How many troops should it take to dominate a country?

Americans seem to be constantly debating the question of how many troops it should take to dominate Iraq.  On the JetBlue flight out here to Long Beach, I read the November 28, 2005 New Yorker magazine review of Tony Judt’s Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945:

Judt notes that France, a country with a population of some forty million, was administered by fifteen hundred Nazis, plus six thousand German policemen. … Soon after Germany was defeated, a Myth of Resistance sprang up in the former occupied countries of Western Europe and for many years it successfully obscured the truth about wartime life.  In Austria (a country that supplied half of all concentration-camp guards), and even in Germany, people managed to convince themselves that they, too, had been Hitler’s victims.  In a poll conducted in 1951, only five per ent of West Germans said that they felt guilty about what happened to the Jews; twenty-one percent thought that the Jews were “partly responsible” for their fate.

So the Germans were able to do a somewhat similar job with 7500 people.

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David McCullough’s John Adams

Items from David McCullough’s John Adams….

p149.  “Really there ought not to be a state, a city, a promontory, a river, a harbor, an inlet or a mountain in all America, but what should be intimately known to every youth who has any pretensions to a liberal education.” [1776]

p170.  “I believe there is no one principle which predominates in human nature so much in every stage of life, from the cradle to the grave, in males and females, old and young, black and white, rich and poor, high and low, as this passion for superiority.” [1777]

p297.  Beyond Chatham, [Abigail Adams and her daughter Nabby] rolled with all possible speed to pass before dark the Black Heath [in England, 1784], dreaded for its lurking highwaymen.  Fear of the road, the threat of robbery or worse at the hands of highwaymen, was something foreign to Americans.  At home it was not uncommon even for women to travel alone feeling perfectly safe.

p352-354.  In 1785, two American ships were seized by Algerian pirates.  Twenty-one American sailors were taken captive and forced into slave labor.  A war between Christian and Christian was mild, prisoners were treated with humanity; but, warned His Excellency [Abdrahaman, envoy of the Sultan of Tripoli, seeking an annual tribute from the U.S.]

p380.  He was not so concerned about a President staying long in office, Adams said, as he was about too frequent elections, which often brought out the worst in people…

p421.  he wrote again of the natural “passion for distinction” in all men and women — “whether they be old or young, rich or poor, high or low, wise or foolish, ignorant or learned, every individual is seen to be strongly actuated by a desired to be seen, heard, talked of, approved and respected.” [1789]

p570.  In the year prior to March 4, letters to President Adams numbered in the thousands; in the year that followed, citizen Adams received fewer than a hundred. [1801]

p573.  In addition, since the return from Washington, Abigail had acquired a Newfoundland puppy, which she named Juno. [1801]

p629.  He had read Cicero’s essay on growing old gracefully, De Senectutel, for seventy years.

p631.  In particular, [Adams] wanted religious freedom [in Massachusetts] for Jews.  [1823]

p639.  “No man who ever held the office of President would congratulate a friend on obtaining it.” [1824; when his son John Quincy Adams won election as the sixth president of the U.S.]

p647.  Reminder that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence.

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