Culture and religion have always been a contributing factor in the mass control of humankind. Although, more so of the latter. I'm currently writing a novel wherein a particular nation arises with such a particular ambition of world domination. Said world is of course fictional but expectedly incorporates many aspects of our non-fictional world. During the era of Genghis Khan, fear was the outstanding reason for a lack of rebellion of several vassals, conquered kingdoms alike. Where a certain portion of a city/town's population was executed. Adding to this was the culture of rape perpetrated by the Mongolian army upon seize. Generally the invasion of any land would stir resent in their citizens. For world domination, I feel stirring fear in conquered states or vassals as a measure of control will only get so far. Napoleon's forces were disadvantaged because of a quite questionable military culture. The British empire, I would say was the most successful at world domination, used language and religion to secure their control. However, the liberties the British allowed their conquered states became a bite too large to swallow. The talk of independence began and despite onset resistance, the British had realized their mistake. Alas! My question resurfaces, will a combination of fear, religion (although can be an aspect of fear - condemnation of sinners to hell in Christianity), and culture (military and/or otherwise) be the best measure of control for the ambition of world domination? Or is there any other measure that will be more effective?
Or is there any other measure that will be more effective?
Lots of methods work for a while.
For really getting rid of all chance of rebellion Moses and after him Joshua of the Israelite's had the most thorough method.
They just depopulated whole regions by exterminating the entire populations living there. Including regions they had no intention of occupying but didn't want a hostile population in to make future trouble. They even exterminated an ally of theirs.
Ghengis did similar things but his agenda was different so many cities survived as they were necessary. The Israelites didn't, surrendering didn't make a difference, they were not interested in slaves or anything else.
Let's let Britain itself answer this one... in film.
Brian: People, we should be struggling together!
People's Front of Judea fighter: (wrestling with a Judean People's Front fighter) We are!
(From Monty Python's Life of Brian.)
Rebels agree that they don't like the central government, but they don't necessarily agree on anything else. Political, religious, ethnic, or economic tensions will tend to split rebels into many different groups, and if they don't, cliques arising around charismatic (competing) leaders can do the trick. See also: the splits, divisions, factions, mergers, etc. etc. of the Communist parties of any given Western nation in the last 100 years.
And, of course, if the rebels aren't struggling together enough for the empire's sake, it can always stir the pot. Loosen the reins so people forget how bad the empire is supposed to be. Give them some amenities and luxuries ("but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order...") and some political power to squabble over. Maybe favorable treatment towards one group will make others wonder if they've sold out. Maybe the promise of favorable treatment gets them to actually sell out. If it's still too quiet, send in the secret police as agent provocateurs to stir up trouble.
To be sure, this method has its drawbacks (it's hard to sell "here, have some political power and expensive luxuries, oh, and we'd like a 50% tax hike and new army levies" all at once), but combined with keeping a judicious eye on the state of affairs in different regions, you can do wonders to diminish the rebels' effectiveness and discredit them in the eyes of the public.