Creation and evolutionMost military dictatorships are formed after a '' '' has overthrown the previous government. There have been cases, however, where the civilian government had been formally maintained but the military exercises '' '' control—the civilian government is either bypassed or forced to comply with the military's wishes. For example, from 1916 until the end of , the was governed as an effective military dictatorship, because its leading generals had gained such a level of control over that the Chancellor and other civilian ministers effectively served at their pleasure. Alternatively, the after 1931 never in any formal way drastically altered the constitutional structure of its government, but from that point, it is typically seen as a military dictatorship, since the Army and Navy had the effective legal right to veto the formation of undesirable governments (and also to compel the resignation of an existing government that had lost their favor), and since key cabinet posts traditionally held by civilians (especially the Premiership) were instead filled by active flag officers. Military dictatorships may gradually restore significant components of government while the senior military commander still maintains executive . As an example, the Chilean military dictatorship under conducted a in 1980 that instituted a new constitution, thus legitimizing the regime's rule.
JustificationIn 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, the threat of , , and 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 or a permanent .
Comparison with other forms of authoritarianismMilitary dictatorships are not the only form of or even, especially in the 21st century, the most common one.
Comparison with monarchiesA military dictatorship is distinct from an , although there are some similarities, especially concerning how the two are (or historically have been) established. Virtually all absolute monarchs (and even most ) are commanders-in-chief of their nations' militaries, wear military uniforms at least on a ceremonial basis and hold military ranks and/or titles. Also, senior members of royal families, especially if they are male and/or heirs apparent or presumptive, are expected to perform military service prior to ascending the throne. Moreover, almost all monarchies (both current and defunct) established themselves over the past centuries and millennia by force of arms. A key difference between a monarchy and a military dictatorship is that once they are established and recognized by their subjects (a process that has often taken many generations) a monarchy typically establishes some form of hereditary succession to legitimately transfer power from generation to generation, and while there historically have been many cases of disputed claims to a throne, attempting to seize power through sheer force of arms without some sort of credible hereditary claim is usually regarded as illegitimate and/or illegal by monarchists. In constitutional monarchies the monarch is usually the commander-in-chief and is often formally the highest-ranking military officer but in practice is expected to defer to the advice of civilian ministers, especially when appointing flag officers who will exercise actual operational command, thus maintaining . On the other hand, modern military dictatorships typically eschew hereditary succession with long-lasting juntas often emphasizing the traditional methods of promotion within the officer ranks as the eventual path to civil power. Military dictatorships which have attempted to establish themselves as monarchies or otherwise implement hereditary succession, whether or not by attempting to establish themselves as monarchies, have often collapsed very quickly. In one example, after deposing and executing King refused all offers to take the Crown, but nevertheless attempted to have power transferred after his death to his son ; however, the younger Cromwell lacked the respect or support of the English military establishment, and was thus quickly forced to relinquish power. In another, a few years after staging a coup and establishing himself as the 's dictator, crowned himself . Although he subsequently married a princess and sired an heir to his newly established throne, Napoleon's claim to power was never fully accepted by French royalists who supported the deposed , nor by other European monarchies. Eventually, Napoleon's armies were defeated and he was forced to abdicate and go into exile. Although eventually re-established the monarchy for a time, his seizure of power might be better described in the context of a civilian dictatorship as described in the next section.
Comparison with civilian dictatorshipA military dictatorship is also different from civilian dictatorship for a number of reasons: their motivations for seizing power, the institutions through which they organize their rule and the ways in which they leave power. Often viewing itself as saving the nation from the corrupt or myopic civilian politicians, a military dictatorship justifies its position as "neutral" arbiters on the basis of their membership within the armed forces, which in many countries are nominally expected to be apolitical institutions. For example, many juntas adopt titles along the lines of "Committee of National Restoration", or "National Liberation Committee". Military leaders often rule as a junta, selecting one of themselves as a head.
Current cases of Military Dictatorships
Africa# ( 1965–1976; 1992–1994; ) # ( 1963–1964; 1965–1968; 1969–1970; ) # ( 1966–1980; 1980–1982; 1982–1983; 1983–1987; 1987–2014) # ( 1966–1974; 1976–1979; 1987–1992) # ( 1966–1979; 1981–1986; 2003–2005; 2013–2014) # ( 1975–1979; 1982–1990; 2021–present) # ( 1990–1994) # ( ) # ( 1968–1969; 1977–1979) # ( 1999–2000) # ( 1953–1956; 1981–2011; 2011–2021) # ( 1979–1992) # ( ) # ( 1994–1996) # ( 1966–1969; 1972–1975; 1975–1979; 1981–1993) # (1984–1990; 2008–2010; 2021–present) # (1980–1984; 1999; 2003; 2012) # ( 1986–1991; 1991–1993) # ( 1980–1986, 1990–1997, 2003–2006) # ( 1969–1977) # (1972–1976) # ( ; ; , 2021–present) # ( 1978–1979; 1979–1992; 2005–2007; 2008–2009) # ( 1974–1987; ; 1996–1999; 2010–2011) # ( ; ; 1975–1976; 1976–1979; ; 1985–1993; 1993–1998; 1998–1999) # ( 1973–1994) # (1995; 2003) # ( 1967–1968; 1992–1996; 1997–1998) # ( 1969–1976; 1980–1991) # ( ; ; 1985–1986; 1989–1993; 2019–present) # ( 1967–2005) # (Bantu Holomisa, 1987–1994) # (Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, 1987–2011) # (Uganda under Idi Amin, 1971–1979; Tito Okello, 1985–1986) # (Gabriel Ramushwana, 1990–1994) # (Mobutu Sese Seko, 1965–1997) # (2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état, 2017–2018)
Americas# (Juan Manuel de Rosas, 1835–1852; 1930 Argentine coup d'état, 1930–1932; 1943 Argentine coup d'état, 1943–1946; Revolución Libertadora, 1955–1958; Argentine Revolution, 1966–1973; National Reorganization Process, 1976–1983) # (1839–1843; 1848; 1857–1861; 1861; 1864–1871; 1876–1879; 1899; 1920–1921; 1930–1931; 1936–1940; 1943–1946; 1951–1952; History of Bolivia (1964–1982), 1964–1982) # (Deodoro da Fonseca, 1889–1891; Floriano Peixoto, 1891–1894; Brazilian Military Junta of 1930, 1930; Estado Novo (Brazil), 1937-1945; Brazilian military government, 1964–1985) # (Government Junta of Chile (1924), 1924–1925; Government Junta of Chile (1925), 1925; Carlos Ibanez del Campo, 1927–1931; Government Junta of Chile (1932), 1932; Military dictatorship of Chile (1973–90), 1973–1990) # (1854; 1953–1958) # (1868–1870; 1876–1882; Dictatorship of the Tinoco Brothers, 1917–1919) # (1933; Fulgencio Batista, 1952–1959) # (1882–1899; Rafael Trujillo, 1930–1961; 1963–1965) # (1876–1883; 1935–1938; 1947; 1963–1966; 1972–1979; 2000) # (1885–1911; Military dictatorship in El Salvador, 1931–1979; Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador, 1979–1982) # (1931–1944; 1944–1945; 1954–1957; 1957–1966; 1970–1986) # (1983) # (1946; Paul Magloire, 1950–1956; 1956–1957; National Council of Government (Haiti), 1986–1990; Raoul Cédras, 1991–1994) # (1933–1949; Military Government Council, 1956–1957; 1963–1971; 1972–1982; 2009 Honduran coup d'état, 2009–2010) # (Centralist Republic of Mexico, 1835–1846; Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1880; Porfirio Díaz, 1884–1911; Victoriano Huerta, 1913–1914; Mexican Dirty War, 1964–1982) # (Somoza family, 1937–1979) # (1903–1904; Manuel Noriega, 1968–1989) # (Higinio Morínigo, 1940–1948; El Stronato, 1954–1989) # (Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco, 1843–1844; Mariano Ignacio Prado, 1865–1868; José Balta, 1868–1872; Nicolás de Piérola, 1879–1881; Óscar R. Benavides, 1914–1915; Luis Miguel Sánchez Cerro, 1930–1933; Óscar R. Benavides, 1933–1939; Manuel Odría, 1948–1956; Ricardo Pérez Godoy, 1962–1963; Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces of Peru, 1968–1980) # (Dési Bouterse, 1980–1991) # (Venancio Flores, 1865–1868; Lorenzo Latorre, 1876–1879; Gabriel Terra, 1933–1938; Civic-military dictatorship of Uruguay, 1973–1985) # (Julián Castro (Venezuelan politician), 1858–1859; José Antonio Páez, 1861–1863; Juan Crisóstomo Falcón, 1863–1868; José Ruperto Monagas, 1869–1870; Joaquín Crespo, 1892–1898; Cipriano Castro, 1899–1908; Juan Vicente Gómez, 1908–1935; Marcos Perez Jimenez, 1948–1958)
Asia# Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan (Abdul Qadir (Afghan communist), 1978) # (Ziaur Rahman, 1975–1981; Hussain Mohammad Ershad, 1982–1990) # Khmer Republic, Cambodia (Cheng Heng, 1970–1972; Lon Nol, 1972–1975; Peter Khoy Saukam, 1975) # Republic of China (1912–1949), China (Dong Zhuo, 189–192; Empire of China (1915–1916), 1915–1916; Zhang Zuolin, 1927-1928; Chiang Kai-shek, 1928–1948; Manchukuo, 1932–1945; Temporary Provisions against the Communist Rebellion, 1948–1991) # Goguryeo (Yeon Gaesomun, 642–665; Yeon Namsaeng, 665; Yeon Namgeon, 665–668) # Goryeo (Goryeo military regime, 1170–1270) # (New Order (Indonesia), 1966–1998) # (Fazlollah Zahedi, 1953–1955; Regency Council (Iran), 1978–1979; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 2005–2013) # (1933–1935; 1936 Iraqi coup d'état, 1936; 1937–1938; Salah al-Din al-Sabbagh, 1941; 1949–1950; 1952–1953; Abd al-Karim Qasim, 1958–1963; Abdul Salam Arif, 1963–1968; Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, 1968–1979) # (Shōgun, 1192–1867; Hideki Tojo, 1941–1944) # (Supreme Council for National Reconstruction, 1961–1963; Third Republic of Korea, 1963–1972; Fourth Republic of Korea, 1972-1979; Fifth Republic of Korea, 1981–1987) # (Sounthone Pathammavong, 1959–1960) # (Michel Aoun, 1988–1990) # (1988 Maldives coup d'état, 1988–1989) # (Khorloogiin Choibalsan, 1939–1952) # (Burmese Way to Socialism, 1962–1988; State Peace and Development Council, 1988–2011; State Administration Council, 2021–present) # Kingdom of Nepal, Nepal (Swarup Singh Karki, 1776–1777; Vamsharaj Pande, 1776–1779; Sarbajit Rana Magar, 1777–1778; Vamsharaj Pande, 1782–1785; Mulkaji, 1785–1804; Bhimsen Thapa, 1806–1837; Rana Jang Pande, 1837; Chautariya Puskhar Shah, 1838–1839; Rana Jang Pande, 1839–1840; Fateh Jung Shah, 1840–1843; Mathabar Singh Thapa, 1843–1845; Fateh Jung Shah, 1845–1846; Rana dynasty, 1848–1951) # (Abdullah al-Sallal, 1962–1967; Ibrahim al-Hamdi, 1974–1977; Ahmad al-Ghashmi, 1977–1978; Abdul Karim Abdullah al-Arashi, 1978; Ali Abdullah Saleh, 1978–1990) # (Mohammad Ayub Khan, 1958–1969; Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, 1969–1971; Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, 1977–1988; Pervez Musharraf, 1999–2008) # (Battle of Gaza (2007), 2007) # (Dictatorial Government of the Philippines, 1898; Second Philippine Republic, 1943–1945; Martial law under Ferdinand Marcos, 1972–1981) # (1963 South Vietnamese coup, 1963–1967) # (1949; 1951–1954; Salah Jadid, 1963–1970, Hafez al-Assad, 1970–2000) # (Phraya Phahonphonphayuhasena, 1933–1938; Plaek Phibunsongkhram, 1938–1944; 1948–1957; Phin Choonhavan, 1947; Sarit Thanarat, 1959–1963; Thanom Kittikachorn, 1963–1973; Sangad Chaloryu, 1976; 1977; Kriangsak Chamanan, 1977–1979; Sunthorn Kongsompong, 1991; Sonthi Boonyaratglin, 2006; Surayud Chulanont, 2006–2008; National Council for Peace and Order, 2014–2019) # (Trịnh lords, 1533–1789; Nguyễn lords, 1558–1777) # (Ali Abdullah Saleh, 1990–2012)
Europe# (Zog I of Albania, 1925–1939) # (Aleksandar Tsankov, 1923–1926; Zveno, 1934–1935; Bulgarian Fatherland Front, 1944–1946) # (Nikos Sampson, 1974) # (Napoleon I, 1799–1814; Cabinet of General Cavaignac, 1848; 1851 French coup d'état, 1851–1858; Government of National Defence, 1870–1871) # (Military Council (Georgia), 1992) # (Oberste Heeresleitung, 1916–1918; Adolf Hitler, 1933-1945) # (The Protectorate, 1653–1659) # (Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis, 1909-1910; Anastasios Charalambis, 1922; Sotirios Krokidas, 1922; Stylianos Gonatas, 1922-1924; Theodoros Pangalos (general), 1925–1926; Alexandros Othonaios, 1933; Georgios Kondylis, 1935; Ioannis Metaxas, 1935–1941; Greek military junta of 1967–1974, 1967–1974) # (Antanas Smetona, 1926–1940) # (Józef Piłsudski, 1926–1935; Martial law in Poland, 1981–1983) # (Joaquim Pimenta de Castro, 1915; Sidónio Pais#Government and presidency, 1917–1918; Ditadura Nacional, 1926–1933; National Salvation Junta, 1974–1975) # (Ion Antonescu, 1941–1944) # Russian State (1918–1920), Russia (Alexander Kolchak, 1918–1920) # (Fatti di Rovereta, 1957) # (Miguel Primo de Rivera, 1923–1930; Francoist Spain, 1936–1975) # (National Unity Committee, 1960–1961; Kenan Evren, 1980–1983) # (Dictatorship of Garibaldi, 1860) # Ukrainian State, Ukraine (Pavlo Skoropadskyi, 1918)
Oceania# (Sitiveni Rabuka, 1987–1999; 2006 Fijian coup d'état, 2006–2014)
See also* Civilian control of the military * Military rule (disambiguation) * Stratocracy * Films depicting Latin American military dictatorships * Military junta * List of political leaders who held active military ranks in office