Civilian Control of the Military

Civilian Control of the Military : The Changing Security Environment

3.53 (15 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 11 business days
When will my order arrive?


The end of the Cold War brought widespread optimism about the future of civil-military relations. But as Michael Desch argues in this thought-provoking challenge to Harold Lasswell's famous "garrison state" thesis, the truth is that civilian authorities have not been able to exert greater control over military policies and decision making. In wartime, civil authorities cannot help but pay close attention to military matters. In times of peace, however, civilian leaders are less interested in military affairs-and therefore often surrender them to the military.

Focusing on a wide range of times and places, Desch begins with a look at changes in U.S. civil-military relations since the end of the Cold War. He then turns to the former Soviet Union, explaining why it was easier for civilians to control the Soviet military than its present-day Russian successor. He examines the Hindenburg-Ludendorff dictatorship in World War I Germany, Japan during the interwar era, and France's role in the Algerian crisis. Finally, he explores the changing domestic security environment and civil-military relations in South America.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13mm | 312g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • Revised 2003 ed.
  • 15 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0801866391
  • 9780801866395
  • 966,136

Table of contents


List of Figures and Tables

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Civilian Control of the Military in Different Threat Environments
Chapter 3: Losing Control? Civil-Military Relations in the United States during and after the Cold War
Chapter 4: Controlling Chaos: Civilian Control of the Soviet and Russian Militaries
Chapter 5: The Anger of the Legions: The Hindenburg-Ludendorff Dictatorship, The Algerian Crisis, and Interwar Japan
Chapter 6: Twilight of the Generals? Domestic Security and Civil-Military Relations in Southern Latin America
Chapter 7: What the Future Holds

Major U.S. Civil-Military Conflicts, 1938-1997
show more

Review quote

A courageous, definitive work. -- Joseph J. Collins * Joint Force Quarterly * Desch's book... already has proven influential in shaping the debate within the academic and the policymaking communities. The book is important because it makes a bold argument based on a clearly advanced theory and tests it against an extraordinary range of cases... A landmark study. * American Political Science Review * A refreshing addition to the literature on civil-military relations. It challenges traditional explanations and contributes to several different important theoretical and policy debates. * Journal of Military History * A timely book with a provocative thesis. -- Glen M. Segell * Millennium *
show more

About Michael C. Desch

Michael C. Desch is associate director of the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky.
show more

Rating details

15 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 7% (1)
4 40% (6)
3 53% (8)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X