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A military dictatorship is a form of government wherein the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military.[Clarification needed]

A military dictatorship may have political rather than military leaders where they are appointed and kept in place by the military.

Like any dictatorship, a military dictatorship may be official or unofficial. It consequently may not actually qualify as stratocratic. Mixed forms also exist, wherein the military exerts a very strong influence without being entirely dominant.

Types[edit | edit source]

Since 1945 Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East have been common areas for all military dictatorships. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the military often has more cohesion and institutional structure than most of the civilian institutions of society.[citation needed]

The typical military dictatorship in Latin America was ruled by a junta (derived from a Spanish word which can be translated as "conference" or "board"), or a committee composed of several officers, often from the military's most senior leadership, but in other cases less senior, as evidenced by the term colonels' regime, where the military leaders remained loyal to the previous regime. Other military dictatorships are entirely in the hands of a single officer, sometimes called a caudillo, usually the senior army commander. In either case, the chairman of the junta or the single commander may often personally assume office as head of state.

In the Middle East and Africa, military governments more often came to be led by a single powerful person, and were in addition to military dictatorships. Leaders like Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Sani Abacha, Muammar Gaddafi, and Gamal Abdul Nasser worked to develop a personality cult and became the face of the nation inside and outside their countries.

Creation and evolution[edit | edit source]

Most military dictatorships are formed after a coup d'état has overthrown the previous government. One very different pattern was the one followed by Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq and Kim Il-sung's regime in North Korea, both of which began as one-party states, but over the course of their existence turned into military dictatorships as their leaders donned uniforms and the military became closely involved in the government.

Conversely, other military dictatorships may gradually restore significant components of civilian government while the senior military commander still maintains executive political power. In Pakistan, ruling Generals Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (1977–1988) and Pervez Musharraf (1999–2008) have held singular referendums to elect themselves President of Pakistan for additional terms forbidden by the constitution.

Justification[edit | edit source]

In the past, military juntas have justified their rule as a way of bringing political stability for the nation or rescuing it from the threat of "dangerous ideologies". For example, in Latin America, the threat of communism was often used. Military regimes tend to portray themselves as non-partisan, as a "neutral" party that can provide interim leadership in times of turmoil, and also tend to portray civilian politicians as corrupt and ineffective. One of the almost universal characteristics of a military government is the institution of martial law or a permanent state of emergency.

Current cases[edit | edit source]

Country Formerly Military dictatorship adopted Event
Fiji Fiji Parliamentary republic December 5, 2006 2006 Fijian coup d'état
North Korea North Korea Single-party state September 5, 1998 The National Defence Commission of North Korea declared itself the highest authority
Central African Republic Central African Republic Semi-presidential republic March 24, 2013 Central African Republic conflict (2012–13)

Past cases[edit | edit source]

Note: due to the large number of historic regimes that could arguably be classed as military dictatorships, this list is limited to those administrations in power from the 19th century onwards. Also, some regimes such as Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, while they could arguably be listed below, and while they pursued considerable aggressive and expansionist strategies, were not strictly run by the military.

Africa[edit | edit source]

Mengistu Haile Mariam, Aman Mikael Andom and Atnafu Abate, leaders of the Ethiopian military junta.

The Americas[edit | edit source]

  •  Argentina (1930–1932; 1943–1946; 1955–1958; 1966–1973; 1976–1983)
  •  Bolivia (1839–1843; 1848; 1857–1861; 1861; 1864–1872; 1876–1879; 1899; 1920–1921; 1930–1931; 1936–1940; 1946–1947; 1951–1952; 1964–1966; 1970–1982)
  •  Brazil (1889–1894; 1930–1946; 1964–1985)
  •  Chile (1924–1925; 1927–1931; 1973–1990)
  •  Colombia (1953–1958)
  •  Costa Rica (1868–1870; 1876–1882; 1917–1919)
  •  Cuba (1933; 1952–1959)
  •  Dominican Republic (1899; 1930–1961)
  •  Ecuador (1876–1883; 1935–1938; 1947; 1963–1966; 1972–1979)
  •  El Salvador (1885–1911; 1931–1979)
  •  Guatemala (1944–1945; 1954–1957; 1957–1966; 1970–1986)
  •  Haiti (1950; 1956–1957; 1957–1990; 1991–1994)
  •  Honduras (1956–1957; 1963–1971; 1972–1982)
  •  Mexico (1876; 1877–1880; 1884–1911)
  •  Nicaragua (1937–1956; 1967–1979)
  •  Panama (1968–1989)
  •  Paraguay (1940–1948; 1954–1989)
  •  Peru (1842–1844; 1865–1867; 1872; 1879–1881; 1914–1915; 1930–1931; 1948–1950; 1962–1963; 1968–1980)
  •  Suriname (1980–1988)
  •  Uruguay (1865–1868; 1876–1879; 1933–1938; 1973–1985)
  •  Venezuela (1858–1859; 1859–1861; 1861–1863; 1908–1913; 1922–1929; 1931–1935; 1948–1958)

Asia-Pacific[edit | edit source]

Europe[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=milatery+dictatorship&fr=yset_chr_cnewtab&type=default
  2. https://military.wikia.com/wiki/Military_dictatorship
  3. https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrJ7Jzu6T1coj4A.llXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyY3VucDBuBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjY4MjFfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=milatery+dictatorship&fr=yset_chr_cnewtab
  4. https://www.reference.com/government-politics/military-dictatorship-65361640a260c705
  5. https://www.reference.com/government-politics/military-dictatorship-65361640a260c705
  6. http://www.nigeriansinamerica.com/articles/751/1/Letter-From-London-Another-October-More-Khakistocracy/Page1.html
  7. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11127-009-9491-2
  8. https://www.sfgate.com/books/article/Freed-from-a-prison-of-thought-in-Nigeria-2675657.php
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship
  10. https://desicritics.org/2007/08/07/031115.php
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship
  12. http://dictionary.sensagent.com/MILITARY%20DICTATORSHIP/en-en/
  13. https://www.reference.com/government-politics/military-dictatorship-65361640a260c705
  14. http://dictionary.sensagent.com/MILITARY%20DICTATORSHIP/en-en/

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