ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Coup D'etat

Updated on July 8, 2010

Coup d'etat is the unconstitutional seizure of governmental power by a small group that employs tactics of planning and surprise, and often of limited violence. The term is a French phrase meaning "stroke (or blow) of state." Napoleon Bonaparte executed one of the first modem coups on November 9, 1799. He persuaded the members of the governing councils of the First French Republic to meet at St.-Cloud, a suburb of Paris, for security against an alleged Jacobin plot. The councils were then surrounded by soldiers and dissolved.

Unlike a revolution, seizure of power "from the top" does not usually involve a large number of citizens in a struggle for political, social, or economic changes. The sole aim of a coup executed in 1947 by the Nicaraguan national guard was to replace a new president, Leonardo Aronello, with another approved by General Anastasio Samoza, his predecessor. On the other hand, the entire membership of the Polish Socialist party provided decisive assistance to General Jozef Pilsudski in 1926 by participating in a successful general strike that halted government troop trains. The seizure of power in 1952 by Egyptian military leaders was followed by major reforms, including the expulsion of King Farouk and the socialization of the economy.

Control of strategic elements of the national military forces, the police, or other armed groups is usually a prerequisite for seizure of the government; often the seizure is preceded by cultivation of sympathetic allies in other vital institutions. Thus on March 10, 1952, Fulgencio Batista took power in Cuba in less than 90 minutes after he captured the military establishment with a small group of junior officers. In 1967, military officers, led by the army chief of staff, suspended the Greek constitution and arrested most major politicians with very little opposition. However, when the Communist party seized power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, it did so only after establishing a coalition government with other political parties in 1945, taking control of the army and police ministries, and gradually infiltrating the communications media and trade unions.

The coup d'etat has long been a method of governmental change in many Latin American countries. Long traditions of military privilege and participation in politics, combined with continuing poverty and illiteracy among the people and the weak development of democratic institutions, have contributed to persistent military intervention in political affairs. Coups d'etat have also occurred frequently in newly independent African countries. Here, the governments control only small forces to meet challenges, and severe problems have been created by rapid decolonization and by the disparity between high aspirations and the capacity of existing governments to implement policies.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)