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How to plan a military coup?

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Printed Date: 24 Aug 2019 at 16:25
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Topic: How to plan a military coup?
Posted By: calvo
Subject: How to plan a military coup?
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 07:31
Only 2 weeks ago, there was a coup in Honduras that made the news headlines across the Spanish-speaking world.
Very often I wonder: how are military coups planned?
I heard that in most successful coups, the conspirators, and the people who knew what was going on, were usually very few. In fact, most of the military and police personnel mobilized to overthrow the government and to suffocate any loyalist resistance did not know that they were taking part in a coup - they were simply obeying orders. By the time that they had found out that they had taken part in a coup, it was already too late: the government was already run by the plotters, who had also taken over all the strategic positions.
One of the coups that had left a handful of mysteries was the failed one in Spain 1981 by the Civil Guard colonel Tejero. Apparently, the colonel himself and all the military policemen who stormed the congress building had no idea that they were taking part in a coup - they thought that the order had come straight from the king.
I could imagine that coups could only succeed in overthrowing regime that were already unpopular among the masses, or regimes who had no real control over most of the country's political forces.
The coup plotters must be careful enough to not let their plan leak before the day it is to be carried out, and once the orders are given, they must make sure that no one would change his mind at the last minute. If large number of troops and policemen were to be mobilized to impose martial law o the streets to quell any rebellions; they must make sure that none of these soldiers and policemen would end up joining the other side.

Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 08:17
Wait, a colonel *led* a coup and he thought he was saving the King?
Also, is the King the head of the armed forces then?

Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 08:31
You need to eliminate the target as quickly as possible. Whoever you're couping against may have an idea you are planning something and may be planning something in retaliation because possibly there's been a feud for a while.
Make sure you control properganda. Don't allow the victim's side be heard, suppress his supporters.
Don't allow the public any access to any information that may let them make an objective decision on the merits, instead continually put out you're own version of events and claim your reports are objective. Convince yourself of this in your own mind, intelligence or grip on reality is not a virtue in a coup.
Whip up the less bright sections of the populace into making outspoken denounciations of the old regime, this will spiral and many will jump on the band wagon when rolling.
Try and seem make yourself seem like the aggreived people righting a wrong. Make lots of claims about you're only doing to protect the people and seem reluctant to have done it. Make claims the former leader was acting against the people.
When there are none of the former leaders supporters remaining don't stop the persecution, attack anyone who doesn't support you, people who are neutral or reserve their judgement in the absence of proofs are now the enemy to be denounced. Censorship is your friend.
Be generous in victory, dole out praise and rewards of positions of power.
Finally word everything  carefully, your position will be hypocritical, the former leader wanted control so we took control to stop him. The former leader claims ownership of state property, quite clearly it belongs to the new regime. Rely on your populace being dumb enough not to notice this.

Posted By: calvo
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 08:45

Yes, the king was, and still is the head of the armed forces.

It was in 1981, shortly after the death of Franco and the transition to democracy.
The coup took place when a group of civil guards led by Colonel Tejero stormed the congress building and held all the democratically-elected congressmen hostage.
Tanks were driven out on the streets to block all the roads, railway stations, airports, and other strategic positions.
The coup was eventually crushed when the king appeared on TV to order all the troops to return to their barracks; which they did. Of course, colonel Tejero was arrested.
However, during his interrogation, he insisted that he had no idea that it was a coup and that he was merely a pawn obeying orders from his "superiors", who claimed that they were relaying orders directly from the king. His superiors denied it.
The officers who commanded the tanks take the streets also claimed that they knew nothing of a coup. They were merely doing what they were being told.
The question is: if nobody knew who gave the orders initially, then the coup-plotters must have been a very small and low-profile group who had their backs well-covered.

Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 13:03
For military coups to happens you need the social conditions. First, people has to be desperated by poverty. Second, polarization between parties are a need. Then, and only then, a coup has a chance to suceed.

Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 20:33
First can be replaced by people not liking the government, or not caring at all.

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