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So, this race of Wussname are a peaceful people. Each and everyone of them possess this weird ability of sympathy that allows them synchronize their emotions and share their knowledge with other each within a short range of a hundred meters or so. Their warriors are not as numerous as mine. At their best, I still outnumber them four to one. Their physical prowess and weaponry are about the same as mine. But, somehow, they have effectively refused to submit and resisted my forces.

The thing is, I have never wanted to conquer them. I only like to claim those rich mines of Unobtainium deep inside their territory. And the idiots refused all attempts at negotiation, bribery or infiltration. And they called me evil while I only want those resources to build more advanced armies and plunder other countries.

So, how would I effectively destroy these people. I would prefer keeping them alive to torture them later, but extermination is fine too.

Notes: My army consists of mostly medieval infantry, about a tenth is cavalry, a tenth have cannons. I also have a hundred of Dragon knights but they are expensive and I would prefer to keep them for another day, since I heard there is another country that have a lot of flying fighting bird thingies.

Edit1: My army outnumbers them, but but their warriors are significantly more skilled since they can share fighting knowledge and experience. I estimated that one of them could potentially kill 2.7 of mine. But I don't want to mobilize all of mine just to kill them, because there are bigger Bads behind my back. I need to defend my border too.

Since the beginning, they refused all my attempts at infiltration covert or not (they can spot my spies right away). They said out right that 'NO deals with the Devil!'

Half of my vanguard are torturers, killing and torturing as they go. What they do, even I feel it creepy sometimes, and yet it did not break the psychic freaks. It enraged them further, boosted their damage. Beside, the reports said they have squads of specialized healers to soothe the warriors and correct the minds of broken men I released.

Edit 2: Since everybody seem to forget that the enemy is smart and have a lot of advantages over my forces. I'll list all the reasons (I can think of) of why was it so hard to kill them.

  1. Near instant message relay.
  2. Perfect battle coordination. Imagine there is a mind sitting behind a screen called "computer" stopping time to arrange troops in perfect position.
  3. Perfect group cooperation. Deadly in back-to-back fighting.
  4. Individual combat mastery, one of their warriors equals 2.7 (only estimation could be more). Consider all of them are veterans.
  5. No negotiation. Can spot spy or assassin right away.
  6. Have psychic healers to drive battle moods in any way, it's safe to assume that they're always in the right mental state to shatter armies.
  7. Their uniforms look so weird you can't tell who their officers are, not sure if they need one.
  8. Psychic range is about 100 meters. Putting a wall between them would not stop it.
  9. They're are peaceful, they resent killing but have nothing against severing an arm or leg and leave you bleeding.
  10. My country faces four nations with Wussname to the north, all the other neighboring countries are enemies we are constantly engaged in wars.
  11. I have a truce with Whatcha to the west, promised to give them 20% loot. It means I'm currently using only half of my numbers actively fighting Wussname. It takes 2 weeks with double horses to ride across my country. Marching is slower. I don't like to mobilize all my troops unless I have a good reason to do so.
  12. Their General is as good as any commander who has survived 30 years of continuous warfare, and is good at winning wars.
  13. No idea where their weapons come from, but it is as good as mine. Same level of technology (medieval).
  14. Known practical weapons: Bow, cross bow, cannon (powerful but expensive and ammunition are slow in production), lancers, steel swords, pikes and stuff. Dragons are for quick hits or special operations only. Armors is mostly leather and anything anyone can buy, it's hard to fully equip 750,000 men with steel.
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    $\begingroup$ Can they turn their sympathetic abilities on and off, or does it work constantly? I only ask because you might be able to capture some to use as psychological warfare weapons. Squads of your soldiers could keep one of the captives in the middle of their ranks. If the captive was sufficiently demoralized, then he would broadcast this strong negative emotion to all other members of his people that were nearby. This could help demoralize a force that you already significantly outnumber. $\endgroup$ – Liesmith Sep 9 '15 at 10:26
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    $\begingroup$ Step One: Send trade envoys, try to buy Unobtainium Step Two: Try to buy Unobtainium from nation's allies Step Three: Rubbish the nation in the international community for being unreasonable Step Four: Cut off aid. Step Five: Break off diplomatic relations. Step Six: Declare war. $\endgroup$ – Scott Downey Sep 9 '15 at 10:55
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure I understand the problem- knowledge you are being subjected to genocide does not mean you are able to prevent it, though I suppose they could try to take some kind of avoiding action. Begin by killing their leaders while they sleep... $\endgroup$ – Marv Mills Sep 9 '15 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ That's kind of weird that you don't want to conquer them but you do want to conquer everyone else. What's special about the Wussnames that you don't want to conquer them? $\endgroup$ – Green Sep 9 '15 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Is the implication that the Wussname share their peace-loving attitude with any soldiers who get too close to them, causing them to stop fighting? $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Sep 9 '15 at 20:05

11 Answers 11

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Using the right tactical approach, this shouldn't be much of a problem, if you are superior to them in numbers and military supplies.

Method 1

Attack them on 3 sides at once! You are dividing their already-less-than-half forces into three. Now, here is the trick.

You attack them with 1/6th of your entire force from three sides. (Hence you are using half of your total military). All three assaulting parties are of equal force right now. The defenders would quickly form 3 groups to counter the threat and they will probably make a quick mincemeat of them soon but ...

After dividing their force into three, assault them from the fourth side from the remaining half of your army. Before the little naive fools regroup, your forces should be rolling their leaders under their boots in the capital!

Method 2

Use guerrilla tactics. Plant landmines on the border at night. Then in the daytime, initiate a border skirmish and entice their troopies to cross the border right where the landmines are present ... I don't think their hive-mind ability is going to help them locate the mines. Rinse and repeat. Repeat and rise. At times you are going to plant landmines and play on enticing them to cross the border. Other times you are going to NOT lay the landmines, give them the impression that they are in place, then initiate a skirmish, kill a few and quickly return. Rinse and repeat.

Method 3

Use biological weapons! Infect some of the prisoners with a deadly contagious pathogen (that shows its effect later) and set them free. The healers won't know anything is wrong... until the pathogen has spread all over in their population. Now you simply go trampling them under your boots...

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    $\begingroup$ Method 3: our (medieval) healers only know of basic herbs and stuff so, ah, well, maybe I have to wait another century for medical to advance. Method 2: landmines, that sounds interesting, but, ah, well, even my Cannon Master doesn't know what that is. So, ah, you know.. Method 1: other evil countries want a piece of me too, so I don't think I should mobilize all my troops and leave my back open for stabbing. $\endgroup$ – Ngoc Sep 11 '15 at 10:09
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    $\begingroup$ One can't simply summon a 'smallpox', it's not a ready resource. And I'm afraid it would infect my army too. Using poisons and stuff are what I was doing since forever, I'm evil remember? $\endgroup$ – Ngoc Sep 14 '15 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ So, I only have to quarantine them from my people and let them go extinct. Hmm, seems legit. $\endgroup$ – Ngoc Sep 16 '15 at 1:24
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    $\begingroup$ It IS legit. The supreme warring nation of Aztecs was swept off the face of earth by that. And Brits used it (knowingly, by contaminating blankets with blood of smallpox patients and sending them as presents to local chiefs) to effectively exterminate huge populations of native indians In north America. $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Sep 16 '15 at 5:14
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    $\begingroup$ Gorilla tactics? $\endgroup$ – Xan Jan 13 '16 at 9:50
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Physical Death

If you outnumber them four to one, just walk in and do whatever you want. Unless there's some kind of brilliant victory by General Wussname, you'll be able to just roll over them. Even if they manage to kill 2 of your troops for everyone one of theirs, you still have double the required troops to annihilate their army.

Unobtainium, obtained.

Psychic Death

Capture a good number of the Wussname and take them back to your dungeons. Torture them into insanity or force them to watch untold pain and atrocities. In modern language, give them a raging case of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Release them back to the general Wussname populace and wait for the nightly screams to begin. Experiences like torture will come back in dreams which are then shared across all the Wussnames. Some (many) won't be able to handle the stress or images shared and either go insane themselves or kill themselves to make the images stop. If you can offer them some kind of cure (it doesn't need to work, they just need to believe you have one) then you have an incredibly powerful bargaining chip.

Unobtainium, obtained.

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  • $\begingroup$ Damn it, I was going to write something similar to this - but your answer is much more....diabolical. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Sep 9 '15 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ I draw my limits at building villages out of human remains. That's too much for me. Humans are nasty nasty nasty pieces of work. $\endgroup$ – Green Sep 9 '15 at 15:08
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It seems your foe's advantage lies in the shared years of psychic knowledge of fighting. But this knowledge will be useless if the style of fighting changes drastically. Being a brilliant swordsman doesn't teach you how to shoot a musket. Change the style of battle and remove their advantage.

If they usually fight against close packed formations spread out, if they usually fight in clearings fight in forests, if they usually fight during the day fight at night. If they normally fight swordsmen bring in longbows.

PS. Cannons annihilate normal medieval tactics. If you have field cannon when enemies attack with tight formations blast them with grape shot see pickets charge or any of Napoleon's battles. Good cannon are why trench warfare happened. The first part of the answer assumed your cannon were no more effective than archers

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  • $\begingroup$ But they will adapt quicker to new tactics too. $\endgroup$ – Xplodotron Nov 18 '16 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ yep you also need to try to kill all enemies in a battle so they can't carry the experience forward, and yes you need to keep changing $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Nov 18 '16 at 23:02
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The question states that "their warriors are significantly more skilled since they could share fighting experience. I estimated that one of them could potentially kill 2.7 of mine.". However in battle I'm not sure that would actually work to their advantage.

One battle has joined, a psychic range of 100 meters will mean that hundreds or possibly thousands of fellow psychics are all fighting at the same time and all sharing their own feelings and emotions. That mix of rage and fear, and many emotions in-between, will be enormously distracting.

Once the forces are engaged in melee combat, each man is effectively fighting one or maybe two men in front of him. To do that well takes concentration and awareness. Having hundreds of other peoples emotions washing over you (especially if they're wounded or dying) is not the sort of thing that aids concentration.

Fear is a very powerful, deep-rooted emotion. There's the very real risk that a localised panic, caused by a unit being overrun or surrounded, spreads quickly across the whole army. Suddenly, the psychics could find their whole army being routed simply because of a handful of men being overwhelmed.

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  • $\begingroup$ They're still soldiers though. Their commanders will be resolute, and this resolve will prevent panics, more effectively than ordinary soldiers, actually. They must train to maximize their unique advantage, right? $\endgroup$ – chiggsy Oct 2 '18 at 5:08
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I don't know what the terrain is like but since you're so evil why don't you just burn them out? You can start fires across the front and burn everything that can burn to the ground. You don't even need real soldiers for this. A couple soldiers can supervise a group of slaves, so your manpower increases dramatically. Try not to engage the enemy and just start lots of fires everywhere. Keep doing this as you move through the countryside and pretty soon the psychics are all starving. I would think your dragons would be especially helpful with this if they are the fire breathing variety.

This will force them to spread out their troops, and let you ambush them with overwhelming numbers. Eventually the natives will counter attack you and you can perform a tactical retreat to a place where you can fight them off effectively or lead them into a trap where you drown them in a flash flood, crush them in a rock slide, etc. Regardless you just keep burning everything until there is a charred, barren, wasteland progressively expanding into their territory.

Keep reminding them at every opportunity all you want is a modest amount of stuff from the mine. Eventually they'll crack after enough bad winters with progressively diminishing food. By then the full output of the mine will seem like a modest amount as long as they can eat. Of course you should periodically burn down a few villages so their somewhat fuller bellies don't breed any rebellious ideas...

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice, I think this tactic will be useful. Combine with the plague I sent and aerial poison drop to their water source, I think I could put a stop to this war. $\endgroup$ – Ngoc Nov 20 '16 at 9:45
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How evil are you ?

Genocide can be a hassle, as the population is rarely cooperative, and the gains are never enough to cover the expenses of such vast project. Fortunatly, the human cruelty is nearly infinte, and this hasn't stopped many powerfull leaders and sharp mind to spend countless time and effort on such a despicable purpose.

Here is a list of usefull tactics that have been used through history, or that have been invented by that wicked mind of mine. You can use them both for genocide or to simply break them as a people.

Disease :

As mentionned by Youstay Igo, you could find some sickness they are vulnerable to, and use it against them. You have many ways to do this

  • infect some prisoners and then let them escape from your prison.

  • hold a position upstream of a river were they usually drink, and throw all sorts of nasty things in it, like the feces of a hundred thousand soldiers.

  • sell them some infected clothes or covers, and watch smallpox do the job.

  • drop dead bodies on them with your dragons. With some luck you may even hit some wells in the process.

Scorched earth

Ravage any land you can get hold on, and leave nothing behind. Each one of your defeat will only buy them some time. Each one of your victory will cost them people and land, crippling their economy and morale.

Burn the villages, rase the cities, salt the earth, poison the wells, kill the men and enslave the rest ; this may even help you fund this war.

Psychological warfare

This one has been mentionned by many other answer, so I won't detail it. Even if torturing some prisonners is not that effective against the rest of the population, this cannot make them any good, so carry on. It could even be used as a distraction to boost your own troops moral.

Debilitating Drugs

In the opium wars, chinese forces were significantly weakened by the use of opiods, wich were illegally imported from british colonies (this was, as you can guess, the starting point of the war). Getting Wussname to widely use some sort of adictive drug may reveal tricky, but very usefull once you succeed. You may achieve this by using some third party, so they do not suspect the provenance of the drug : manipulate a travelling merchant, a friendly country of your ennemy, or send troops equiped with the drug to a suicide assault. They may found the drug on your soliders body and try it.

Toxic gas

You may have some alchemist guild to help you on this. Find some stone that produce a nasty gas when mixed with water and other stones, use the right wind at the right place and bam, you got a tactical and psychological edge on this annoying race of them.

Gerilla warfare

Youstay Igo mentionned that too. Ambush, traps, landmine and gunpowder are your friends on this one. Use also your dragons to make raids on their cities with incendiary bombs. Beware thought, as this is their country, they know it better than you do. I'd suggest you burn forests rather than trying to use them for an ambush that could be easily scouted and usedagainst you.

Aftermath

Once you are done with all that nasty stuff, you can track the survivors, capture them, break them, drug them, breed them, and use them to transmit messages for your future battles. Find some way to let them hope for freedom, like a prophecy about a white knight in shining armor, so they have something to lose if they betray you.

EDIT : I almost forgot, but this will also grant you the unobtainium. But you may discover that having some instantaneous communication is far more precious than better weaponery. Also, as Conan said, there is nothing in life better than crushing your ennemy.

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Many armies have Buglers and Drummers to sound maneuvers. You can use the wailing of torture victims!

Since the send/receive telepathy of these guys is really on shared within their own race, you need them broadcasting the most horrific stuff during a battle.

Step one, capture some. You need about 1 captured for every 75 or so enemy Maybe threaten or cajole them while you have them, but don't harm them until battle day.

On battle day get them up and out on some poles in front of your army. Instead of standards, you have your victims held aloft. At the start of the advance, use your flaying knife on a stick to begin peeling the skin from the victim's back around 100 m from the battle. This way, the defending force not only gets to SEE your evil, the will begin hearing it in their heads very shortly before battle is joined. Advance slowly, with archers at the front as long as is possible. Make Use of slingers, siege weapons, anything at all that can hit from more than 100 meters. If it can cause messy and painful deaths from a distance, do it. Aim for gut shots. Keep ranged weapons in play as long as you can.

Announce to your enemies that you will stop the torture if they stop fighting you. Keep in mind, you actually have to honor this in order to gain trust. You have to mean it, otherwise the defending troops will glean your intent. Tell them that you will accept surrender on a unit by unit basis. take a victim off of the pole for every 100 surrendered. Tell your captured that you only want the unobtainium. Tell them this over and over and over.

Next during the battle irregularly and periodically tear another strip off of your victim. to send torture jolts through the enemy closest to you.
Every time you do that, rake the enemy with arrows. Archers fire just as soon as they hear the scream.

The purpose of all this is to maximize the demoralization without committing your reserves. If you can get them to start surrendering, you can very quickly shift things until you have a huge numerical advantage. Keep on message in a nearly fanatical manner.

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Other answers have focused on how you might turn the psychic powers of your proposed race against them, but your edit suggests that torture is largely ineffective. My suggestion is to work around their powers, not try to make them backfire.

The range of the psychic powers is about 100 meters. If you can separate your opponents, their fighting prowess will be reduced. So fight with this in mind. Use cavalry to scatter your foes. Unless they have a lot of reach weapons (pikes and similar), they will have to scatter before a concerted cavalry charge. Then ride them down. However, it is quite possible that they will not scatter sufficiently. An even better strategy might be to conceal the bulk of your force. Presumably your opponents will then advance cautiously, in waves, so as to avoid the whole force being ambushed. You can then have hidden cannoneers fire missiles between the groups, so as to make joining together again very risky, and proceed with a cavalry charge from the side.

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Assuming that they are unable to turn their "sympathy field" off, a less subtle torture tactic becomes possible. Stage a few raids to capture as many prisoners as possible, and then build whatever equipment is necessary for your torturers to be able to perform their duties while on the move. The idea being that any of their forces who want to attack yours have to walk through a 100m radius bubble of screaming agony to do it. It will be much more difficult for their psychic soothers to do their jobs while the torture is ongoing than to simply correct the damage afterward.

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Unpredictable actions

Their psychic power is indeed a great power, and should help them to organize quickly to any form of conventional strategies. But if you launch different undersized and oversized assault, it is possible to make even the greatest leader to doubt. You have dragons, you don't want to use them, simulate them. Make them believe you brought all your army. use other country uniforms. Deceive them the more you can. Prior to assault, burn some villages to the ground and simulate dragon footprints. They will have a lot of informations to deal with, some of them against one another. Information can be a great asset, but If you can't filter it and analyse it, each decision you will take is the wrong one.

So this will allow you to confuse the head. If this communication thingy is constant, they will never have fought without it, so even experienced soldiers will be confused, and clumsy. Add some natural fears in the mix, like fires and strange masks, screams, torture.

If you have some prisonners, maybe you could deceive them into relaying false information too :

Let one ear a conversation about bringing him under the city to perform some new sacrificial ritual with destructive power, make him believe it, and when you assault the city, put bring him close enough and begin the "ritual" he will desesperately cry that you are in this specific part of the city, unleashing a demon and sacrificing him, but nobody will be there, so you will split the army.

With a good assault like this, you will have destroyed a significant part of their forces, confused the other parts, and probably had access to huge logistic assets, that you captured or destroyed (or poisoned if it is the water facility of a city).

Now you either continue like this to end it quicke before they adapt, or you go back to guerilla style but you will have gain the number advantage. You can also ask for a ransom if you capturesome valuable people or assets. ask for something that will help you win the war.

Other economic means

If they don't want to sell unobtainium, then ask it for ransom against captured people or valuables, use other countries as intermediary, use aggressive monopole strategies to get key ressources of their empire to make them crave it. Use propaganda to direct bandit attacks on them. Any Wussname who wander out of Wussname direct territory should be killed by your spy network, by any means, and same with people commercing with them.

Environment destruction

Poison any river going throught the Wussname country. Burn whatever they are using for ressources which is within your grasp. If some herbs have known influence on people's mood, use them to change the way they are feeling, either to be overly confident, careless, or depressed. you can smoke them in the wind or use them in water.

Shorter Version

Push them out of their confort zone. There is a lot of ways to make them unable to rely on the capacities they have always fought with. emotions and tactic information can be deceived, and can be broken.

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Well, first thing's first, I wouldn't do this while you have another war going on unless absolutely necessary. One of Hitler's biggest blunders was declaring war on Russia (who prior to the war, saw Britian as a bigger threat than Germany and was content to not help the British and had treaties to avoid conflict with Germany which Stalin was so spectacurlarly devoted to, he willfully ignored evidence that Germany was gearing up for an invasion because Germany said they wouldn't do that. He did not treat any military build up as a threat until they crossed the border.).

Japan's biggest mistake in WWII was that they underestimated American's conviction to the prosecution of war and mistimed the declaration of war which lead to an unintentional sneak attack at Pearl Harbor. Prior to WWII, Japan had prosecuted a successful war against Russia that relied on hitting Russia quickly before Russia could mount a counter attack. Russia also happened to be in the middle of some social unrest that would lead to the Revolutions and didn't need a war right now, so took the first peace deal they could get rather than commit forces to the front, which if they had would have destroyed the Japanese Army. Japan was relying on this to happen with America and Admiral Yamamoto's famous "Dictate Terms in the White House" warning was ignored (and distorted into a goal when American press got wind of it... American's believed it would be Japan's intention to land on the west coast, march towards the East Coast, and rule the lower 48... in actuality, they wanted islands that could get them rubber and oil for their war in China). Yamamoto, having studied in America, was also well aware of the nation's love of that pesky second amendment and that it meant that the entire populace is armed, which is something I think you're not factoring in. Assuming that there are civillians in Wussname, the psychic nature of the race would mean that in times of war, there are no civillians.

Since half your army is away at a current war and your army is four times that of the fighting forces of Wussname, that means your attack force for Wussname is now twice that of Wussname. If they out perform you at a rate of 2.7 to one, that means for every two Wussname forces you kill, you lose five of yours, though considering that on average, devoting three to kill one means one survivor who is at 30% health means the figure is probably going to rise to six. Causalty in warfare isn't the measure of dead troops, but troops removed from fighting by any means (injuries included).

My question is then, what is the threat Wussname presents that requires immediate action to respond too. As they are peaceful, you would be the aggressor force, not Wussname so you could choose the time that's most oppertune to attack. If your general is halfway decent, he'll tell you that that starting a new war when one is currently on is not a good idea. Heck, I'm a civillian who learned officer ranks by watching way too much Star Trek and I'm telling you it's not a good idea.

Second, if you're going to feel threatened at all by psychic races, perhaps your other enemies are as well. An alliance against the psychic menace would be much more advisable. You're already providing spoils of war to one of the nations most likely to be your enemy in the later future. If you can gin up enough anti-Wussnameism, you can appeal to both the evil empires (they could learn our evilest secrets and tell the world... they must be stopped!) and those noble republics (I mean, come on, they can control how you think... sure, we may take away a lot of basic human rights, but we've never done THAT! We merely enforce correct thought by proper conditioning that you have a chance to resist.). Not only does this net you greater superior numbers and prevents another empire from declaring war on you out of sympathy or oppertunity, but it gets you something way more valuable than your treasure: Operational details of your enemies. By working with them, you can improve your intelligence and strategy of that country you were fighting and the ones you wish to fight in the future. It's quite hard to co-ordinate an attack if your allies are unwilling to tell you their strengths and limitations on the battlefield. (This is one of the reasons that the United States sells weapons to nations of less than savory moral behavior. It's easy to know what the enemy has in their arsenal when they give you the order form for the arsenal.).

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  • $\begingroup$ Germany had excellent reasons for attacking Russia: The Caspian Sea oil reserves. Taking the Caspian would have won them the war. Britain's navy was a greater threat, mitigated successfully by the U-boats, until the convoy system made it less effective. Likewise Japan needed to control the oil and rubber reserves in the Pacific held by the Americans, for their war effort. Nasty yes, but not crazy. The Red Army could reasonably be discounted, until after the battle of Kursk. $\endgroup$ – chiggsy Oct 2 '18 at 4:53

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