Accession Number:



Armies in Transition: Civil-Military Relations in New Democracies

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The world has been stunned since 1989 by the speed with which the countries of Eastern Europe abandoned four decades of Marxist-Leninist rule and cast their lot with Western-style democracy and capitalism. Although the most casual observer is well aware that the process of transition is a delicate one, economic and ethnic issues have overshadowed the daunting political challenges faced by the new democratic regimes, not the least of which, considering Eastern European history, is the possibility of military intervention in government. Only Samuel Huntington, in The Third Wave, has given any significant attention to the question of civil-military relations in emerging democracies. The purpose of this study is to consider whether Eastern European countries can learn any lessons on civilian control of the armed forces from the record of Spain, a country that has successfully undergone the democratic transition. The study will specifically compare Spain with Poland, the Eastern European country whose history is perhaps most characterized by military involvement in government. The first task is to establish a framework for analyzing civilian control of the military. This framework will then be used to determine whether the Spanish and Polish cases are indeed comparable. If they are, we shall look at the Spanish experience and use that experience to derive lessons for the reform of civil-military relations in Poland. Finally, we shall take advantage of the opportunity to consider whether Huntingtons guidelines on transforming civil-military relations are adequate to explain the Spanish success and guide the Polish future.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement: