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).

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.

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.

By nation


Carl Steffeck-Reille1884,Ruhmeshalle-3
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 19th-century Prussia and the subsequent unification of Germany under Prussian leadership. 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, 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.

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.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H12148, Nürnberg, Reichsparteitag
Militarism in the Third Reich

Militarism in Germany continued after World War I and the fall of the German monarchy. During the period of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), the 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, while more moderate elements of militarism declined. The Third Reich was a strongly militarist state; after its fall in 1945, militarism in German culture was dramatically reduced as a backlash against the Nazi period.

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, like most other NATO members.


NCCparade, India223
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.[3] 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.


Recruitment poster for the Tank School of the Imperial Japanese Army
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.[4] 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

Propaganda of North Korea (6073871366)
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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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).


Malolos Filipino Army
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.[8]


Kırklareli 5317
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.[9] 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

I want you for U.S. Army 3b48465u original
Poster shows Uncle Sam pointing his finger at the viewer in order to recruit soldiers for the American Army during World War I.
US Navy 050526-N-0000X-001 Cover photo of the new coffee table photo book Defending Freedom
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.[10]

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.[11][12] This required modifications for a more efficient central government due to the added administration requirements (see above).

Military Expenditures 2018 SIPRI
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.

President Barack Obama speaking on the military intervention in Libya at the National Defense University 9
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.[13] 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).[14]

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.[15]

The direct military budget of the United States for 2008 was $740,800,000,000.[16]


Hugo Chávez wearing military apparel in 2010.

Militarism in Venezuela follows the cult and myth of Simón Bolívar, known as the liberator of Venezuela.[17] For much of the 1800s, Venezuela was ruled by powerful, militarists leaders known as caudillos.[18] Between 1892 and 1900 alone, six rebellions occurred and 437 military actions were taken to obtain control of Venezuela.[18] 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.[18]

Chavez Vive Militar
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.[17]

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

See also


  1. ^ New Oxford American Dictionary (2007)
  2. ^ "Militaristic - definition of militaristic by The Free Dictionary".
  3. ^ Srinath Raghavan, 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh (Harvard Univ. Press, 2013).
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ New Challenges of North Korean Foreign Policy By K. Park
  7. ^ Jae Kyu Park, "North Korea since 2000 and prospects for Inter Korean Relations", 19 January 2006, <> 12 May 2007.
  8. ^ Militarism in the Philippines. 2005.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Fareed Zakaria, From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role (Princeton Univ. Press, 1998), chap.4.
  11. ^ Richard Hofstadter (1992). Social Darwinism in American Thought. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-5503-8.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Audra J. Wolfe, Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2013), chap.2.
  14. ^ Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon (1983, reissued 1991).
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ a b Uzcategui, Rafael (2012). Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle. See Sharp Press. pp. 142–149. ISBN 9781937276164.
  18. ^ a b c 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

  • Bacevich, Andrew J. The New American Militarism. Oxford: University Press, 2005.
  • Barr, Ronald J. "The Progressive Army: US Army Command and Administration 1870–1914." St. Martin's Press, Inc. 1998. ISBN 0-312-21467-7.
  • Barzilai, Gad. Wars, Internal Conflicts and Political Order. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1996.
  • Bond, Brian. War and Society in Europe, 1870–1970. McGill-Queen's University Press. 1985 ISBN 0-7735-1763-4
  • Conversi, Daniele 2007 'Homogenisation, nationalism and war’, Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 13, no 3, 2007, pp. 1–24
  • Ensign, Tod. America's Military Today. The New Press. 2005. ISBN 1-56584-883-7.
  • Fink, Christina. Living Silence: Burma Under Military Rule. White Lotus Press. 2001. ISBN 1-85649-925-1.
  • Frevert, Ute. A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription and Civil Society. Berg, 2004. ISBN 1-85973-886-9
  • Huntington, Samuel P.. Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981.
  • Ritter, Gerhard. The Sword and the Scepter; the Problem of Militarism in Germany, translated from the German by Heinz Norden, Coral Gables, Fla., University of Miami Press 1969–73.
  • Shaw, Martin. Post-Military Society: Militarism, Demilitarization and War at the End of the Twentieth Century. Temple University Press, 1992.
  • Tang, C. Comprehensive Notes on World History Hong Kong, 2004.
  • Vagts, Alfred. A History of Militarism. Meridian Books, 1959.
  • Western, Jon. Selling Intervention and War. Johns Hopkins University . 2005. ISBN 0-8018-8108-0

The 1870s continued the trends of the previous decade, as new empires, imperialism and militarism rose in Europe and Asia. The United States was recovering from the American Civil War. Germany unified in 1871 and began its Second Reich. Labor unions and strikes occurred worldwide in the later part of the decade, and continued until World War I. The Reconstruction era of the United States brought a legacy of bitterness and segregation that lasted until the 1960s.

American Union Against Militarism

The American Union Against Militarism (AUAM) was an American pacifist organization established in response to World War I. The organization attempted to keep the United States out of the European conflict through mass demonstrations, public lectures, and the printed word. Failing in that effort with American entry into the war in April 1917, the Union battled against conscription, action which subjected it to state repression, and military intervention.

The organization was eventually dissolved after the war in 1922.


Antimilitarism (also spelt anti-militarism) is a doctrine that opposes war, relying heavily on a critical theory of imperialism and was an explicit goal of the First and Second International. Whereas pacifism is the doctrine that disputes (especially between countries) should be settled without recourse to violence, Paul B. Miller defines anti-militarism as "ideology and activities...aimed at reducing the civil power of the military and ultimately, preventing international war". Cynthia Cockburn defines an anti-militarist movement as one opposed to "military rule, high military expenditure or the imposition of foreign bases in their country". Martin Ceadel points out that anti-militarism is sometimes equated with pacificism—general opposition to war or violence, except in cases where force is deemed absolutely necessary to advance the cause of peace.

Communist terrorism

Communist terrorism describes terrorism carried out in the advancement of, or by groups who adhere to, communism or related ideologies, such as Leninism, Maoism, or Marxism–Leninism. In history communist terrorism has sometimes taken the form of state-sponsored terrorism, supported by communist nations such as the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and Cambodia. In addition, non-state actors such as the Red Brigades, the Front Line and the Red Army Faction have also engaged in communist terrorism. These groups hope to inspire the masses to rise up and begin a revolution to overthrow existing political and economic systems. This form of terrorism can sometimes be called red terrorism or left terrorism.The end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union have been credited with leading to a marked decrease in this form of terrorism. Brian Crozier, founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Conflict, has said that communism was the primary source of both state-sponsored and non-state terrorism.

Council of war

A council of war is a term in military science that describes a meeting held to decide on a course of action, usually in the midst of a battle. Under normal circumstances, decisions are made by a commanding officer, optionally communicated and coordinated by staff officers, and then implemented by subordinate officers. Councils of war are typically held when matters of great importance must be decided, consensus must be reached with subordinates, or when the commanding officer is unsure of his position. The classic council of war includes a discussion and then a vote, often taken without the senior commander present to influence or intimidate the subordinates. The tradition in such meetings is that the officers vote in reverse sequence of their seniority, with the junior officers voting first.

A variation on the traditional council of war is one in which the subordinates vote, but the results are considered merely advisory to the overall commander, who then makes a final decision. Such a meeting was held on July 2, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg, in which Major General George G. Meade, commanding the Union Army of the Potomac, convened his Corps commanders and staff to discuss whether they should withdraw from the battlefield or, if not, whether they should attack Robert E. Lee's Confederate army or await his attack. Historical evidence indicates that Meade had already determined to stay and await Lee's attack, which occurred on July 3, the disastrous attack known as Pickett's Charge. But Meade formed consensus in his staff and improved their confidence by encouraging a two-hour discussion and vote, which resulted in the outcome he was seeking.

In civilian usage, council of war can describe any important meeting, such as in business, that must reach a decision under the pressure of adverse conditions.

Fleet Faction

The Fleet Faction (艦隊派, Kantai-ha) was an unofficial and informal political faction within the Imperial Japanese Navy in the 1920s and 1930s of officers opposed to the conditions imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty.


The Dark/Black Ocean Society (Japanese: 玄洋社, Hepburn: Gen'yōsha) was an influential Pan-Asianist group and secret society active in the Empire of Japan, and was considered to be an ultranationalist group by GHQ in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.

Imperial Way Faction

The Kōdōha or Imperial Way Faction (皇道派) was a political faction in the Imperial Japanese Army active in the 1920s and 1930s. The Kōdōha sought to establish a military government that promoted totalitarian, militarist, and aggressive expansionist ideals, and was largely supported by junior officers. The radical Kōdōha rivaled the moderate Tōseiha (Control Faction) for influence in the army until the February 26 Incident in 1936, when it was de facto dissolved and many supporters were disciplined or executed.

The Kōdōha was never an organized political party and had no official standing within the Army, but its ideology and supporters continued to influence Japanese militarism into the late 1930s.

Japanese militarism

Japanese militarism (日本軍國主義 or 日本軍国主義, Nihon gunkoku shugi) 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.

Left-wing terrorism

Left-wing terrorism (sometimes called Marxist–Leninist terrorism or revolutionary/left-wing terrorism) is terrorism meant to overthrow capitalist systems and replace them with Marxist–Leninist or socialist societies. Left-wing terrorism also occurs within already socialist states, as activism against the current ruling government. It has taken vivid manifestations across the world and presented diverging dynamics and relationships with national governments and political economies.

Militarism heritage tourism

Militarism heritage tourism is where tourists visit former military sites.

Police state

Police state is a term denoting a government that exercises power arbitrarily through the power of the police force. Originally, the term designated a state regulated by a civil administration, but since the beginning of the 20th century it has "taken on an emotional and derogatory meaning" by describing an undesirable state of living characterized by the overbearing presence of the civil authorities. The inhabitants of a police state may experience restrictions on their mobility, or on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force that operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state. Robert von Mohl, who first introduced the rule of law to German jurisprudence, contrasted the Rechtsstaat ("legal" or "constitutional" state) with the anti-aristocratic Polizeistaat ("police state").


Sakurakai, or Cherry Blossom Society (桜会, Sakurakai) was an ultranationalist secret society established by young officers within the Imperial Japanese Army in September 1930, with the goal of reorganizing the state along totalitarian militaristic lines, via a military coup d'état if necessary. Their avowed goal was a Shōwa Restoration, which they claimed would restore the Emperor Hirohito to his rightful place, free of party politics and evil bureaucrats in a new military dictatorship.The Sakurakai was led by Imperial Japanese Army Lieutenant Colonel Kingoro Hashimoto, then chief of the Russian section of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff and Captain Isamu Cho with the support of Sadao Araki. The society began with about ten members, active-duty field grade officers of the Army General Staff, and expanded to include regimental-grade and company-grade officers, so that its membership increased to more than 50 by February 1931, and possibly up to several hundred by October 1931. One prominent leader was Kuniaki Koiso, future Prime Minister of Japan.

"The Sakura group sought political reform: the elimination of party government by a coup d'etat and the establishment of a new cabinet based upon state socialism, in order to stamp out Japan's allegedly corrupt politics, economy, and thought."Twice in 1931 (the March Incident and the Imperial Colors Incident), the Sakurakai and civilian ultranationalist elements attempted to overthrow the government. With the arrest of its leadership after the Imperial Colors Incident, the Sakurakai was dissolved.

Many of its former members migrated to the Toseiha faction within the Army.

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein. Written in a few weeks in reaction to the U.S. suspending nuclear tests, the story was first published as a two-part serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as Starship Soldier, and published as a book by G. P. Putnam's Sons in December 1959.

The story is set in a future society ruled by a world government dominated by a military elite, referred to as the Terran Federation. The first-person narrative follows Juan "Johnny" Rico through his military service in the Mobile Infantry. Rico progresses from recruit to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between humans and an alien species known as "Arachnids" or "Bugs". Interspersed with the primary plot are classroom scenes in which Rico and others discuss philosophical and moral issues, including aspects of suffrage, civic virtue, juvenile delinquency, and war; these discussions have been described as expounding Heinlein's own political views. Starship Troopers has been identified with a tradition of militarism in U.S. science fiction, and draws parallels between the conflict between humans and the Bugs, and the Cold War. A coming-of-age novel, Starship Troopers also critiques U.S. society of the 1950s, argues that a lack of discipline had led to a moral decline, and advocates corporal and capital punishment.Starship Troopers brought to an end Heinlein's series of juvenile novels. It became one of his best-selling books, and is considered his most widely known work. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960, and garnered praise from reviewers for its scenes of training and combat and its visualization of a future military. It also became enormously controversial because of the political views it seemed to support. Reviewers were strongly critical of the book's intentional glorification of the military, an aspect described as propaganda and likened to recruitment. The ideology of militarism and the fact that only military veterans had the right to vote in the novel's fictional society led to it being frequently described as fascist. Others disagree, arguing that Heinlein was only exploring the idea of limiting the right to vote to a certain group of people. Heinlein's depiction of gender has also been questioned, while reviewers have said that the terms used to describe the aliens were akin to racial epithets.Despite the controversy, Starship Troopers had wide influence both within and outside science fiction. Ken MacLeod stated that "the political strand in [science fiction] can be described as a dialogue with Heinlein". Science fiction critic Darko Suvin wrote that Starship Troopers is the "ancestral text of U.S. science fiction militarism" and that it shaped the debate about the role of the military in society for many years. The novel has been credited with popularizing the idea of powered armor, which has since become a recurring feature in science fiction books and films, as well as an object of scientific research. Heinlein's depiction of a futuristic military was also influential. Later science fiction books such as Joe Haldeman's anti-war novel The Forever War have been described as reactions to Starship Troopers. The story has been adapted several times, including in a 1997 film version directed by Paul Verhoeven that sought to satirize what the director saw as the fascist aspects of the novel.

Statism in Shōwa Japan

Shōwa Statism (国家主義, Kokka Shugi) 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.

This statist movement dominated Japanese politics during the first part of the Shōwa period (reign of Hirohito). It was a mixture of ideas such as Japanese ultranationalism, militarism and state capitalism, that were proposed by a number of contemporary political philosophers and thinkers in Japan.


A stratocracy (from στρατός, stratos, "army" and κράτος, kratos, "dominion", "power") 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.

Citizens with mandatory or voluntary military service, or veterans who have been honorably discharged, have the right to elect or govern. The military's administrative, judiciary, and/or legislature powers are supported by law, the constitution, and the society. A stratocracy is considered a form of meritocracy; it does not necessarily need to be autocratic or oligarchic by nature in order to preserve its right to rule.

Treaty Faction

The Treaty Faction (条約派, Jōyaku-ha) was an unofficial and informal political faction within the Imperial Japanese Navy in the 1920s-1930s of officers supporting the Washington Naval Treaty.


The Tōseiha or Control Faction (統制派) was a political faction in the Imperial Japanese Army active in the 1920s and 1930s. The Tōseiha was a grouping of moderate officers united primarily by their opposition to the radical Kōdōha (Imperial Way) faction and its aggressive expansionist and anti-modernization ideals. The Tōseiha rivaled the Kōdōha for influence in the army until the February 26 Incident in 1936, when the Kōdōha was de facto dissolved and many supporters were disciplined or executed. The Tōseiha became the primary influence in the army, but the Kōdōha ideology and its supporters continued to influence Japanese militarism into the late 1930s.

Uyoku dantai

Uyoku dantai (右翼団体, "right wing group[s]") are Japanese ultranationalist far-right groups. In 1996 and 2013, the National Police Agency estimated that there are over 1,000 right-wing groups in Japan with about 100,000 members in total.

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