Putsch, coup coup

Seizure of power by a conspiratorial group, sometimes belonging to the legal authorities.

In 1923 Hitler tried to seize power in München (Germany), believing he had the support of elements of the military. This was an attempted putsch - the Beer Hall putsch. Lenin's seizure of power in November 1917 from the Provisional Government was a typical Putsch. (see USSR)

It is distinguished from a coup d'etat (golpe de estado) which is usually the seizure of power by the leaders of the military, classically by capturing or killing the current head of state. An example is the 1973 overthrow of Allende in Chile. This is also known as Cuartelazo, a barracks coup.

See also

The most recent example occurred in Honduras in July 2009.

S.E.Finer - The Man on Horseback
the role ofthe military in politics

Last revised 29/07/09


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