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  • Major Race vs. Minor Race

    What makes a major race a major race (i.e. Minbari) or a minor race a minor race (i.e. Drazi)? It seems like it's pretty arbitrary, and I've just been thinking about this today.

    Jon
    Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
    True Believer Reviews: Comic Reviews and Interviews on Wednesdays and Fridays - Or Your Money Back!

  • #2
    I'd say:
    Technology level (both military and non-military)
    Amount of territory possessed
    Strength of economic influence

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by vacantlook
      I'd say:
      Technology level (both military and non-military)
      Amount of territory possessed
      Strength of economic influence
      Just like major and minor nations.

      In all seriousness, the Minbari, Cenaturi and Vorlons (about whom very little was known prior to B5) were all "major races" by virtue of seniority, technology and military and political power. The Narn advanced to the ranks of major races by evicting the Centauri, then by rapidly colonizing abandoned Centauri outposts and replacing them was overlords of weaker races along the Narn border. (I think the number of colonies, especially outside the home system, is also a measure of how a race "ranks".)

      The Humans made their mark first by providing the margin of victory in the war between the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and the Dilgar. (The deliberate analogy, imperfect as all analogies are, is with America's emergence as a world power after it intervened on the side of the Allies against the Central Powers in WWI.) Their status was then elevated by the odd fact that the Minbari surrendered to them on the eve of victory in a near-genocidal war. Nobody quite knew what to make of that, but everyone seemed to think treating the Humans with increased, somewhat wary, respect made sense.

      Regards,

      Joe
      Last edited by Joseph DeMartino; 11-01-2006, 08:29 PM.
      Joseph DeMartino
      Sigh Corps
      Pat Tallman Division

      Comment


      • #4
        The humans are obviously the youngest of the major powers and as joe said are "major" thanks to their winning the Dilgar war and surviving the Minbari war, I would hazard that simply making the Minbari fight for three years was a sign that humanity knew how to fight.

        Also Earth Force possesses in the Omega class destroyer and star fury fighter war material that far outweighs anything the LoNAW or Narn can bring to bear and is in some instances broadly equal to centauri ships. Added to the number of colonies earth possesses means that they have plenty of manpower to fight a war.

        However surely the major point, as delenn points out, is that Humans form communities. By that token earth attracts lots of trade and commerce and can be seen to be constantly growing in terms of stature. Thus they get respect from everyone because while they might not be the dominant force at the time, they will be in the future.

        ( on a side note the emergence of the states after WW1 had more to do with their lending the British Empire the money to prosecute the war rather than their military efforts...instead of learning the lessons the Brits and French had painfully gained, the americans arrogantly thought they could win the war alone and got slaughterd 1916 style in their first half dozen engagements while the british broke the hindenberg line and forced the kaiser to sue for peace)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by prometheous
          (on a side note the emergence of the states after WW1 had more to do with their lending the British Empire the money to prosecute the war rather than their military efforts...instead of learning the lessons the Brits and French had painfully gained, the americans arrogantly thought they could win the war alone and got slaughterd 1916 style in their first half dozen engagements while the british broke the hindenberg line and forced the kaiser to sue for peace)
          Interesting. I'd argue that mass slaughters of 1914-1916 arose from Anglo-British arrogance in not applying the lessons of the American Civil war a half-century earlier (especially the trench warfare around Petersburg, which was a virtual dress rehearsal for the western front) - still sending massed infantry into the teeth of modern rifled weapons, artillary and machine gun fire.

          However the point about WWI was simply that had the Americans not provided the critical reserves of materiel and especially manpower at the critical moment, the Allies probably would have sued for peace. Both sides were exhausted, and almost literally bled white. The Germans were closer to a war-winning formula with their infilitration techniques than the allies were with their tanks, and nobody had the reserves to continue the fighting very much longer. Knowing that the unblooded Yanks were on the way and that a virtually unlimited supply of manpower was now available stiffened Allied resistance - and made it clear to the realists on the German side that they were either going to have to win before the Americans completed their training and were deployed or lose the war. (And led the German military leadership to force the Kaiser to adbicate. I don't think he's the one who sued for peace - pretty sure it was the post-Imperial government.)

          I'll pass over the degree to which American battle problems were the result of using French weapons, including the worst machine gun ever deployed by a major power. It is true that American insistance on keeping their units intact and fighting under their own officers meant relearning hard lessons, but the 'repple-depple' system of piecemeal replacements in WWII - which is basically how the Brits and French wanted to use American reinforcements - produced even higher casualties among the new troops, who tended to have a shockingly short combat lifetime. Experience showed that sending in whole units of new men as units produced fewer casualties and greater gains in combat experience and efficiency. And while it is true that they suffered high casualties in their early engagements, it is also true that they learned their lessons and adapted their tactics to the changing situation on the ground a hell of a lot faster than their British or French (or German) counterparts did. ("The American solider knows less, but learns faster, than any solider in the world." - Erwin Rommel)

          Regards,

          Joe
          Joseph DeMartino
          Sigh Corps
          Pat Tallman Division

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino
            Just like major and minor nations.

            In all seriousness, the Minbari, Cenaturi and Vorlons (about whom very little was known prior to B5) were all "major races" by virtue of seniority, technology and military and political power. The Narn advanced to the ranks of major races by evicting the Centauri, then by rapidly colonizing abandoned Centauri outposts and replacing them was overlords of weaker races along the Narn border. (I think the number of colonies, especially outside the home system, is also a measure of how a race "ranks".)

            The Humans made their mark first by providing the margin of victory in the war between the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and the Dilgar. (The deliberate analogy, imperfect as all analogies are, is with America's emergence as a world power after it intervened on the side of the Allies against the Central Powers in WWI.) Their status was then elevated by the odd fact that the Minbari surrendered to them on the eve of victory in a near-genocidal war. Nobody quite knew what to make of that, but everyone seemed to think treating the Humans with increased, somewhat wary, respect made sense.

            Regards,

            Joe

            Cool. While the WW1 discussion is interesting, I don't know enough about it to comment. What I was really wondering about was the Human/Narn situation and how they were considered powerful. It was pretty obvious why the Minbari/Centauri were. But those explanations are good enough for me

            Jon
            Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
            True Believer Reviews: Comic Reviews and Interviews on Wednesdays and Fridays - Or Your Money Back!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino
              Interesting. I'd argue that mass slaughters of 1914-1916 arose from Anglo-British arrogance in not applying the lessons of the American Civil war a half-century earlier (especially the trench warfare around Petersburg, which was a virtual dress rehearsal for the western front) - still sending massed infantry into the teeth of modern rifled weapons, artillary and machine gun fire.

              However the point about WWI was simply that had the Americans not provided the critical reserves of materiel and especially manpower at the critical moment, the Allies probably would have sued for peace. Both sides were exhausted, and almost literally bled white. The Germans were closer to a war-winning formula with their infilitration techniques than the allies were with their tanks, and nobody had the reserves to continue the fighting very much longer. Knowing that the unblooded Yanks were on the way and that a virtually unlimited supply of manpower was now available stiffened Allied resistance - and made it clear to the realists on the German side that they were either going to have to win before the Americans completed their training and were deployed or lose the war. (And led the German military leadership to force the Kaiser to adbicate. I don't think he's the one who sued for peace - pretty sure it was the post-Imperial government.)

              I'll pass over the degree to which American battle problems were the result of using French weapons, including the worst machine gun ever deployed by a major power. It is true that American insistance on keeping their units intact and fighting under their own officers meant relearning hard lessons, but the 'repple-depple' system of piecemeal replacements in WWII - which is basically how the Brits and French wanted to use American reinforcements - produced even higher casualties among the new troops, who tended to have a shockingly short combat lifetime. Experience showed that sending in whole units of new men as units produced fewer casualties and greater gains in combat experience and efficiency. And while it is true that they suffered high casualties in their early engagements, it is also true that they learned their lessons and adapted their tactics to the changing situation on the ground a hell of a lot faster than their British or French (or German) counterparts did. ("The American solider knows less, but learns faster, than any solider in the world." - Erwin Rommel)

              Regards,

              Joe
              Not denying that mass incompetence by the anglo-french command led to horrendous casualties that could/should have been avoided, just noting that the analogy is incorrect, a better analogy would be america in WW2. While it's true the doughboys provided manpower to take over sections of the line that the french could no longer hold (having been bled white since verdun) its also true that the decisive battles of the war from amiens - Ludendorrf called august 8th - the day of the battle -the black day of the german army since it was not only a desicive win for the British but also the first time that German troops had surrendered on masse rather than retreat, indicating that they had lost the will to win after the failure of the spring offensive - which was initself stopped mainly by British troops. The major battles for the Hindenberg line after this were won in the main by the British Empire - the largest allied army and the only one that had both the manpower and experience to win the war.

              I mean no disrespect to america or its servicemen who have died for your country, its just that the other day I was reading an American history book about the first war and its interesting to note that the author truly believed that his nation won world war 1 single handed! Its a common theme I've found in American history that it tends to be self serving, overly critical of everyone else and prone to painting america as the 'good guys' and the other side as the 'bad guys'

              Given the high standard of american literature I find it hard to square with their inability to look at themselves disspationatly or with a sense of humour
              Last edited by prometheous; 11-03-2006, 04:36 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by prometheous
                Not denying that mass incompetence by the anglo-french command led to horrendous casualties that could/should have been avoided, just noting that the analogy is incorrect, a better analogy would be america in WW2. While it's true the doughboys provided manpower to take over sections of the line that the french could no longer hold (having been bled white since verdun) its also true that the decisive battles of the war from amiens - Ludendorrf called august 8th - the day of the battle -the black day of the german army since it was not only a desicive win for the British but also the first time that German troops had surrendered on masse rather than retreat, indicating that they had lost the will to win after the failure of the spring offensive - which was initself stopped mainly by British troops. The major battles for the Hindenberg line after this were won in the main by the British Empire - the largest allied army and the only one that had both the manpower and experience to win the war.

                I mean no disrespect to america or its servicemen who have died for your country, its just that the other day I was reading an American history book about the first war and its interesting to note that the author truly believed that his nation won world war 1 single handed! Its a common theme I've found in American history that it tends to be self serving, overly critical of everyone else and prone to painting america as the 'good guys' and the other side as the 'bad guys'

                Given the high standard of american literature I find it hard to square with their inability to look at themselves disspationatly or with a sense of humour
                Curious that you would employ a post full of self-serving British chest-thumping to illustrate American self-serving chest-thumping.

                The fact was that the US was a major power long before WWI started. THE US produced as much steel* in 1914 as the next four largest nations in the world combined, for instance, and had a national income three times that of Britain or Germany and almost seven times that of Russia or France.

                Much like the disinterested pre-E-M War Minbari, however, they had limited interest in such European concerns as imperialism and power-balancing.

                No one, however, mistook the US for a minor power before WWI.

                * A stat I always like to quote in class was that Andrew Carnegie was producing more steel in 1901 than all of Great Britain was, and that year he sold out to J.P. Morgan's US Steel Corp; Morgan was so much bigger than he that competition had become difficult.
                I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Does this thread now hold the record for the fewest posts needed to go off-topic?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nah its cool, the question is still about B5
                    Sleeping in Light-----Darnit! Shut the Window.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's pretty much off-topic for my taste ^^

                      @Topic: For me it's some kind of wired that the humans got back to full power after only 11 years after being on the virg of total annihilation. That's a little too fast ^^ 50 years - ok... but not 11

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Whyruss
                        It's pretty much off-topic for my taste ^^

                        @Topic: For me it's some kind of wired that the humans got back to full power after only 11 years after being on the virg of total annihilation. That's a little too fast ^^ 50 years - ok... but not 11

                        Yeah, that was my problem with it too. But Joe had a pretty good explanation for that. The super-powerful Minbari *did* surrender to us. That's some nice PR.
                        Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
                        True Believer Reviews: Comic Reviews and Interviews on Wednesdays and Fridays - Or Your Money Back!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Perhaps achieving the rank of "major race" is like street/prison cred. The Humans proved they were tough - they fought and beat the Dilgar, they fought to the almost bitter end against the Minbari.

                          PS - New guy here, how you all doing?
                          Last edited by BabylonRebel; 11-04-2006, 04:01 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            @Topic: For me it's some kind of wired that the humans got back to full power after only 11 years after being on the virg of total annihilation. That's a little too fast ^^ 50 years - ok... but not 11
                            Why? The Humans lost a lot of military personnel, and a lot of already obsolete war ships. 11 years is half a generation. By the time the war ended they already had a lot of new recruits like Susan Ivanova in the pipeline ready to go. Military outposts were wiped out, but few civilian targets, so the over-all population wasn't much reduced, and most of Earth's commercial infrastructure would have remained intact. (Their strategy, remember, was to destroy the Earth military on the way to the Sol system, then wipe out what was left of the fleet, Earth, Mars and Io, and then exterminate the now defenseless colonies on their way back. Since they by-passed Mars and Io, and never made the attack on Earth, the only people killed before the surrender were those who fought on the Line, a relative handful since so many ships were devoted to evacuating and escorting what could be saved of the civilian population.)

                            Look at it this way: On December 7, 1941 the U.S. Pacific Fleet was virtually destroyed. Most of the capital ships had been sunk or badly damaged (the carriers were not considered capital ships at the time) and thousands of sailors, marines and soldiers had been killed. Hawaii and the entire U.S. west coast were virtually defenseless. But the country's productive capacity was untouched, and many of the ships destroyed were old designs for which replacements were already on the drawing board or being built in the shipyards. By 1945 new Iowa class battelships and fast carriers that far outclassed their predecessors were arriving in the Pacific by the dozens.

                            Or consider Germany after WWI - a wreck with a devastated population. The ravaged by inflation and depression. But in less than 10 years Hitler rebuilt the economy and rebuilt the military to the point where he could launch WWII. And that was starting from a lot worse position.

                            Among other things the Minbari probably paid a huge financial indemenity to the Humans as part of the surrender, and the Humans would have vastly expanded their trade, partly due to access to markets in or near Minbari-controlled space, partly because races that were on the fence about the Humans probably saw them as viable trading partners after their mysterious feat of surviving an attack by the Minbari.

                            And, of course, the Humans would have been motivated to pour everything they could into reforming, improving and expanding EarthForce to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

                            Regards,

                            Joe
                            Joseph DeMartino
                            Sigh Corps
                            Pat Tallman Division

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BabylonRebel
                              Perhaps achieving the rank of "major race" is like street/prison cred. The Humans proved they were tough - they fought and beat the Dilgar, they fought to the almost bitter end against the Minbari.

                              PS - New guy here, how you all doing?
                              Hi BabylonRebel, welcome!

                              I think that military toughness is definitely part of it. I kind of have the impression that Humans got a lot more respect after the Dilgar war. Another thing would be assuming leadership. Sometimes that's not something that's given, it's simply taken. Sort of the way the Humans decided to build the Babylon Project for the sake of preventing further wars due to misunderstanding. None of the other races had ever conceived of such a thing so that automatically put the Humans up a notch.

                              Jan
                              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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