History Main / SaltTheEarth

9th May '17 7:28:49 PM Sylderon
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* During UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, Major General William Sherman marched from the freshly-captured city of Atlanta, Georgia to the port city of Savannah, Georgia from November 15th to December 16th, 1864. Along the way, his forces destroyed not just military targets, but anything else that could have been useful to the Confederate war effort. This included everything from railroads, to plantations, to civilian farms, destroying or consuming everything they could. "Sherman's March to the Sea" as it was famously called is now considered a remarkable military achievement, a textbook example of "scorched earth" tactics and a very bitter memory amongst Southerners that endures to this day.

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* During UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, Major General William Sherman (TropeNamer of WarIsHell) marched from the freshly-captured city of Atlanta, Georgia to the port city of Savannah, Georgia from November 15th to December 16th, 1864. Along the way, his forces destroyed not just military targets, but anything else that could have been useful to the Confederate war effort. This included everything from railroads, to plantations, to civilian farms, destroying or consuming everything they could. "Sherman's March to the Sea" as it was famously called is now considered a remarkable military achievement, a textbook example of "scorched earth" tactics and a very bitter memory amongst Southerners that endures to this day. Sherman himself justified his campaign as bringing the suffering of the war right to the people of the South, and that by destroying their property, he might avoid having to destroy their men.
* After he had been fired by HarrySTruman for his arrogant and insubordinate antics, DouglasMacArthur devised a plan that he said could win the KoreanWar. It involved first delivering an ultimatum to the Soviet Union that China must cease hostilities in Korea [[note]]Something that, even if the Soviets agreed with, they could not do, because China wasn't about to take such orders from Moscow, and indeed, Stalin was content to just sit back and watch his rival for leadership of the world Communist movement get pounded[[/note]] or the United States would destroy China's capacity to make war [[note]]most likely by destroying Chinese industrial centers with [[PeaceThroughSuperiorFirepower atomic bombs]][[/note]] and sow radioactive material in the north of Korea to impede further moves by the Chinese and Korean Communist forces. Thankfully for posterity, both Truman and [[DwightDEisenhower his successor]] thought this proposal was horrifying and dismissed it out of hand.
9th Apr '17 3:50:01 PM ultimomant
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* In ''Fanfic/TheDragonKingsTemple'', Toph briefly mentions a time Aang put out a burning village with a flood of ocean water. The villagers chewed him out because the salt water ruined their crops.
2nd Apr '17 8:01:57 PM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* The Covenant of ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' [[DeathFromAbove bombard human planets with plasma weaponry]] until the surface is fused into a glass-like mineral, hence the term "glassing".

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* The As shown in the page image, the Covenant of ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' [[DeathFromAbove bombard human planets with plasma weaponry]] until the surface is fused into a glass-like mineral, hence the term "glassing".
23rd Mar '17 12:53:03 AM Tuckerscreator
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[[caption-width-right:350:''"Your world will burn until its surface is but glass."'']]
13th Mar '17 11:33:05 PM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Halo}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/halo_glassing.png]]]]

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9th Dec '16 12:13:45 PM StFan
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[[folder:Fan Fiction]]

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[[folder:Fan Fiction]]Works]]



[[folder:Film]]
* Cobalt bombs (see below) were popularized in the 1964 film ''Film/DrStrangelove''. The element added to the bombs is referred to in the film as 'cobalt-thorium G'.

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[[folder:Film]]
[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Cobalt bombs (see below) were popularized in the 1964 film ''Film/DrStrangelove''. The element added to the bombs is referred to in the film as 'cobalt-thorium G'."cobalt-thorium G".



* ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}'': [[HanlonsRazor Not the result of malice, but stupidity]]. A Gatorade {{ersatz}} got a law passed at some point to replace all water with their sports drink, because it has "electrolytes", which is "what plants crave". For those not quite scientifically savvy enough to see the mistake (they sure as hell didn't), the electrolytes in sports drinks are salts dissolved in water. It's likely that they would've starved to death if Joe hadn't come around and suggested they use water. (''"You mean from the toilet?"'') He had to pretend he had the psychic power to talk to plants to get anybody to listen to him.

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* ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}'': [[HanlonsRazor Not the result of malice, but stupidity]]. A Gatorade {{ersatz}} got a law passed at some point to replace all water with their sports drink, because it has "electrolytes", which is "what plants crave". For those not quite scientifically savvy enough to see the mistake (they sure as hell didn't), the electrolytes in sports drinks are salts dissolved in water. It's likely that they would've starved to death if Joe hadn't hasn't come around and suggested they use water. (''"You mean from the toilet?"'') He had has to pretend he had has the psychic power to talk to plants to get anybody to listen to him.



* In ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'', when the Rose is closed for having a woman onstage, Wessex threatens to have it dismantled stone by stone and the the place where it was sown with quicklime.

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* In ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'', when the Rose is closed for having a woman onstage, Wessex threatens to have it dismantled stone by stone and the the place where it was sown with quicklime.



With unreproachful stare.\\
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With unreproachful stare.\\
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-->'''Mr. Ward''': Burn it down, gentlemen. Burn it down and salt the earth.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': When the Federation is unable to hold the titular station against the Dominion and Cardassian forces, they evacuate it. As soon as they're gone, Kira Nerys destroys the station's computer systems, effectively crippling it for months.
-->'''Kira Nerys:''' Dukat wanted the station back? He can have it!

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-->'''Mr. Ward''': Ward:''' Burn it down, gentlemen. Burn it down and salt the earth.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
**
When the Federation is unable to hold the titular station against the Dominion and Cardassian forces, they evacuate it. As soon as they're gone, Kira Nerys destroys the station's computer systems, effectively crippling it for months.
-->'''Kira --->'''Kira Nerys:''' Dukat wanted the station back? He can have it!



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* Several [[DeathWorld Death Worlds]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', most notably the homeworld of the the Death Korps of Krieg, gained their DeathWorld status thanks to liberal use of nuclear weapons.

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* Several [[DeathWorld Death Worlds]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'', most notably the homeworld of the the Death Korps of Krieg, gained their DeathWorld status thanks to liberal use of nuclear weapons.



* The [[ChurchMilitant Word of Blake]] in ''TabletopGame/{{BattleTech}}'' would saturate planets were they were defeated with nuclear weapons. Several of them ended up becoming uninhabitable. [[MoralEventHorizon And civilian populations paid for it with their lives]].

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* The [[ChurchMilitant Word of Blake]] in ''TabletopGame/{{BattleTech}}'' ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' would saturate planets were they were defeated with nuclear weapons. Several of them ended up becoming uninhabitable. [[MoralEventHorizon And civilian populations paid for it with their lives]].



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-->'''Ned''': Uh, excuse me neighbour, I couldn't help but notice you picked pretty much all of my flowers.
-->'''Homer''': Can't make a float without flowers!
-->'''Ned''': Oh, sure enough, but did you ''have'' to salt the earth so nothing will ever grow again?
-->'''Homer''': ''[[{{Jerkass}} Heh heh... yeah...]]''
* This was essentially Fire Lord Ozai's plan during Sozin's Comet in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Tired of the Earth Kingdom not being oppressed enough, he intended to have a fleet of dirigibles carrying comet-enhanced firebenders burn the entire kingdom to the ground. Then again, given that he is insane, and his sadistic daughter gave him the idea, it's likely less "salt the Earth" and more "{{kill them all}}."
** In fact, ash can work as a very effective ''fertilizer'' when mixed into soil. While the psychological warfare and intimidation aspect or true to this trope, the practical effect would not prevent replanting and restoration efforts.

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-->'''Ned''': -->'''Ned:''' Uh, excuse me neighbour, neighbor, I couldn't help but notice you picked pretty much all of my flowers.
-->'''Homer''':
flowers.\\
'''Homer:'''
Can't make a float without flowers!
-->'''Ned''':
flowers!\\
'''Ned:'''
Oh, sure enough, but did you ''have'' to salt the earth so nothing will ever grow again?
-->'''Homer''':
again?\\
'''Homer:'''
''[[{{Jerkass}} Heh heh... yeah...]]''
* This was is essentially Fire Lord Ozai's plan during Sozin's Comet in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Tired of the Earth Kingdom not being oppressed enough, he intended intends to have a fleet of dirigibles carrying comet-enhanced firebenders burn the entire kingdom to the ground. Then again, given that he is insane, and his sadistic daughter gave him the idea, it's likely less "salt the Earth" and more "{{kill them all}}."
** In fact, ash can work as a very effective ''fertilizer'' when mixed into soil. While the psychological warfare and intimidation aspect or true to this trope, the practical effect would not prevent replanting and restoration efforts.
"



[[folder: Real Life]]

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* The Romans were terribly fond of this. The most famous example was their treatment of Carthage, with whom the Romans fought numerous wars before emerging victorious. They destroyed Carthage and salted the earth to make sure nothing could ever grow in its place. Julius Caesar later founded a new Carthage on the same spot, mainly to prove that he could.
** This was a metaphor for Rome's destruction of the city, and even then [[NewerThanTheyThink wasn't thought up until much later.]] Most of the farmland surrounding Carthage was actually [[BoringButPractical given to Roman veterans of the Punic Wars as a retirement pension]].[[note]]Which is not only practical, but also arguably more effective at preventing future trouble. So in a way, the Romans did salt the city, with the sweat of honest Romans, so that Carthaginian culture can never rise again.[[/note]]

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* The Romans were terribly fond of this. The most famous example was their treatment of Carthage, with whom the Romans fought numerous wars before emerging victorious. They destroyed Carthage and salted the earth to make sure nothing could ever grow in its place. Julius Caesar later founded a new Carthage on the same spot, mainly to prove that he could.
**
could. This was a metaphor for Rome's destruction of the city, and even then [[NewerThanTheyThink wasn't thought up until much later.]] Most of the farmland surrounding Carthage was actually [[BoringButPractical given to Roman veterans of the Punic Wars as a retirement pension]].[[note]]Which is not only practical, but also arguably more effective at preventing future trouble. So in a way, the Romans did salt the city, with the sweat of honest Romans, so that Carthaginian culture can never rise again.[[/note]]
30th Nov '16 8:05:38 PM Willbyr
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So as a trope, characters will often have an analogous action, sometimes literally salting the earth, which performs as a symbolic act to indicate their embrace of scorched earth tactics and the increase of hostilities beyond it. The act can be a movement across the [[MoralEventHorizon Moral]] or {{Despair Event Horizon}}s, increasing the threat of a character, making the stakes truly a matter of survival and making the lack of forgiveness or remorse clear. So it is that the act can occur at a pivotal moment in the middle of a war or as the final blow at the end of one.

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So as a trope, characters will often have an analogous action, sometimes literally salting the earth, which performs as a symbolic act to indicate their embrace of scorched earth tactics and the increase of hostilities beyond it. The act can be a movement across the [[MoralEventHorizon Moral]] {{Moral|EventHorizon}} or {{Despair Event Horizon}}s, increasing the threat of a character, making the stakes truly a matter of survival and making the lack of forgiveness or remorse clear. So it is that the act can occur at a pivotal moment in the middle of a war or as the final blow at the end of one.






* In {{Literature/Gate}}, after the Empire's disastrous and humiliating defeat against the JSDF in episode 2, where they lost over a hundred and twenty thousand men in a matter of days, the Emperor orders the regions surrounding their capital burned down. Youji's recon team witnesses this firsthand when they see a dragon burning up a seemingly random part of the forest, until they realize there was supposed to be a village there. They discover the remains of it the next day.

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* In {{Literature/Gate}}, ''{{Literature/Gate}}'', after the Empire's disastrous and humiliating defeat against the JSDF in episode 2, where they lost over a hundred and twenty thousand men in a matter of days, the Emperor orders the regions surrounding their capital burned down. Youji's recon team witnesses this firsthand when they see a dragon burning up a seemingly random part of the forest, until they realize there was supposed to be a village there. They discover the remains of it the next day.
12th Nov '16 11:32:59 AM DarkHunter
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** One strategy for starving out the Tyranid Hive Fleets involves ''letting'' them make planetfall and start eating everything... and then Exterminatus-ing the planet from orbit, killing everything on it. This works better than the aforementioned strategy of burning the planets before the Hive Fleet gets there, since the Tyranids have to expend some energy to attack the planet and they lose the forces they landed. Unfortunately, the predicted size of the Tyranid swarm is so huge that even if the Imperium did this to ''literally every planet in their domain'', it wouldn't be enough to completely defeat the Tyranids.
10th Nov '16 6:56:15 PM eroock
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* In ''Webcomic/ThreePanelSoul'' [[http://threepanelsoul.com/2007/07/17/on-sodium-chloride/ Matt drops a match and some salt-shaker salt as he quits.]] It's done "in the spirit" of the idea.

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* In ''Webcomic/ThreePanelSoul'' [[http://threepanelsoul.[[https://web.archive.org/web/20150708142341/http://threepanelsoul.com/2007/07/17/on-sodium-chloride/ Matt drops a match and some salt-shaker salt as he quits.]] It's done "in the spirit" of the idea.
21st Sep '16 2:47:32 AM Medinoc
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