Fieldhouse did not explore and explain the role of the military in the colo- nial relationship; and little has been written to analyze it. There is, however, plentiful literature on the role of force in society generally which at first sight seems to support the concept that military force is the fundamental element in human society. Thus Liddell Hart wrote, "The experience of the past two genera- tions ... has made it plain that force forms the foundation of society as we know it....";5 and Stanislas Andreski neatly summed up this widely accepted premise as follows: "Military organization influences social structure mainly by determin- ing the distribution of naked power…." 6
But later in his book Andreski qualifies this generalization by saying that military might was likely to be the decisive factor in politics in a society where there are "no crystallized and universally accepted beliefs about the legitimacy of power."7 Furthermore an American military theorist who considered battle to be the mechanism that related military force to political power nevertheless has asserted that it is a paradox that force is always most effective when it is not used.8 Raymond Aron, France's distinguished philosopher of war and society, was careful to indicate that force was difficult to measure and was only a part of the reckoning.9 Finally, a study prepared for the International Institute of Strate- gic Studies concluded that force must now more than ever before be orchestrated with a whole range of foreign policy instruments. 10
So, although military authorities often now talk of relative force levels as the decisive instrument in international relations, the consensus of the opinions cited above is that the military element is, and always has been, only part of the process of political and social decision-making. Liddell Hart's grave comment, that the predominance of force in maintaining the social order is a bad reflection on homo sapiens,11 does not give due weight to altruism or to political genius, especially when men live in fear of nuclear annihilation.
How does this analysis of the role of force in international politics relate to the imperial-colonial relationship? Generalization is difficult because colonies varied widely from settlements of Europeans to colonies of conquered non- European peoples, some of which were ancient civilizations and others primitive societies. But Fieldhouse holds that in every case the process of imperial expan- sion was a result of the superior power of western nations in "industrial mecha- nization, improved military techniques and equipment, modern communications, sophisticated finance, scientific medicine and surplus of capital."12 Noticeably he listed military superiority as only one, and not the first, of several factors.
Western imperialism was thus rarely primarily military in organization and spirit. This was certainly the case in the British Empire. In the 1920's India was ruled with a British force that was less in proportion to the population than was the contemporary police force in New York City.13 As a recent study noted, that was "a paltry enough force to hold a subcontinent equivalent in size to Europe