French political leader Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791) is credited with saying, “Prussia was not a country with an army, but an army with a country.” The saying has also been credited to Prussian government minister Friedrich von Schrötter (1743-1815).
The saying, in various forms, continues to be used and has been applied to many countries. “Honduras is an army with a country, not a country with an army” was said in the 1980s. “Pakistan is an army with a country, not country with an army” was cited in 2000; the Pakistan use is, after Prussia, one of the most frequent. “Is the U.S.A. a country with a military to protect it or are the U.S. defense forces a military with a country to support it?” was asked in 2006.
Wikipedia: Prussian Army
An army with a country
The first garrison began construction in Berlin in 1764. While Frederick William I wanted to have a mostly native-born army, Frederick II wanted to have a mostly foreign-born army, preferring to have native Prussians be taxpayers and producers. The Prussian army consisted of 187,000 soldiers in 1776, 90,000 of whom were Prussian subjects in central and eastern Prussia. The remainder were foreign (both German and non-German) volunteers or conscripts. Frederick established the Gardes du Corps as the royal guard. Many troops were disloyal, such as mercenaries or those acquired through impressment, while troops recruited from the canton system displayed strong regional, and nascent national, pride. During the Seven Years’ War, the elite regiments of the army were almost entirely composed of native Prussians.
By the end of Frederick’s reign, the army had become an integral part of Prussian society and numbered 200,000 soldiers. The social classes were all expected to serve the state and its army — the nobility led the army, the middle class supplied the army, and the peasants composed the army. Minister Friedrich von Schrötter remarked that, “Prussia was not a country with an army, but an army with a country”.
dict.cc (English-German Dictionary)
Prussia is not a country with an army, but an army with a country. [
Preußen ist kein Staat mit einer Armee, vielmehr eine Armee, die einen Staat besitzt. [Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Graf von Mirabeau] quote
House of Commons Debate
04 March 1872 vol 209 cc1328-81
As to Prussia, it must be remembered that its system was a compulsory one, and it must not be supposed that compulsion was, so to speak, left at the door when the recruit had entered the Army. In Prussia every department of the public service, every private industry, and every private interest, was made to yield to the great military necessity for which that country might almost be said to exist. It had been said, indeed, that Prussia was not a country with an Army, but an Army with a country.
26 September 1943, The Sunday Courier and Press (Evansville, IN), pg. 11, col. 2:
A brilliant Frenchman once distinguished between “a country that has an army, and an army that has a country.” In speaking of the latter, he must have foreseen the Axis.
Bureaucracy, Aristocracy and Autocracy: The Prussian Experience, 1660-1815
By Hans Rosenberg
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Around 1800, the enlightened Minister von Schrotter, a former professional soldier, summed up the peculiarity of the polity of the Hohenzollerns: “Prussia was not a country with an army, but an army with a country which served as headquarters and food magazine.”
Central America Newspak
And opponents on the left repeat the joke of the 1980s: “Honduras is an army with a country, not a country with an army.”
Google Groups: soc.culture.indian
Number of enterprising teenagers on the rise in Islamic Paradise of Pakistan
12. “Pakistan is an army with a country, not country with an army.” A muslim Indian friend of mine used to say.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 December, 2003, 12:15 GMT
Action urged on Algeria’s missing
By Paul Wood
BBC Middle East correspondent
Algerians themselves have a saying: “Most countries have an army - our army has a country.”
Google Groups: misc.activism.militia
Asking Questions of our “Friends” the Libs!
My, my. Failure to support some ill advised military gamble hurts the troops does it? Let me ask you this; is the U.S.A. a country with a military to protect it or are the U.S. defense forces a military with a country to support it?
Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald
Why Bhutto would be bad for business
November 10, 2007
Pakistanis grumble that other countries have a military but in Pakistan the military has a country. And General Musharraf’s eight-year rule has been party time for men in uniform.
The military millionaires who control Pakistan Inc
Elliot Wilson says Pakistan’s economy is dominated by a ruthless business conglomerate that owns everything from factories and bakeries to farmland and golf courses: the army
Elliot Wilson 16 January 2008
Other countries have armies, but Pakistan’s army has a country.
Three Sides in Search of a Triangle:
By Asad Latif
Singapore: ISEAS (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies) Publishing
Now, the joke — that almost every country has an army but that in Pakistan, the army has a country — might be unfair to Pakistan because, from an historical perspective, both the army and politicians have contributed to national problems.
Issues in Terrorism and Homeland Security:
Selections From CQ Researcher
Edited by CQ Researcher
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
As an old Pakistani joke goes, “All countries have armies, but here, an army has a country.” Although the army is no longer in power, it still has a strong influence on political matters.
Fighting to the End:
The Pakistan Army’s Way of War
By C. Christine Fair
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Pakistanis and analysts of Pakistan have long remarked, with more truth than hyperbole, that while generally countries have armies, in Pakistan, the army has a country. This aphorism reflects the unfortunate history of Pakistan’s floundering attempts at democratization.
There’s an old joke :
All countries have an army
In Pakistan the army has a country 😊
1:27 PM - 19 Jul 2015
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, July 18, 2015 • Permalink