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Military Coup of 1973

On 11 September 1973, the military took over the seaport. The Defence Minister was arrested by the military. The military commanders asked the President to resign. Allende refused to resign or leave the country. Then the military surrounded the President’s house and started bombing it.

President Allende died in the military attack. A government elected by the people was overthrown by the military through conspiracy and violence. A military coup took place in Chile on 11 September 1973 under General Augusto Pinochet.


Augusto Pinochet


Pinochet became the President of the country and ruled it for the next 17 years. Thus a military regime of dictatorship was established in Chile where no one could question the ruler. Persons who refused to join the coup and the supporters of Allende were tortured and put to death.

A coup d'état or simply coup, is the sudden overthrow of the ruling government, often through illegal means by a part of the government establishment. It replaces just the high-level officials. It can be violent or non-violent, but it is different from a revolution, which is staged by a larger group, to bring about radically changes in the political system through unconstitutional means.

Classification of Coups

Coups can be broadly divide into three classifications:

  • Veto Coups
  • Guardian Coups
  • Breakthrough coups
  • This classification is determined by the level of the military that leads the coup

  • Veto coups and guardian coups are led by senior officers.
  • Breakthrough coups are led by junior officers.
  • Coups can be further classified as:

    • Bloodless coups
    • Self-coups
    Bloodless Coups

    Bloodless coups are coups were the mere threat of violence is enough to force the current government to step aside. Bloodless coups are so called because they involve no violence and thus there is no bloodshed.



    Self Coups

    Self Coups are coups when the current government assumes extraordinary powers that are not allowed by the legislation with the aid of the armed forces.

    A historical example is the actions of the then French President Napoleon Bonaparte.
    The assumption of "emergency powers" by King Gyanendra of Nepal can also be called a self-coup.

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