Armies without Nations: Public Violence and State Formation by Robert H. Holden

By Robert H. Holden

Public violence, a continual function of Latin American lifestyles because the cave in of Iberian rule within the 1820s, has been particularly in demand in principal the US. Robert H. Holden exhibits how public violence formed the states that experience ruled Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Linking public violence and patrimonial political cultures, he indicates how the early states improvised their authority via bargaining with armed bands or montoneras. Improvisation endured into the 20th century because the bands have been steadily outmoded by means of semi-autonomous nationwide armies, and as new brokers of public violence emerged within the type of armed insurgencies and dying squads. global warfare II, Holden argues, set into movement the globalization of public violence. Its such a lot dramatic manifestation in critical the USA was once the surge in U.S. army and police collaboration with the governments of the quarter, starting with the Lend-Lease application of the Nineteen Forties and carrying on with throughout the chilly conflict. even though the scope of public violence had already been validated via the folk of the significant American international locations, globalization intensified the violence and inhibited makes an attempt to cut down its scope. Drawing on archival examine in all 5 nations in addition to within the usa, Holden elaborates the connections one of the nationwide, nearby, and overseas dimensions of public violence. Armies with out Nations crosses the borders of principal American, Latin American, and North American background, offering a version for the research of worldwide background and politics.

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Additional info for Armies without Nations: Public Violence and State Formation in Central America, 1821-1960

Sample text

Although institutional rule by the armed forces (rather than rule by an individual military tyrant) was not unknown before the s, it became habitual and widespread by that decade. Moreover, unlike earlier military interventions in government, the “new militarists” typically intended to hold the reins of government indefinitely. The surge in research on the Latin American military tended, however, to magnify the armed forces’ responsibility for violence and authoritarianism, thus exaggerating the innocence of civil society and the latter’s capacity for engendering a democratic transition.

Of course, habits can be broken, most often by shocks that result in immense destruction or absolute loss. S. mercenary William Walker in – led directly to the shrinkage of those limits in Nicaragua, a condition that lasted three decades before the Nicaraguans resumed their old ways. An analysis of the intensity and scope of public violence in twentieth-century Central America should distinguish the capacity for public violence (largely a function of the technology and other material and organizational resources available to the state and its collaborators and challengers) from its limits, which emerged in the process of state formation.

16 Of the fallen Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the distinguished historian Edelberto Torres-Rivas wrote that it was one thing for a revolutionary movement to destroy the institutions of an authoritarian regime—such as the army, courts, penal system, laws, and regulations. Substitutes could readily be fabricated, as they were in Nicaragua after  July . ” Politics was war, a “sickness . . 18 On  September , after nearly three centuries as a dominion of the Spanish monarch, the Kingdom of Guatemala (whose boundaries corresponded roughly to those of the five modern nations of Central America) proclaimed its independence from Spain.

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