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-   -   Was militarily conquering the world before the 20th century ever possible (http://historum.com/war-military-history/96341-militarily-conquering-world-before-20th-century-ever-possible.html)

Futurist October 22nd, 2015 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Mad Mummer (Post 2339668)
As stated above, every general of renown has dreamed of conquering it all, but would it ever have been possible? And if so, could a single empire ever have achieved and maintained a beurocracy to manage so much territory and so many populations?

The entire world? If so, then No, for logistical reasons.

Guaporense October 22nd, 2015 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam-Nary (Post 2339698)
By contrast, the Romans and Chinese had lots of time to conquer and rule over the territories they ruled over, which in pure theory would give them a chance to conquer the world. That said... both would need to maintain both effective and at least competent political leadership while executing their conquests over centuries... And in history, the lack of this is one of the main reasons the Roman Empire ultimately fell.

Roman conquered the whole world. That's how they saw their empire. Outside was only barbarian wastelands. It was true, in many senses, actually.

China as well, was a world system that was unified. Outside of China they only had substantial contact with the barbarians from the North.

Guaporense October 22nd, 2015 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Mad Mummer (Post 2339668)
As stated above, every general of renown has dreamed of conquering it all, but would it ever have been possible? And if so, could a single empire ever have achieved and maintained a beurocracy to manage so much territory and so many populations?

Napoleon almost did it. If he defeated Russia and England, his empire would have covered 80% of the world's surface including all the oceans. Though what would have probably happened would be a rebellion of the colonies and them Napoleonic Europe would need to worry about sending massive expeditions outside of Europe. I don't know how large armies such as those could be fielded, because of logistical constraints.

Guaporense October 22nd, 2015 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by constantine (Post 2339765)
No, and it's likely no longer possible due to nuclear weapons. For a brief period after WWII it might have been at least theoretically possible for the US to do so, but not since the Russians got the fusion bomb. Maybe it will be someday again if missile defence advances enough to limit the deployment of nuclear weapons.

I don't think the US could have conquered Europe circa 1950. The Red Army was larger and the USSR already had enough industrial capacity to equip it decently:

In 1945, when WW2 ended, the US had 60 divisions in Europe, the USSR had the equivalent manpower of 260 American divisions. About 3 times as many tanks and 5 times the artillery pieces. I think that the USSR could easily annihilate the US forces in Europe in a matter of weeks in mid 1945.

Some say the atomic bomb explosions in Japan was more of a deterrent for Stalin to not try that actually.

Sam-Nary October 22nd, 2015 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guaporense (Post 2341869)
Roman conquered the whole world. That's how they saw their empire. Outside was only barbarian wastelands. It was true, in many senses, actually.

China as well, was a world system that was unified. Outside of China they only had substantial contact with the barbarians from the North.

They conquered what they saw as the world, but that does not mean they conquered the geographical world. In fact Rome and Han China were aware of the existence of the other as they had exchanged ambassadors... or had some adventurer visiting the other. Not to mention that the Romans also likely knew of the existence of places like India and so on...

They may not of have seen it as "world," but that doesn't mean when asking a question over whether or not someone could have conquered the world that we need to use specific definitions of "the world" when it's fairly clear that the question is asking about global conquest...

Tuthmosis III October 22nd, 2015 08:48 PM

No.
It only became possible after 1959 when RISK came out.

Futurist October 22nd, 2015 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guaporense (Post 2341871)
Napoleon almost did it. If he defeated Russia and England, his empire would have covered 80% of the world's surface including all the oceans. Though what would have probably happened would be a rebellion of the colonies and them Napoleonic Europe would need to worry about sending massive expeditions outside of Europe. I don't know how large armies such as those could be fielded, because of logistical constraints.

I don't think that Napoleon could have ever actually defeated and conquered Russia, though.

starman October 23rd, 2015 04:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam-Nary (Post 2341882)
They conquered what they saw as the world, but that does not mean they conquered the geographical world.

Lol, no way.

Quote:

In fact Rome and Han China were aware of the existence of the other as they had exchanged ambassadors... or had some adventurer visiting the other.
The Chinese knew of Rome, which they called Ta Chi'in, and in 166 CE merchants reached Lo-Yang, the eastern Han capital, claiming to have come from Ta Chi'In's emperor (Marcus Aurelius).
There's no way ancient Rome or China could've conquered the world. Rome didn't even know about the existence of half of it, the New World. And they couldn't even attempt to conquer much beyond what they had. Hadrian abandoned Trajan's conquests in the Near East because the line of communication was too long.
Conceivably the US could've conquered the world in WWI or WWII had it been machiavellian. Let the europeans beat one another to a pulp and then jump in to overrun them all.:laugh: It could've acted like Persia during the wars among hellenic states--support some city state which opposed the strongest, and then another, to gradually wear them all down, before taking them over.
I don't think nuclear weapons necessarily preclude conquest. The reich went down to defeat without using the deadly nerve gas at its disposal.

Poly October 23rd, 2015 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Mad Mummer (Post 2339668)
As stated above, every general of renown has dreamed of conquering it all, but would it ever have been possible? And if so, could a single empire ever have achieved and maintained a beurocracy to manage so much territory and so many populations?

No

And further more it's still not possible

Although it's true that since the 1950's it's possible to destroy the whole world

Guaporense October 23rd, 2015 11:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam-Nary (Post 2341882)
They conquered what they saw as the world, but that does not mean they conquered the geographical world. In fact Rome and Han China were aware of the existence of the other as they had exchanged ambassadors... or had some adventurer visiting the other. Not to mention that the Romans also likely knew of the existence of places like India and so on...

They may not of have seen it as "world," but that doesn't mean when asking a question over whether or not someone could have conquered the world that we need to use specific definitions of "the world" when it's fairly clear that the question is asking about global conquest...

The Romans regarded the Chinese and Indian civilizations as different worlds. The world known to the Romans as being the Roman world was the Mediterranean and that world was under Roman hegemony since 200 bc:

“There can surely be nobody so petty or so apathetic in his outlook that he has no desire to discover by what means and under what system of government the Romans succeeded in less than fifty-three years in bringing under their rule almost the whole of the inhabited world, an achievement which is without parallel in human history.” (Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire, Book I).

Polybius didn't know about China and he probably regarded India as some small thing like Syria or Lusitania. Well, India is shown pretty small in that 4th cemtury Roman road map. The rest was under Roman rule by 160 bc: Italy, Sicily, North Africa, Iberia, Southern Gaul, Greece, Asia Minor, all Seleucid lands to the east were under Roman rule as Seleucid became Rome's vassal state by the early 2nd century:

http://iranpoliticsclub.net/maps/ima...20BC%20Map.jpg

All the blue lands were under Roman rule after Magnesia as vassals. Hence, indirectly Rome actually managed to conquer the Iranian plateau.

Anyway, in the ancient world the world was divided into several distinct world systems that became unified after 1500 AD. Rome conquered it's own world system.

In 500 years we might have colonies spread around the stars and the world then will be much larger than ours with Earth being just a region of it.


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