Armies and Revolutions

Issue Date April 2013
Volume 24
Issue 2
Page Numbers 62-76
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We know that a revolution’s success largely depends on the regular army’s response to it. But how will the military react to an uprising? Zoltan Barany argues that it is quite possible to make a highly educated guess, if not an outright prediction, about the generals’ response to a revolution if one knows enough about their army, the state it is supposed to serve, the society in which it exists, and the external environment that affects its actions. Barany’s essay gives analysts the tools—in the form of questions that they must ask and answer—that will enable them to provide the most informed assessment possible regarding the army’s likely response to a revolution and thus, ultimately, the probable fate of the revolution itself.

About the Author

Zoltan Barany is Frank C. Erwin Jr. Centennial Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Armies of Arabia: Military Politics and Effectiveness in the Gulf (2021). His 2007 book Democratic Breakdown and the Decline of the Russian Military was republished in paperback by Princeton University Press in 2023.

View all work by Zoltan Barany