deposed faction. However, a "bloodless coup d’état" is not always truly non-violent.
Napoleon's 18 Brumaire coup d’état is considered an exemplar "bloodless coup", but
during the coup, legislators were forcibly ejected from their meeting place by soldiers. In
1889, Brazil became a republic via a bloodless coup. In 1999, Pervez Musharraf assumed
power in Pakistan via a bloodless coup, and, in 2006, Sonthi Boonyaratglin assumed
power in Thailand as the leader of the Council for Democratic Reform under
The term self-coup applies when the incumbent government, aided and abetted by the
military, assumes extraordinary powers not allowed by law. The historical example is
President, and later French Emperor, Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. A modern example is
Alberto Fujimori in Peru, who, though elected, in 1992 assumed control of legislative and
the judicial branches of government, installing himself as an authoritarian ruler. The
assumption of "emergency powers" by King Gyanendra of Nepal was a self-coup.
Besides Luttwak's non-military coup d’état, Samuel P. Huntington identifies three classes
of coup d’état:
Breakthrough coup d’état: a revolutionary army overthrows a traditional government
and creates a new bureaucratic elite. Generally led by non-commissioned officers (NCOs) or
junior officers and happen once. Examples are China in 1911, Bulgaria in 1944, Egypt in
1952, Greece in 1967, Libya in 1969 and Liberia in 1980.
Guardian coup d’état: the "musical chairs" coup d’état. The stated aim of which is
improving public order, efficiency, and ending corruption. There usually is no fundamental
change to the power structure. Generally, the leaders portray their actions as a temporary
and unfortunate necessity. An early example is the coup d’état by Sulla, in 88 B.C.,
replacing the elected leader Marius in Rome. A contemporary instance is the civilian Prime
Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's overthrow by Chief of Army Staff General
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1977, who cited widespread civil disorder and impending civil war
as his justification. In 1999, General Pervez Musharraf overthrew Pakistani Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif on the same grounds. Nations with guardian coups can frequently shift back
and forth between civilian and military governments. Example countries include Pakistan,
Turkey, and Thailand. A “bloodless coup” usually arises from the Guardian coup d’état.
Veto coup d’état: occurs when the army vetoes the people's mass participation and social
mobilisation in governing themselves. In such a case, the army confronts and suppresses
large-scale, broad-based civil opposition, tending to fascist repression and killing, the prime
example is the coup d’état in Chile in 1973 against the elected Socialist President Salvador
Allende Gossens by the Chilean military, aided by the CIA.
After the coup d’état, the military face the matter of what type of government to
establish. In Latin America, it was common for the post-coup government to be led by a
junta, a committee of the chiefs of staff of the armed forces. A common form of African
post-coup government is the revolutionary assembly, a quasi-legislative body elected by
the army. In Pakistan, the military leader typically assumes the title of chief martial law
Europe transitional governments
Greece (1923-1929; 1936-1941; 1967-1974)