Militarism (military+-ism) is an ideology which claims that the military is the foundation of a society's security, and thereby claims to be its most important aspect. The militarization of society is defined in relative relation to others, and hence views the society as a material entity which exerts its influence and power over others.

While pragmatism and "preparedness" may refer to agreeable and practical matters related to self-defense, "militarism" connotes broader doctrinal views which claim the notion of "peace through strength" as supreme among the interests of society — overriding all others, including diplomacy and issues related to social welfare.

Militarism often has connotations with the concepts of expansionism and nationalism. It asserts that civilian populations are dependent upon — and thereby subservient to —the needs and goals of its military. The cause by which the military functions tends to be nationalistic rather than idealistic.


Militarism and different countries

Militarism tends to be defined in direct opposition to peace movements in modern times. Historically the term occurred with reference to specific states engaged in imperialism, e.g. Sparta, Empire of Japan, British Empire, German Empire and Nazi Germany, First French Empire, New Roman Empire of Mussolini, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Today it is often applied to the loosely allied Anglo-Saxon powers led by the United States (along with the United Kingdom and Australia), and others such as China, France, Israel, North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Militarism and the measure of National Power

Miltarism is sometimes contrasted with the concepts of comprehensive national power and soft power and hard power. For example, the current Chinese leadership believes that a strong China is necessary to national security, but that the military is only one component of national power, and that an excessive focus on the military may lead to less national power in areas such as the civilian economy. Nonetheless, militaristic themes often predominate in Chinese attitudes such as the dispute with Taiwan.

One aspect of militarism is the ascendancy of a small clique of military officers to unchallenged power, as in Iraq, Nazi Germany, and most of Latin America up until the 1980s. Nevertheless, although many militaristic states are military dictatorships, militarism is not synonymous with dictatorship or authoritarianism; liberal democracy and militarism are not mutually exclusive.

One way to measure militarism is the percentage of a country's GDP that is spent on the military. In 2001, North Korea had the highest expenditure of 31.3% of national GDP, followed by Angola (22% in 1999), Eritrea (19.8% in 2001), Saudi Arabia (13% in 2000), Ethiopia (12.6% in 2000), Oman (12.2% in 2001), Qatar (10% in 2000/2001), Israel (8.75% in 2002), Jordan (8.6% in 2001), and Maldives (8.6% in 2001). [1] (

Another measure that has been commonly used is the number of military personnel per capita.

German militarism

Japanese militarism

Main article: Japanese Militarism

Militarism in Japan started to rise to power when it began it's invasion to China in 1931, and finally overtook power when General Tojo took the position of Prime Minister in 1940.


  • Ensign, Tod. America's Military Today. The New Press. 2005. ISBN 1565848837.
  • Fink, Christina. Living Silence: Burma Under Military Rule. White Lotus Press. 2001. ISBN 1856499251.
  • Huntington, Samuel P.. Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981.
  • Shaw, Martin. Post-Military Society: Militarism, Demilitarization and War at the End of the Twentieth Century. Temple University Press, 1992
  • Vagts, Alfred. A History of Militarism. Meridian Books, 1959.
  • Western, Jon. Selling Intervention and War. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2005. ISBN 080188108.

Militarism in Fiction

fa:نظامی‌گری de:Militarismus he:מיליטריזם zh:军国主义


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