Created By: dragonslip on August 5, 2012 Last Edited By: dragonslip on August 7, 2012
Nuked

Unnecessary army

This when a fictitious state has a standing army despite either having no known enemies or having been at peace a VERY long time

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Trope

When world building a military tends to be something all states human or otherwise, magical, technological or otherwise are all given as mater of course. As universal as the need for military may seem however for a lot of fantasy states there really is no good reason why they’d waste the resources on one as many fantasy worlds are totally united under one government and thus have no other states to fight against, or have only a few enemies who they’ve been at peace with for like hundreds of years

The reason the need for a large military seems universal to us is because there are hundreds of nation states on earth not one or two

Examples

film
  • in The Chroniclesof Narnia Prince Caspian the Telmarines still seemed to have a large professional army despite the fact they controlled all of Narnia and believed the native population to be long dead


Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • August 5, 2012
    Doxiedame
    There are justifications for this in real life and in fiction.

    1.A strong military can be seen as a defense in and of itself. That is, the stronger your military, the less a potential enemy is likely to act.

    2. Even a country with no enemies will have allies that do. Military support is often part of mutual protection treaties, etc.

    3. A governing body that has control of an entire planet, continent, etc. often uses the military to keep that control.

    The description seems to be a bit confusing. Bullet points, comparisons, contrasts, etc. may help.

    Other than that, I'm not sure how this trope would work. The necessity of the body's military may depend on how one reads it. Given all this, stressing in-universe examples only may help.

    It feels like a very subjective trope.
  • August 5, 2012
    dragonslip
    "There are justifications for this in real life and in fiction" since when do we try and figure out ways for tropes to not apply,in my experience they tend to get the benefit of the doubt?

    "1.A strong military can be seen as a defence in and of itself. That is, the stronger your military, the less a potential enemy is likely to act" isn't it difficult to maintain an inactive army?

    "2. Even a country with no enemies will have allies that do. Military support is often part of mutual protection treaties, etc" I didn't address nations that have no enemies but do not rule the world

    "3. A governing body that has control of an entire planet, continent, etc. often uses the military to keep that control" I know, that's why I chose the example I did, the the Telmarines are one totally united people who all have a common ancestry, there's no subjugated people for them to control Also don't armies tend to deteriorate if all they have to do is maintain control, I remember somebody once told me that's what happened to British empire's troops befor the world wars?

    "The description seems to be a bit confusing. Bullet points, comparisons, contrasts, etc. may help" comparisons and contrasts to what?

    "Other than that, I'm not sure how this trope would work. The necessity of the body's military may depend on how one reads it. Given all this, stressing in-universe examples only may help" doesn't that defeat the point of a trope?

    "It feels like a very subjective trope" aren't a lot to an extent?

  • August 5, 2012
    Doxiedame
    I didnt' mean to be overly disparaging. I apologize for that.

    Tropes often see misuse, which leads to confusion about what the trope actually is about, or complaining, etc. Part of helping to curb that can be in sharpening the focus of the trope to a proper extent before it is launched. My interest is simply in helping out in that respect.

    The purpose of YKTTW is to find out if there is a trope in the first place and to work out any problems noticed before it's launched.

    In Universe-only examples are used on many tropes, especially ones in which could lead to possible edit wars if other examples were allowed. My suggestion stems from the controversy over military matters in other areas. I may be overly cautious, but it was only a suggestion.

    Again, I'm sorry for so many negatives in such a short time.
  • August 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    This does seem extremely subjective. Take Battlestar Galactica: okay, so the war was decades ago and the Cylons disappeared and haven't been heard from since. But their military is justified because 1) the colonies aren't 100% united like The Federation and inter-colonial war is still a possibility; 2) the existence of a unified military probably facilitates more cooperation between the different colonial governments; and 3) the Cylons could return at any time, or theoretically the Colonials could have encountered hostile alien life (at least, since their society was similar to ours but possessed FTL travel, their scientists , government officials and military probably considered contact with aliens a theoretical possibiltiy). So it's entirely justified.
  • August 5, 2012
    Ghilz
    I'm not really sure this is a trope at all. There's plenty of countries that way IRL too (have armies, not at war with anyone, no real enemies, at peace for a long, long time). What the meaning, the significance of this as a trope?

    Take your Narnia example, yeah, they control Narnia, but not Archenland, Ettinsmoor or Carlormen. So why not have an army? How is an army unnecessary then?
  • August 5, 2012
    dragonslip
    "Archenland, Ettinsmoor or Carlormen" ????
  • August 5, 2012
    Ghilz
    3 of the other countries in Narnia, besides Narnia and Telmar. Ettinsmoor is full of giants, and Calormen is known to be expansionist. So having an army kinda makes sense.
  • August 5, 2012
    Earnest
    • In Murder Mystery, a book by Neil Gaiman set in the time when Angels are in the middle of designing God's plan for creation. He basically gave them autonomy to design small things like "green", with talented Angels designing things like, "love" and "death". The trope kicks in and is commented on when one angel asks Lucifer, leader of the host (army of angels) why God would need an army since no enemies could even hypothetically exist. The reason isn't given, but given that the entire story is about God engineering a situation that would force Angels to confront the possibility he can be in error, it's possible he wanted an army so that when Lucifer precipitated the fall there would be rebels who could do so with the help of army defectors.
  • August 5, 2012
    Generality
    Real Life: Switzerland, famed for its steadfast neutrality. Historically, the Swiss became neutral because they had a terrifying army, and every other country paid them to stay out of any situation. The Swiss Guard still holds elite status in Vatican City.
  • August 5, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I recall (not first hand of course) that in the times when David fought Goliath the standard policy was to have the strongest man from each army fight, and the rest of the armies just watched, although I could have heard it wrong, or remembered it wrong. Maybe it was just a one time thing. whatever, i hope i just jogged the memory of someone who knows about this better than i do.
  • August 5, 2012
    RJSavoy
    I've been thinking of this myself, for a setting in which humans have a federation of colonies and the aliens they've encountered are no higher than smelting metal. But they have a military because they need a peacekeeping force for occasional small conflicts between colonists, and to pursue an inter-planet crime network.

    But the trouble I see here is that "unnecessary" requires good knowledge of the political situation, which the author might not always provide. At best this will be a piece of Fridge Logic.

    Maybe change this to "Inactive Army"? When it hasn't been called up for so long that only some old veterans have any experience.

    On a historical note: standing professional armies only became common around the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Before then the norm was that a force would be "leveed" as needed, and able men were expected to train regularly and the local lord or town council would have weapons ready for them. It's what we call reservists nowadays. So in essence, the infrastructure and personnel of an army was always present even though the actual force was not. And since the army depended on tradition, it had to be kept up at all times no matter how remote war was.
  • August 5, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Sparta is known for having a professional standing army, then again sparta is well known because what it was doing wasn't normal. the reason they had it was to keep their slaves in check.
  • August 5, 2012
    Ghilz
    Sparta was also regularly at war, so not exactly an example.
  • August 5, 2012
    VindicareGlint
    I'm not sure there is such a thing as an "unnecessary" army, unless you're in a Sugar Bowl or something similar. No matter the political situation, there will always be rebels (of either variety), bandits, dangerous wild animals, shady organisations... While you could expect the police to handle some of it, they can't handle everything. Also there's the question of whether City Guards should be considered part of an army.

    As for Switzerland... armed neutrality is quite a bit more reliable than unarmed neutrality. Other countries are less inclined to mess with you when you have a lot of guns and people trained to use them. They also use their army for various peacekeeping missions around the world.
  • August 6, 2012
    dragonslip
    sorry

    don't know how to get the original back
  • August 7, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In the Planet Of The Apes TV series there's a gorilla army even though there isn't anyone to fight, since all the apes are on the same side and the humans are no risk - except the two protagonists, and the army long predates their arrival. OTOH, in the Planet Verse gorillas are very aggressive apes; if they didn't have an army to be in they'd really make trouble.
  • August 7, 2012
    Antigone3
    Possibly Iftel as portrayed in the Mage Storms trilogy. They've been tucked safely inside a magical barrier that keeps their enemies out since the original Cataclysm, but most of the population trains for combat just in case the barrier fails.
  • August 7, 2012
    dragonslip
    Historical villain upgrade is subjective (because what makes some one a villain is subjective) Pornmanser is subjective (because charm is subjective) Many many more tropes are subjective because they are to do with a character exhibiting a trait that is in the eye of the beholder

  • August 7, 2012
    Cider
    Porno manser is not subjective. Whether or not someone is charming to the viewer maybe, whether or not sex is always happening to this character in the story is not. Historical villain upgrade is not subjective. Whether or not you thought someone was bad in real life is, whether or not their fictional counterpart is engaged in more heinous acts than the real life version is not, nor is the fictional counterpart being more dangerous in general. (Stalin Good or Bad? Regardless, he never had a shrink ray and he never used it in an attempt to wipe out the united states)

    Is Jimmy having sex on screen, all the time, to the point it could be considered a character trait? Pornomancer.
  • August 7, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Note on the so-called "Real Life" example, the majority of Swiss do not consider their army "unnecessary". The last time they were threatened is still within living memory (WWII), a number of smaller European countries depend on them for defense (Vatican City, Liechtenstein, etc), and some towns have a tradition of bringing weapons to polling places.
  • August 7, 2012
    CobraPrime
    Worth pointing out that historically, in many places, the Army pulled double duty as law enforcement. So in a setting without enemies, the army can still be justified: They are the cops, as there are no other form of law enforcement. Happened IRL too, Ancient Rome being a particular example.
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