Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests. It can be more simply defined as a policy of glorifying military power and keeping a standing army always prepared for war. It has also been defined as "aggressiveness that involves the threat of using military force", the "glorification of the ideas of a professional military class" and the "predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state" (see also: 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 British Empire, the Empire of Japan, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (which would later become part of the Soviet Union), the Italian Colonial Empire during the reign of Benito Mussolini, Nazi Germany and American Imperialism. After World War II, militarism appeared in many of the post-colonial nations of Asia (i.e. North Korea, Myanmar and Thailand) and Africa (i.e. Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda). Militarist regimes also emerged in Latin America; some, such as the right-wing administration of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, gained power in coups through U.S. support, while others, such as the leftist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, were elected. Germany
Prussian and later German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, left, with government officials Roon (center) and Moltke (right) in the 1860s. Although Bismarck was not a military officer and was a civilian leader, he wore uniform as part of the Prussian militarist culture of the time. The roots of German militarism can be found in the years past of Prussia during the nineteenth century, and the subsequent unification of Germany under Prussian leadership. After Napoleon conquered Prussia, early in the nineteenth century, one of the conditions of peace was that Prussia should reduce her army to no more than forty-two thousand 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, it would be possible for him to gather an army of four hundred twenty thousand 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, on the other, a much larger class, the rank and file of the army. 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 the same as 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. Militarism in Germany continued after WWI (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 against the republican government, was launched by disaffected members of the armed forces. After this, some of the more radical militarists and nationalists were subsumed into the Nazi Party, while more moderate elements of militarism declined. Nazi Germany was a strongly militarist state; after its fall in 1945, militarism in German culture was dramatically reduced, as a...
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