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Old 12-16-2012   #21
TheCurmudgeon
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One of the most interesting surrenders of a democratic country was the surrender of Czechoslovakia prior to WW2. It was probably the greatest strategic air war success ever, for the mere threat of bombarding Prague (people thought more of gas than fire in such a context prior to 1940) was pushing the Czechoslovak leader to cave in.
First, thanks for the example. I will research it as my example. Do you have any work to recommend on the conflict?

I am particulalry interested in the nature and doctrine of the occupying force and the government after the surrender?

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This example fits my description of hopelessness of resistance being influential; the Czechs were not beaten in the field at all.
(Their army was actually very respectable. It would have been wise if they had at least sabotaged their guns and tanks instead of surrendering them and the plans intact. The equipment was worth a German tank division and multiple infantry divisions, a much larger haul than in Austria. It's not a stretch to claim that Czech pre-surrender hardware was necessary for the 1940 campaign in France.)
Fascinating. The German's were much more clever at Scara Brae.
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Old 12-17-2012   #22
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Default Do Nations really surrender?

Fuchs' example of Czechoslovakia made me think of the Polish forces' surrender in 1939. I think Poland as a nation never officially surrendered. In 1940, France, as I remember the case, did not actually surrender either. An armistice was signed by General Huntziger, perhaps on behalf of the French Government, but no peace treaty was ever signed.

So perhaps a first step in the process would be to decide what counts as surrender. I think we have a fairly clear case of what that means when military forces surrender--they lay down arms and agree to stop fighting as an armed force, usually for a specified period of time.

Nations, on the other hand, do not surrender in the same way. I submit the people of the occupied parts of the the nation either acquiesce in the process of being absorbed by their conquerors (or at least being detached from the rule of their former government) or accept their government's agreement not to do whatever it was that caused their opponents to start fighting with them in the first place. I am not sure that this would be surrender in the same sense that an army surrenders though. Just as the "contracts" by which governments are established/receive their legitimacy seem to be somewhat mythical, I think national surrenders as datable events are equally chimerical.
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Old 12-17-2012   #23
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Default Surrender and governance

Poland never did surrender, the government and military command fled into Rumania and after Dunkirk set up in London, as the Polish Government in Exile; very little detail on:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History...%E2%80%931945)

Several other countries followed a similar route: Norway, Netherlands and France (albeit with two governments, Free French and Vichy)

A more interesting example is Denmark, which had limited sovereignty 1940 till 1943, its king stayed put and numbers fought for Germany:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_Denmark

In all my history reading I have never seen anything in detail about what happened to Czechoslovakia, the focus has been on the Munich Agreement. We do have one Czech member, maybe he will comment.
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Old 12-17-2012   #24
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I have dim recollections of a book read long ago, The White Flag Principle: How to Lose a War (and Why) that might bear reading as part of the research for this project.

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Nearly 40 years ago, contemplating a dogfight between Israeli and Syrian jets, Shimon Tzabar got to thinking about how war works. The result is a crystal-clear, at times funny inversion of such classics as Sun-Tzuís The Art of War. Readers find the facts on why often ó almost always, in major conflicts throughout history ó victory is not all itís cracked up to be. Practical advice is offered as well, such as what to do if youíre in danger of winning, and how to surrender in the midst of a firefight.
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Old 12-18-2012   #25
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Default Thanks for the fish ...

It appears that most of the examples come from the early days of WWII in Europe. What is also clear is that there was more often than not, no surrender. No political entity handed the country over to the new landlords. In some cases no actual military exchange was required to force the old political entity to fold up shop and move on. Being the pragmatists democratic regimes are supposed to be, they forgo the fight when the odds are not in their favor in order to survive to fight another day. They hold the blood of the people in higher regard than a dictator who will throw every last child into the fight in order to survive politically. Perhaps that is what democracies do when faced with a fight that is not stacked in their favor.

From the American perspective this is interesting in-and-of itself. We have built an Army designed to fight and destroy something. We have Brigade COMBAT teams. We have no comparable formation to administer the area after hostilities end (what I remember being the old ASG back in the days when there was a forward line of troops and a rear area). But that is not where I wanted to go with this. Besides, we do not fight other democracies (if you believe that sort of thing)

I think I may have to leave this one alone. What I thought I would find was situations where the people, being the actual "power" behind the government, would not surrender until they were personally compelled to by an occupying force. No political leader could compel them to give in. No king could hand over the territory with its serfs to another lord. They would only surrender where they saw no advantage in pressing the fight on a very personal level. This meant that it would take a larger occupying force willing to commit atrocities to be able to compel the people that survival was more important than liberty. Perhaps this willingness to fight for your own liberty only exists in the situations where there is a real possibility of pressing the fight to the end. Survival takes precedence over liberty - Patrick Henry be damned. Perhaps there is no difference at all.
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Old 12-18-2012   #26
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I have dim recollections of a book read long ago, The White Flag Principle: How to Lose a War (and Why) that might bear reading as part of the research for this project.
Not easy to find but I just ordered it on Amazon. Whether I use it or not, it will make interesting reading.
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Old 12-18-2012   #27
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I remember I lost interest after a couple pages.
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Old 12-18-2012   #28
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I think I may have to leave this one alone. What I thought I would find was situations where the people, being the actual "power" behind the government, would not surrender until they were personally compelled to by an occupying force. No political leader could compel them to give in. No king could hand over the territory with its serfs to another lord. They would only surrender where they saw no advantage in pressing the fight on a very personal level. This meant that it would take a larger occupying force willing to commit atrocities to be able to compel the people that survival was more important than liberty. Perhaps this willingness to fight for your own liberty only exists in the situations where there is a real possibility of pressing the fight to the end. Survival takes precedence over liberty - Patrick Henry be damned. Perhaps there is no difference at all.
Survival may take precedence over liberty in most cases, but strong religious convictions may trump survival at times. Besides this scene from The Life of Brian, two examples come to mind. But, neither fits the original proposition as I understood it. The two examples are the Jewish Revolt against Rome by the Zealots, and others, (66-70 AD) with the famous last stand at Masada, and the subsequent revolt led by Bar Kochba (132-135 AD). Perhaps some of the 7th-12th Century campaigning by the native population against Byzantines, Moslems and Mongols of various varieties that occurred in the historical lands of what is now NE Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan might also count as a refusal to quit regardless of what the central authority did. However, again, this does not really fit the original scenario. The fighting was conducted by monarchies or aristocracies, and, as with the Jewish Revolts, the reasons for fighting tended to be related to religious differences or to oppressive taxation by a conqueror.
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Old 12-19-2012   #29
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Default How would [I]I cite The Life of Brian[I]?

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Survival may take precedence over liberty in most cases, but strong religious convictions may trump survival at times. Besides this scene from The Life of Brian, two examples come to mind. But, neither fits the original proposition as I understood it. The two examples are the Jewish Revolt against Rome by the Zealots, and others, (66-70 AD) with the famous last stand at Masada, and the subsequent revolt led by Bar Kochba (132-135 AD). Perhaps some of the 7th-12th Century campaigning by the native population against Byzantines, Moslems and Mongols of various varieties that occurred in the historical lands of what is now NE Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan might also count as a refusal to quit regardless of what the central authority did. However, again, this does not really fit the original scenario. The fighting was conducted by monarchies or aristocracies, and, as with the Jewish Revolts, the reasons for fighting tended to be related to religious differences or to oppressive taxation by a conqueror.
Actually, they fit very neatly into the scenario, but religion is an interesting hybrid of identity and something else that I haven't quite figured out yet. In a society built on common identity with loyalty to a single leader (or ideology) then death of combatants and even civilians is easier to tolerate as long as the group and its leader survive. It is not about the individual, it is about the group.
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Old 12-20-2012   #30
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Default "If I can't have it no one can"

My last post requires some clarification. Since I am lazy I am going to cut and past in a section from something else I am working on in order to make it clear. In this section I am introducing Weber's ideal types of legitimate authority. I only extract the first two sine the third is not relevant to the discussion.

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"Max Weber – Three types. There are multiple types of political legitimacy. Perhaps the best known is Max Weber’s three pure types of legitimate authority. These are traditional, legal-rational, and charismatic. Traditional is legitimacy built on adherence to accepted principles and personal ownership of the public property. An example of traditional legitimacy is the monarchy. The oldest son of the dead king becomes the new king. That is the way it has always been done. That is all the justification that is needed for the oldest son to take the throne and be accepted by the people as their leader. More precisely, there is no other person with a greater claim on the throne than the oldest son. Anyone else is illegitimate. In addition the new king inherits all the property of the kingdom, which is viewed as privately held by the monarch. Loyalty is owed personally to the king and the king often decides whom his ministers are.

Legal-rational legitimacy is built on more bureaucratic ideals. People create political systems and methods of administration to achieve specific goals. Once these systems are created, and as long as they continue to perform their desired function, they are legitimate. There is also a distinction between who owns government property and who controls it as part of their public duties. The bureaucrat never has personal ownership of the money, land or equipment he may use to accomplish his governmental duties. He cannot bequeath his position to anyone and loyalty is not owed to the person but to the position he holds. There is a clear line between his public duty and his private life."
Loosely speaking, traditional legitimacy is associated with autocratic systems while legal-rational legitimacy is associated with democratic systems. So if the autocratic (or theocratic) leader sees the country as his personal possession he is more likely to fight till the end and, when frustrated, do everything he can to stop his enemy from ending up with the prize. "If I can't have it no one can". A democratic leader has no personal connection with the country (other than loyalty to it). He can cut his losses and run. It is also the nature of a democracy that power transfers on a regular basis. Trying to maintain it till death is not in the nature of the political system.

This could be an explanation for why there would not appear to be a "surrender" in the WWII cases as well as why others will destroy everything rather than lose.

This does not explain why religious zealots appear more willing to give their life for the cause. That is a question that has to be looked at from the individual level. But at the system level, some commonality in the way things play out may be possible.
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