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At the height of the British Empire, photographs of naval and military commanders were a popular subject for eagerly collected cigarette cards. The one shown here, from the turn of the 20th century, depicts then-Captain Jellicoe (later Admiral Jellicoe of World War I) in command of HMS Centurion, the flagship of the Royal Navy's China Station. CaptainJ.R.Jellicoe.jpg
At the height of the British Empire, photographs of naval and military commanders were a popular subject for eagerly collected cigarette cards. The one shown here, from the turn of the 20th century, depicts then-Captain Jellicoe (later Admiral Jellicoe of World War I) in command of HMS Centurion, the flagship of the Royal Navy's China Station.

Militarism is the belief or the desire of a government or a people that a state should maintain a strong military capability and to use it aggressively to expand national interests and/or values. [1] It may also imply the glorification of the military and of the ideals of a professional military class and the "predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state" [2] (see also: stratocracy and military junta).

Military Organization primarily tasked with preparing for and conducting war

A military is a heavily-armed, highly-organised force primarily intended for warfare, also known collectively as armed forces. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force and in certain countries, Marines and Coast Guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats.

A stratocracy is a form of government headed by military chiefs. It is not the same as a military dictatorship or military junta where the military's political power is not enforced or even supported by other laws. Rather, stratocracy is a form of military government in which civil and military service are difficult to distinguish, where the state and the military are traditionally or constitutionally the same entity, and that government positions are always occupied by commissioned officers and military leaders.

A military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term junta comes from Spanish and Portuguese and means committee, specifically a board of directors. Sometimes it becomes a military dictatorship, though the terms are not synonymous.


Militarism has been a significant element of the imperialist or expansionist ideologies of several nations throughout history. Prominent examples include the Ancient Assyrian Empire, the Greek city state of Sparta, the Roman Empire, the Aztec nation, the Kingdom of Prussia, the Habsburg/Habsburg-Lorraine Monarchies, the Ottoman Empire, the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, the Italian Empire during the rule of Benito Mussolini, the German Empire, the British Empire, and the First French Empire under Napoleon.

Imperialism Policy or ideology of extending a nations rule over foreign nations

Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending a nation's rule over foreign nations, often by military force or by gaining political and economic control of other areas. Imperialism was both normal and common worldwide throughout recorded history, the earliest examples dating from the mid-third millennium BC, diminishing only in the late 20th century. In recent times, it has been considered morally reprehensible and prohibited by international law. Therefore, the term is used in international propaganda to denounce an opponent's foreign policy.

Expansionism Wikimedia disambiguation page

In expansionism, governments and states expand their territory, power, wealth or influence through economic growth, soft power, or the military aggression of empire-building and colonialism.

Assyria Major Mesopotamian East Semitic kingdom

Assyria, also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC until its collapse between 612 BC and 609 BC - spanning the periods of the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. From the end of the seventh century BC to the mid-seventh century AD, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers such as the Parthian and early Sasanian Empires between the mid-second century BC and late third century AD, the final part of which period saw Mesopotamia become a major centre of Syriac Christianity and the birthplace of the Church of the East.

By nation


Prussian (and later German) Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, right, with General Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, left, and General Albrecht von Roon, centre. Although Bismarck was a civilian politician and not a military officer, he wore a military uniform as part of the Prussian militarist culture of the time. From a painting by Carl Steffeck Carl Steffeck-Reille1884,Ruhmeshalle-3.JPG
Prussian (and later German) Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, right, with General Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, left, and General Albrecht von Roon, centre. Although Bismarck was a civilian politician and not a military officer, he wore a military uniform as part of the Prussian militarist culture of the time. From a painting by Carl Steffeck

The roots of German militarism can be found in 18th and 19th-century Prussia and the subsequent unification of Germany under Prussian leadership. During the 17th century reign of the "Great Elector" Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, Brandenburg-Prussia increased its military to 40,000 men and began an effective military administration overseen by the General War Commissariat. In order to bolster his power both in interior and foreign matters, so-called Soldatenkönig ("soldier king") Frederick William I of Prussia started his large-scale military reforms in 1713, thus beginning the country's tradition of a high military budget by increasing the annual military spending to 73% of the entire annual budget of Prussia. By the time of his death in 1740, the Prussian Army had grown into a standing army of 83,000 men, one of the largest in Europe, at a time when the entire Prussian populace made up 2.5 million people. Prussian military writer Georg Heinrich von Berenhorst (see German Wikipedia) would later write in hindsight that ever since the reign of the soldier king, Prussia always remained "not a country with an army, but an army with a country" (a quote often misattributed to Voltaire and Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau). [3] From the 1740s up until the 1760s, Frederick the Great would use the country's impressive military forces built up by his predecessors in a long succession of wars of aggression that effectively elevated Prussia from a small to a large power in Europe.[ citation needed ]

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital first in Königsberg and then, in 1701, in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia

Frederick William was Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, thus ruler of Brandenburg-Prussia, from 1640 until his death in 1688. A member of the House of Hohenzollern, he is popularly known as "the Great Elector" because of his military and political achievements. Frederick William was a staunch pillar of the Calvinist faith, associated with the rising commercial class. He saw the importance of trade and promoted it vigorously. His shrewd domestic reforms gave Prussia a strong position in the post-Westphalian political order of north-central Europe, setting Prussia up for elevation from duchy to kingdom, achieved under his son and successor.

After Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Prussia in 1806, one of the conditions of peace was that Prussia should reduce its army to no more than 42,000 men. In order that the country should not again be so easily conquered, the King of Prussia enrolled the permitted number of men for one year, trained and then dismissed that group, and enrolled another of the same size, and so on. Thus, in the course of ten years, he was able to gather an army of 420,000 men who had at least one year of military training. The officers of the army were drawn almost entirely from among the land-owning nobility. The result was that there was gradually built up a large class of professional officers on the one hand, and a much larger class, the rank and file of the army, on the other. These enlisted men had become conditioned to obey implicitly all the commands of the officers, creating a class-based culture of deference.[ citation needed ]

Napoleon 19th century French military leader and politician

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader of Italian descent who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

Nobility Official privileged social class

Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary, and vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", nobles can also carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is typically hereditary.

Social class Hierarchical social stratification

A social class is a set of subjectively defined concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes.

This system led to several consequences. Since the officer class also furnished most of the officials for the civil administration of the country, the interests of the army came to be considered as identical to the interests of the country as a whole. A second result was that the governing class desired to continue a system which gave them so much power over the common people, contributing to the continuing influence of the Junker noble classes.[ citation needed ]

Junker German nobility title

Junker is a noble honorific, derived from Middle High German Juncherre, meaning "young nobleman" or otherwise "young lord". The term is traditionally used throughout the German-speaking, Dutch-speaking and Scandinavian-speaking parts of Europe. It also was used in the Russian Empire due to Baltic German influence, up until the Russian Revolution. The term is currently still in use by the Georgian Defense Forces, for Student officers of the Military Academy, who are being prepared to serve in the army as senior Officers.

Militarism in the Third Reich Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H12148, Nurnberg, Reichsparteitag.jpg
Militarism in the Third Reich

Militarism in Germany continued after World War I and the fall of the German monarchy in the German Revolution of 1918–19, in spite of Allied attempts to crush German militarism by means of the Treaty of Versailles, as the Allies saw Prussian and German militarism as one of the major causes of the Great War. During the period of the Weimar Republic (1918–1933), the 1920 Kapp Putsch, an attempted coup d'état against the republican government, was launched by disaffected members of the armed forces. After this event, some of the more radical militarists and nationalists were submerged in grief and despair into the NSDAP party of Adolf Hitler, while more moderate elements of militarism declined and remained affiliated with the German National People's Party (DNVP) instead.[ citation needed ]

German Revolution of 1918–19 Revolution in 1918–1919 in Germany

The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that later became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution.

Treaty of Versailles one of the treaties that ended the First World War

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to the war. The other Central Powers on the German side signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.

Weimar Republic Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.

Throughout its entire 14-year existence, the Weimar Republic remained under threat of militaristic nationalism, as many Germans felt the Treaty of Versailles humiliated their militaristic culture. The Weimar years saw large-scale right-wing militarist and paramilitary mass organizations such as the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten as well as illegal underground militias such as the Freikorps and the Black Reichswehr. Formed as early as 1920, out of the latter two soon rose the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary branch of the Nazi party. All of these were responsible for the political violence of so-called Feme murders and an overall atmosphere of lingering civil war during the Weimar period. Already during the Weimar era, mathematician and political writer Emil Julius Gumbel published in-depth analyses of the militarist paramilitary violence characterizing German public life as well as the state's lenient to sympathetic reaction to it if the violence was committed by the political Right.[ citation needed ]

The Third Reich that followed the Weimar Republic was a strongly militarist state; after its fall in 1945, militarism in German culture was dramatically reduced as a backlash against the Nazi period, and the Allied Control Council and later the Allied High Commission oversaw a program of attempted fundamental re-education of the German people at large in order to put a stop to German militarism once and for all.[ citation needed ]

The Federal Republic of Germany today maintains a large, modern military and has one of the highest defence budgets in the world, although the defence budget accounts for less than 1.5 percent of Germany's GDP, is lower than e.g., that of France or Great Britain, and does not meet the 2 percent goal,[ further explanation needed ] like most other NATO members.[ citation needed ]


Military parade in India NCCparade, India223.jpg
Military parade in India

The rise of militarism in India dates back to the British Raj with the establishment of several Indian independence movement organizations such as the Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose. The Indian National Army (INA) played a crucial role in pressuring the British Raj after it occupied the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with the help of Imperial Japan, but the movement lost momentum due to lack of support by the Indian National Congress, the Battle of Imphal, and Bose's sudden death.

After India gained independence in 1947, tensions with neighboring Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute and other issues led the Indian government to emphasize military preparedness (see also the political integration of India). After the Sino-Indian War in 1962, India dramatically expanded its military prowess which helped India emerge victorious during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. [4] India became third Asian country in the world to possess nuclear weapons, culminating in the tests of 1998. The Kashmiri insurgency and recent events including the Kargil War against Pakistan, assured that the Indian government remained committed to military expansion.

In recent years the government has increased the military expenditure across all branches and embarked on a rapid modernization programme.


Israel's many Arab–Israeli conflicts since the Declaration of the Establishment of the State have led to a prominence of security and defense in politics and civil society, resulting in many of Israel's former high-ranking military leaders becoming top politicians: Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Ezer Weizman, Ehud Barak, Shaul Mofaz, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Mordechai, and Amram Mitzna.

Israel became the second Asian country in the world to possess nuclear weapons, see Nuclear weapons and Israel.


1939 Recruitment poster for the Tank School of the Imperial Japanese Army Recruitment poster for the Tank School of the Imperial Japanese Army.jpg
1939 Recruitment poster for the Tank School of the Imperial Japanese Army

In parallel with 20th-century German militarism, Japanese militarism began with a series of events by which the military gained prominence in dictating Japan's affairs. This was evident in 15th-century Japan's Sengoku period or Age of Warring States, where powerful samurai warlords ( daimyōs ) played a significant role in Japanese politics. Japan's militarism is deeply rooted in the ancient samurai tradition, centuries before Japan's modernization. Even though a militarist philosophy was intrinsic to the shogunates, a nationalist style of militarism developed after the Meiji Restoration, which restored the Emperor to power and began the Empire of Japan. It is exemplified by the 1882 Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors, which called for all members of the armed forces to have an absolute personal loyalty to the Emperor.

In the 20th century (approximately in the 1920s), two factors contributed both to the power of the military and chaos within its ranks. One was the Cabinet Law, which required the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) to nominate servinet could be formed. This essentially gave the military veto power over the formation of any Cabinet in the ostensibly parliamentary country. Another factor was gekokujō , or institutionalized disobedience by junior officers. [5] It was not uncommon for radical junior officers to press their goals, to the extent of assassinating their seniors. In 1936, this phenomenon resulted in the February 26 Incident, in which junior officers attempted a coup d'état and killed leading members of the Japanese government. The rebellion enraged Emperor Hirohito and he ordered its suppression, which was successfully carried out by loyal members of the military.

In the 1930s, the Great Depression wrecked Japan's economy and gave radical elements within the Japanese military the chance to realize their ambitions of conquering all of Asia. In 1931, the Kwantung Army (a Japanese military force stationed in Manchuria) staged the Mukden Incident, which sparked the Invasion of Manchuria and its transformation into the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. Six years later, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident outside Peking sparked the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). Japanese troops streamed into China, conquering Peking, Shanghai, and the national capital of Nanking; the last conquest was followed by the Nanking Massacre. In 1940, Japan entered into an alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, two similarly militaristic states in Europe, and advanced out of China and into Southeast Asia. This brought about the intervention of the United States, which embargoed all petroleum to Japan. The embargo eventually precipitated the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the U.S. into World War II.

In 1945, Japan surrendered to the United States, beginning the Occupation of Japan and the purging of all militarist influences from Japanese society and politics. In 1947, the new Constitution of Japan supplanted the Meiji Constitution as the fundamental law of the country, replacing the rule of the Emperor with parliamentary government. With this event, the Empire of Japan officially came to an end and the modern State of Japan was founded.

North Korea

North Korean propaganda mural Propaganda of North Korea (6073871366).jpg
North Korean propaganda mural

Sŏn'gun (often transliterated "songun"), North Korea's "Military First" policy, regards military power as the highest priority of the country. This has escalated so much in the DPRK that one in five people serves in the armed forces, and the military has become one of the largest in the world.

Songun elevates the Korean People's Armed Forces within North Korea as an organization and as a state function, granting it the primary position in the North Korean government and society. The principle guides domestic policy and international interactions. [6] It provides the framework of the government, designating the military as the "supreme repository of power". It also facilitates the militarization of non-military sectors by emphasizing the unity of the military and the people by spreading military culture among the masses. [7] The North Korean government grants the Korean People's Army as the highest priority in the economy and in resource-allocation, and positions it as the model for society to emulate. [8] Songun is also the ideological concept behind a shift in policies (since the death of Kim Il-sung in 1994) which emphasize the people's military over all other aspects of state and the interests of the military comes first before the masses (workers).


the Philippine Army in Malolos Bulacan ca.1899 Malolos Filipino Army.jpg
the Philippine Army in Malolos Bulacan ca.1899

In the Pre-Colonial era, the Filipino people had their own forces, divided between the islands which each had its own ruler. They were called Sandig (Guards), Kawal (Knights), and Tanod. They also served as the police and watchers on the land, coastlines and seas. In 1521, The Visayan King of Mactan Lapu-Lapu of Cebu, organized the first recorded military action against the Spanish colonizers, in the Battle of Mactan.

In the 19th century during the Philippine Revolution, Andrés Bonifacio founded the Katipunan, a revolutionary organization against Spain at the Cry of Pugad Lawin. Some notable battles were the Siege of Baler, The Battle of Imus, Battle of Kawit, Battle of Nueva Ecija, the victorious Battle of Alapan and the famous Twin Battles of Binakayan and Dalahican. During Independence, the President General Emilio Aguinaldo established the Magdalo , a faction separate from Katipunan , and he declared the Revolutionary Government in the constitution of the First Philippine Republic.

And during the Filipino-American War, the General Antonio Luna as a High-Ranking General, He Ordered a Conscription to all Citizens, a mandatory form of National Services (at any War's) for the increase the density and the manpower of the Philippine Army.

During World War II, the Philippines was one of the participants, as a member of Allied Forces, the Philippines with the U.S. Forces fought the Imperial Japanese Army, (1942–1945) the notable battles is the victorious Battle of Manila, which also called "The Liberation".

During the 1970s the President Ferdinand Marcos declared P.D.1081 or martial law, which also made the Philippines a garrison state. By the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and Integrated National Police (INP), The High-School or Secondary and College Education have a compulsory Curriculum concerning the Military, and nationalism which is the "Citizens Military Training" (CMT) And "Reserve Officers Training Corps" (ROTC). But in 1986, when the constitution changed, this form of National Service Training Program became non-compulsory but still part of the Basic Education. [9]


Russia has also had a long history of Militarism continuing on to the present day driven by her desire to protect her Western Frontier which has no natural buffers between potential invaders in the rest of continental Europe and her heartlands in European Russia. Ever since Peter the Great's reforms, Russia became one of Europe's Great Powers in terms of political and military strength. Through the Imperial era, Russia continued on her quest for territorial expansion into Siberia, Caucasus and into Eastern Europe eventually conquering the majority of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The end of Imperial rule in 1917 meant the loss of some territory following the Brest Litovsk treaty, but much of it was quickly reconquered by the Soviet Union later on, including events such as the partition of Poland and reconquest of the Baltic states in the late 1930's and 40's. Soviet influence reached it's peak after WWII in the Cold War era, where the Soviet Union occuppied virtually all of Eastern Europe in a military alliance known as the Warsaw Pact: the Soviet Army playing a key role.

All this was lost however, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Russia was greatly weaken in what Russia's second President Vladimir Putin called the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th Century. Nevertheless, under Putin's leadership, a resurgent modern Russia has maintained a tremendous amount of geopolitical influence in the countries that spawned from the dissolution of the Soviet Union and modern Russia remains Eastern Europe's leading if not dominant power.


Warning sign at the fence of the military area in Kirklareli, Turkey Kirklareli 5317.jpg
Warning sign at the fence of the military area in Kırklareli, Turkey

Militarism has a long history in Turkey.

The Ottoman Empire lasted for centuries and always relied on its military might, but militarism was not a part of everyday life. Militarism was only introduced into daily life with the advent of modern institutions, particularly schools, which became part of the state apparatus when the Ottoman Empire was succeeded by a new nation state – the Republic of Turkey – in 1923. The founders of the republic were determined to break with the past and modernise the country. There was, however, an inherent contradiction in that their modernist vision was limited by their military roots. The leading reformers were all military men and, in keeping with the military tradition, all believed in the authority and the sacredness of the state. The public also believed in the military. It was the military, after all, who led the nation through the War of Liberation (1919–1923) and saved the motherland.

The first military coup in the history of the republic was on 27th May 1960, which resulted in the hanging of PM Adnan Menderes and 2 ministers, and a new constitution was introduced, creating a Constitutional Court to vet the legislation passed by parliament, and a military-dominated National Security Council to oversee the government affairs similar to the politburo in the Soviet Union. [10] The second military coup took place on 12th March 1971, this time only forcing the government to resign and installing a cabinet of technocrats and bureaucrats without dissolving the parliament. The third military coup took place on 12th September 1980, which resulted in the dissolution of parliament and all political parties as well as imposition of a much more authoritarian constitution. There was another military intervention that was called a "post-modern coup" on 28 February 1997 which merely forced the government to resign, and finally an unsuccessful military coup attempt on 15th July 2016.

The constitutional referendums in 2010 and 2017 have changed the composition and role of the National Security Council, and placed the armed forces under the control of civilian government.

United States

Poster shows Uncle Sam pointing his finger at the viewer in order to recruit soldiers for the American Army during World War I. I want you for U.S. Army 3b48465u original.jpg
Poster shows Uncle Sam pointing his finger at the viewer in order to recruit soldiers for the American Army during World War I.
The cover of a coffee table book about the US Navy. US Navy 050526-N-0000X-001 Cover photo of the new coffee table photo book Defending Freedom.jpg
The cover of a coffee table book about the US Navy.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries political and military leaders reformed the US federal government to establish a stronger central government than had ever previously existed for the purpose of enabling the nation to pursue an imperial policy in the Pacific and in the Caribbean and economic militarism to support the development of the new industrial economy. This reform was the result of a conflict between Neo-Hamiltonian Republicans and Jeffersonian-Jacksonian Democrats over the proper administration of the state and direction of its foreign policy. The conflict pitted proponents of professionalism, based on business management principles, against those favoring more local control in the hands of laymen and political appointees. The outcome of this struggle, including a more professional federal civil service and a strengthened presidency and executive branch, made a more expansionist foreign policy possible. [11]

After the end of the American Civil War the national army fell into disrepair. Reforms based on various European states including Britain, Germany, and Switzerland were made so that it would become responsive to control from the central government, prepared for future conflicts, and develop refined command and support structures; these reforms led to the development of professional military thinkers and cadre.

During this time the ideas of Social Darwinism helped propel American overseas expansion in the Pacific and Caribbean. [12] [13] This required modifications for a more efficient central government due to the added administration requirements (see above).

A pie chart showing global military expenditures by country for 2018, in US$ billions, according to SIPRI. Military Expenditures 2018 SIPRI.png
A pie chart showing global military expenditures by country for 2018, in US$ billions, according to SIPRI.

The enlargement of the U.S. Army for the Spanish–American War was considered essential to the occupation and control of the new territories acquired from Spain in its defeat (Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba). The previous limit by legislation of 24,000 men was expanded to 60,000 regulars in the new army bill on 2 February 1901, with allowance at that time for expansion to 80,000 regulars by presidential discretion at times of national emergency.

U.S. forces were again enlarged immensely for World War I. Officers such as George S. Patton were permanent captains at the start of the war and received temporary promotions to colonel.

Between the first and second world wars, the US Marine Corps engaged in questionable activities in the Banana Wars in Latin America. Retired Major General Smedley Butler, who was at the time of his death the most decorated Marine, spoke strongly against what he considered to be trends toward fascism and militarism. Butler briefed Congress on what he described as a Business Plot for a military coup, for which he had been suggested as leader; the matter was partially corroborated, but the real threat has been disputed. The Latin American expeditions ended with Franklin D. Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy of 1934.

Former President Barack Obama speaking on the military intervention in Libya at the National Defense University. President Barack Obama speaking on the military intervention in Libya at the National Defense University 9.jpg
Former President Barack Obama speaking on the military intervention in Libya at the National Defense University.

After World War II, there were major cutbacks, such that units responding early in the Korean War under United Nations authority (e.g., Task Force Smith) were unprepared, resulting in catastrophic performance. When Harry S. Truman fired Douglas MacArthur, the tradition of civilian control held and MacArthur left without any hint of military coup.

The Cold War resulted in serious permanent military buildups. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a retired top military commander elected as a civilian President, warned, as he was leaving office, of the development of a military-industrial complex. [14] In the Cold War, there emerged many civilian academics and industrial researchers, such as Henry Kissinger and Herman Kahn, who had significant input into the use of military force. The complexities of nuclear strategy and the debates surrounding them helped produce a new group of 'defense intellectuals' and think tanks, such as the Rand Corporation (where Kahn, among others, worked). [15]

It has been argued that the United States has shifted to a state of neomilitarism since the end of the Vietnam War. This form of militarism is distinguished by the reliance on a relatively small number of volunteer fighters; heavy reliance on complex technologies; and the rationalization and expansion of government advertising and recruitment programs designed to promote military service. [16]

The direct military budget of the United States for 2008 was $740,800,000,000. [17]


Hugo Chavez wearing military apparel in 2010. Operemm-2.jpg
Hugo Chávez wearing military apparel in 2010.

Militarism in Venezuela follows the cult and myth of Simón Bolívar, known as the liberator of Venezuela. [18] For much of the 1800s, Venezuela was ruled by powerful, militarists leaders known as caudillos . [19] Between 1892 and 1900 alone, six rebellions occurred and 437 military actions were taken to obtain control of Venezuela. [19] With the military controlling Venezuela for much of its history, the country practiced a "military ethos", with civilians today still believing that military intervention in the government is positive, especially during times of crisis, with many Venezuelans believing that the military opens democratic opportunities instead of blocking them. [19]

Members of the Venezuelan armed forces carrying Chavez eyes flags saying, "Chavez lives, the fight continues". Chavez Vive Militar.jpg
Members of the Venezuelan armed forces carrying Chávez eyes flags saying, "Chávez lives, the fight continues".

Much of the modern political movement behind the Fifth Republic of Venezuela, ruled by the Bolivarian government established by Hugo Chávez, was built on the following of Bolívar and such militaristic ideals. [18]

Since coming to power three years ago, Mr. Maduro has relied increasingly on the armed forces as a spiraling economic crisis pushed his approval ratings to record lows and food shortages led to lootings. ... The armed forces have swiftly repressed all opposition rallies as well as the food riots that flare up daily across the country.

The Wall Street Journal [20]

Venezuela denies the aggressive use of its army, as PSUV and the Bolivarian ideology claim to be anti-imperialist.

See also

Related Research Articles

Turkish Armed Forces Combined military forces of Turkey

The Turkish Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of Turkey. They consist of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard, both of which have law enforcement and military functions, operate as components of the internal security forces in peacetime, and are subordinate to the Ministry of Interior. In wartime, they are subordinate to the Army and Navy. The President of Turkey is the military's overall head.

Axis powers Alliance of countries defeated in World War II

The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.

First Sino-Japanese War 1894–1895 war between the Qing dynasty and the Empire of Japan over influence in Joseon, fought chiefly in Joseon

The First Sino-Japanese War, also known as the Chino-Japanese War, was fought between China and Japan primarily over influence in Korea. After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese land and naval forces and the loss of the port of Weihaiwei, the Qing government sued for peace in February 1895.

Yamagata Aritomo Prime Minister of Japan

Duke Yamagata Aritomo, also known as Yamagata Kyōsuke, was a Japanese field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army and twice Prime Minister of Japan. He was one of the main architects of the military and political foundations of early modern Japan. Yamagata Aritomo can be seen as the father of Japanese militarism.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern State of Japan.

Commander-in-chief supreme commanding authority of a military

A commander-in-chief, also called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government.

Werner von Blomberg German General Staff officer and field marshal

Werner Eduard Fritz von Blomberg was a German General Staff officer, who, after serving at the Western Front during World War I, was appointed chief of the Troop Office during the Weimar Republic and Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the first general to be promoted to Generalfeldmarschall in 1936. His political opponent Hermann Göring confronted him with criminal records among allegations of pornographic activities of his newly wed wife and forced him to resign on 27 January 1938.

Causes of World War II Discussion of the causes of World War II

Among the causes of World War II were, to a greater extent, the political takeover in 1933 of Germany by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party and its aggressive foreign policy, and to a lesser extent, Italian Fascism in the 1920s, and Japanese militarism preceding an invasion of China in the 1930s. The immediate cause was Germany invading Poland on September 1, 1939, and Britain and France declaring war on Germany on September 3, 1939.

Japanese nationalism political ideology

Japanese nationalism is the nationalism that asserts that the Japanese are a monolithic nation with a single immutable culture, and promotes the cultural unity of the Japanese. It encompasses a broad range of ideas and sentiments harbored by the Japanese people over the last two centuries regarding their native country, its cultural nature, political form and historical destiny. It is useful to distinguish Japanese cultural nationalism from political or state-directed nationalism, since many forms of cultural nationalism, such as those associated with folkloric studies, have been hostile to state-fostered nationalism.

Military history of the Soviet Union

The military history of the Soviet Union began in the days following the 1917 October Revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power. In 1918 the new government formed the Red Army, which then defeated its various internal enemies in the Russian Civil War of 1917–22. The years 1918–21 saw defeats for the Red Army in the Polish–Soviet War (1919–21) and in independence wars for Estonia (1918–20), Latvia (1918–20) and Lithuania (1918–19). The Red Army invaded Finland ; fought the Battles of Khalkhin Gol of May–September 1939 against Japan and its client state Manchukuo; it was deployed when the Soviet Union, in agreement with Nazi Germany, took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and occupied the Baltic States, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. In World War II the Red Army became a major military force in the defeat of Nazi Germany and conquered Manchuria. After the war, it occupied East Germany and many nations in central and eastern Europe, which became satellite states in the Soviet bloc.

Korean independence movement independence movement

The Korean independence movement was a military and diplomatic campaign to achieve the independence of Korea from Japan. After the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910, Korea's domestic resistance peaked in the March 1st Movement, which was crushed and sent Korean leaders to flee into China. In China, Korean independence activists built ties with the National Government of the Republic of China which supported the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (KPG), as a government in exile. At the same time, the Korean Liberation Army, which operated under the Chinese National Military Council and then the KPG, led attacks against Japan.

Japanese militarism militaristic ideology espoused by Imperial Japan (1873-1945)

Japanese militarism refers to the ideology in the Empire of Japan that militarism should dominate the political and social life of the nation, and that the strength of the military is equal to the strength of a nation.

Statism in Shōwa Japan

Shōwa Statism was a political syncretism of Japanese extreme right-wing political ideologies, developed over a period of time from the Meiji Restoration. It is sometimes also referred to as Shōwa nationalism or Japanese fascism.

Militarization, or militarisation, is the process by which a society organizes itself for military conflict and violence. It is related to militarism, which is an ideology that reflects the level of militarization of a state, and which is associated with the glorification of the military, armed forces and weapons and of military power, including through symbolic displays and actual use of force, such as through warfare. The process of militarization involves many interrelated aspects that encompass many levels of society.

Allies of World War II Grouping of the victorious countries of World War II

The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.

Military occupations by the Soviet Union

During World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed several countries effectively handed over by Nazi Germany in the secret protocol Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. These included Eastern Poland, as well as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, part of eastern Finland and eastern Romania. Apart from Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and post-war division of Germany, USSR also occupied and annexed Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia in 1945.

Austria–Germany relations Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany

Relations between Austria and Germany are close, due to their shared history and language, with German being the official language and Germans being the largest ethnic group of both countries.

The foreign relations of Nazi Germany were characterized by the territorial expansionist ambitions of Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler, anti-communism and antisemitism. The Nazi regime oversaw Germany's rise as a militarist world power from the state of humiliation and disempowerment it had experienced following its defeat in World War I. From the late 1930s to its defeat in 1945, Germany was the most formidable of the Axis powers - a military alliance between Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy, and their allies and puppet states.

History of Japanese foreign relations

History of Japanese foreign relations deals with the international relations in terms of diplomacy, economics and political affairs from about 1850 to 2000. The kingdom was virtually isolated before the 1850s, with limited contacts through Dutch traders. The Meiji Restoration was a political revolution that installed a new leadership that was eager to borrow Western technology and organization. The government in Tokyo carefully monitored and controlled outside interactions. Japanese delegations to Europe brought back European standards which were widely imposed across the government and the economy. Trade flourished, as Japan rapidly industrialized.


  1. New Oxford American Dictionary (2007)
  2. "Militaristic - definition of militaristic by The Free Dictionary".
  3. Aus dem Nachlasse von Georg Heinrich von Berenhorst. Herausgegeben von Eduard von Bülow. Erste Abteilung 1845. Verlag von Aue in Dessau.S. 187 Rezension in Literaturblatt (Beilage zum Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände ) No. 48 vom 7. Juli 1846, S. 191 rechts oben
  4. Srinath Raghavan, 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh (Harvard Univ. Press, 2013).
  5. "Strengths and Weaknesses in the Decision-Making Process" Craig AM in Vogel, EM (ed.), Modern Japanese Organization and Decision-Making, University of California Press, 1987.
  6. Vorontsov, Alexander V (26 May 2006). "North Korea's Military-First Policy: A Curse or a Blessing?". Brookings Institution. Archived from the original on 31 May 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
  7. New Challenges of North Korean Foreign Policy By K. Park
  8. Jae Kyu Park, "North Korea since 2000 and prospects for Inter Korean Relations", 19 January 2006, <> 12 May 2007.
  9. Militarism in the Philippines. 2005.
  10. Columnist M. Ali Kışlalı cites Army commander Faruk Gürler for this comparison in his article "MGK değişti ama" in the newspaper "Radikal", dated 4 July 2007.
  11. Fareed Zakaria, From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role (Princeton Univ. Press, 1998), chap.4.
  12. Richard Hofstadter (1992). Social Darwinism in American Thought. Beacon Press. ISBN   978-0-8070-5503-8.
  13. Spencer Tucker (2009). The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. ISBN   978-1-85109-951-1.
  14. Audra J. Wolfe, Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2013), chap.2.
  15. Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon (1983, reissued 1991).
  16. Roberts, Alasdair. The Collapse of Fortress Bush: The Crisis of Authority in American Government. New York: New York University Press, 2008, 14 and 108–117.
  17. 1 2 Uzcategui, Rafael (2012). Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle. See Sharp Press. pp. 142–149. ISBN   9781937276164.
  18. 1 2 3 Block, Elena (2015). Political Communication and Leadership: Mimetisation, Hugo Chavez and the Construction of Power and Identity. Routledge. pp. 74–91. ISBN   9781317439578.
  19. Kurmanaev, Anatoly (12 July 2016). "Venezuelan President Puts Armed Forces in Charge of New Food Supply System". Dow Jones & Company, Inc. The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 25 July 2016.

Further reading