I'm not saying genocides were great or anything like that. I'm just curious as to why would you leave the conquered population alive, leaving the door open for the possible future revolts when you could just get rid of them once and for all. It possibly could've also prevented the nationalist revolts all around the world originating from the French Revolution.

Again, I'm not saying genocides are good. I'm just curious why wouldn't you trade the conquered population (aliens, the others) for the stability of your nation for your own people. I hope my words didn't turn out to be mean in any way. Thanks in advance.

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    Economic reasons? Moral reasons? I fail to see the point of this question. Even Hitler and Stalin didn't kill everyone, they left most of the conquered populations alive. Dec 2, 2017 at 1:24
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    Because unless you have overpopulation at home and people wanting to emigrate to new lands, the conquered lands are a lot more valuable with people in them. Take for instance India: what on Earth would the British have done with it if it was depopulated? Instead the British convinced a lot of the Indians that they were better off than they had been under their native rulers, so that they adoped a lot of British law and culture. (And this without really trying: they could have done a much better job if they'd put their minds to it.) Besides, genocide is expensive.
    – jamesqf
    Dec 2, 2017 at 2:52
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    Dead people don't farm land. Dead people don't manufacture goods. Dead people don't pay taxes. Dec 2, 2017 at 3:33
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    It simply doesn't make economic sense. Not even to the most monstrous leaders. Most people will accept the inevitable, and keep paying taxes.
    – Jos
    Dec 2, 2017 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


Even the Mongols, who killed over thirty million people in their conquests and were some of the most bloodthirsty invaders on record found it more worthwhile to set themselves up as leaders. Why would they make China a desert when they could make the Chinese build them a pleasure dome?

Invasions occur in search of resources. Land is only one particular resource. People are by far the most useful resource for any ruler. Natural resources without people are useless. Consider that the Roman empire, one of the most successful conquering people, built its power not on the land that it took, but on the people it took. Killing a population upon conquest would be like dumping all the captured gold into the sea. If, say, the Romans had wiped out every person in Gaul, it would have not made them more safe. It would have made them less safe, because they wouldn't have had the people to occupy it and the vacuum would have been damn attractive to all those Germans over the Rhine. Better to create a nice, assimilated Romanized Gaulish population as a buffer between those nasty Germans and Italy.

Keep in mind that the nationalist revolts of the 19th century were the result of an entirely new way of viewing the world. Before than, nationalist revolts were relatively rare. If you look at the history of the great conquering peoples (Macedonian Greeks, Romans, Mongols, etc.) you see little if any "nationalist" revolts against their rule. For most of the common people in those eras, it was just new boss, same as the old boss. Why should they care if their masters spoke German or French? They still owed the rent.

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    Or sometimes, as with the Romans, "new boss better than the old boss", since you got Roman goods, trade, prosperity, and maybe even lower taxes. (Something you'd think any sensible conqueror would do.)
    – jamesqf
    Dec 2, 2017 at 6:16

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