be traced to contrary assumptions about whether conquest pays. Drawing from literatures on international coercion and domestic collective action, I identified sources of collaboration and resistance that might affect the size of imperial profit margins.

    To briefly summarize, I argued that modernization increases the surplus states create while decreasing the costs of extracting that surplus. This is because the division of labor within modern societies makes...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 159-208)
  14. Works Cited
    (pp. 209-242)
  15. Index
    (pp. 243-250)