Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA)


Liberal Arts

Document Type



The process of professionalization initiated by the Peruvian army in 1896 under French influence did not withdraw the military from political involvement. On the contrary, as the process of professionalization advanced, the army developed a “professional militarism,” that is, military political participation for reasons based on the institution’s professional ethos. The Peruvian army had traditionally claimed a broad military jurisdiction including extra-military roles. French instructors reinforced such claimed incorporating a broad military jurisdiction into the army’s professional ethos, which justified military coups during the twentieth-century as well as the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces (1968-1980). Historians Frederick M. Nunn and Daniel M. Masterson do not take sufficiently into account the impact of nineteenth-century militarism on Peruvian military thought. These scholars argued that Peruvian officers were aping their French mentors when twentieth-century military magazines claimed nation building as a defense prerequisite or when “Francophile” officers declared a civilizing and social mission for the army. However, in 1888, over 120 Peruvian officers established the Centro Militar del Perú and published the Revista Militar y Naval, which systematized the “military mind” born from the century’s military experience. The articles in the Revista demonstrate that before the process of professionalization initiated in 1896, the Peruvian military mind consisted of attitudes and perspectives stressing the necessity of a strong military, the supremacy of society over the individual, the destructiveness of civilian partisan politics, and a broad military jurisdiction, which included administrative, nation-building, civilizing, and constitutional guardian functions. Consequently, this thesis focuses on nineteenth-century militarism and political culture arguing that by late 1880s the essential elements of the Peruvian military mind behind twentieth-century “professional militarism” had already come together.



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Committee Chair

Stanley E. Hilton