Most discussions of background to the Peruvian golpe de estado of 1968 and the regime it introduced emphasize the immediate causes. These stress the military-APRA “rivalry,” economic nationalism as a guiding doctrine of officers educated at the Centro de Altos Estudios Militares (CAEM), and rising hostility of officers toward civilian political leaders. Some suggest a hazily defined “leftward drift” of the officer class toward a neo-Marxist, corporatist position on socioeconomic development and political organization based on elimination of the possibility of revolution from below.1 Basic to this line of reasoning is the linking of national defense to economic development and internal security, owing to fears that insurgent movements in the Andes during the 1960s might repeat the Cuban experience, thus destroying the military profession in the name of social justice. This may suffice in a general and immediate sense, but it raises several questions that beg for answers. First, was hostility toward civilian leaders linked solely to military-APRA mutual distrust, or was it a historical theme with variations? Second, were economic nationalism and developmentalism phenomena of recent origin, or were they traditionally a part of military ideology? Third, was interest in all phases of modernization symptomatic of a leftist stance, or was it based on professional priorities? Fourth, was the Peruvian military—unlike its Argentine, Brazilian, and Chilean counterparts—devoid of any ideology prior to the advent of U. S. influence; could professional militarism be manifested overnight? Finally, just how long have theories existed which proposed and justified some kind of military role akin to that assumed in 1968?

The following pages seek to show that most of the essence of Peruvian professional militarism—the propensity to transform political interest into action and to apply solutions based on a military ethos to national problems—was produced by decade upon decade of traditional theories and doctrines first introduced into Peru by French training officers between 1896 and 1940, and nurtured by their pupils since that time. Since the first decade of this century, there had been a continuous conviction on the part of army officers that they had a social role to perform, that the army was an agent of modernization, and that it was capable of civilizing Peru. This conviction was the result of the professionalism of the officer corps and the adaptation of ideas (particularly those of Marshal Hubert Lyautey)2 brought to Peru by French instructors and applied in the classroom, on maneuvers, and in writing to the social, economic, political, and cultural situation of the early twentieth century. An appreciation of Peruvian military thought and self-perception reveals the durability of Franco-Peruvian military theory. This, in turn, indicates an even greater, long-range significance of the usually cited influences on military-civilian relations.

Bearing this in mind, the 1968 golpe cannot be considered a culmination of trends toward “structural reform,” for such an inference presupposes military advocacy of a change in traditional structures. With the possible exception of agrarian reform, this was never seriously advocated by Peruvian officers, was only rarely mentioned in the lore of the profession, and, despite a great deal of propaganda, did not occur after 1968. Military-sponsored reforms did make changes within a traditional structure; they replaced some components of the structure and made it more elaborate. The agrarian reform program, for example, dispossessed latifundistas and redistributed ownership; it dramatically changed the rural land tenure system. But, however innovative or radical the nationalization and expansive popular participation schemes of the 1968-1975 administration of General Juan Velasco Alvarado may appear in toto, they merely maintained a hierarchical, pyramidic socioeconomic Peru and reinforced an authoritarian polity. The theories applied by the 1968 golpistas are evident long before the golpe, and the revolutionary aspects of contemporary Peru have proved to be outward and rhetorical manifestations only, especially with the collapse of the Velasco (“radical”) phase of the post-1968 reform movement and the ensuing “moderate” administration of General Francisco Morales Bermúdez Cerruti.

An examination of pre-1968 writings of Peruvian army officers exposes much of the theoretical base of the golpe and illustrates its historical quality. By working backward, it is possible to detail and interpret the military point of view regarding state, nation, and society in a most illustrative way. In this manner, the more familiar arguments of the recent past emerge vividly as products of continuity, not spontaneity. Furthermore, the military devotion to precedent, the basing of potentially controversial opinions on accepted authorities, and a rigorous conformism can be revealed as contributory to, not detracting from, the spirit of reform. Moreover, Peru can be shown to be well within the context of post-1964 regimes in South America, most notably those of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.

Aside from Víctor Villanueva, who writes from retirement (and certainly not for official publications), Peru’s best known and most articulate military author has been General Edgardo Mercado Jarrín, one of the leaders of the 1968 movement and a prominent member of the regime until his retirement. Mercado was representative of the hardline, nationalist-authoritarian group of army officers who would find many of Velasco’s policies too liberal. His best known piece of writing prior to 1968 was an essay published in 1964, when he was still a colonel, entitled “El ejército de hoy y su proyección en nuestra sociedad en período de transición.”3

In this essay he claimed that the army was technologically and organizationally equal to the modern armies of other countries and moreover had developed an advanced doctrine of national defense based on internal security. Dismissing the debt Peru owed the United States, Mercado claimed that the Peruvian army was a prime educator since army-run vocational training schools in Lima, Piura, Arequipa, Cuzco, and Iquitos trained conscripts from the surrounding regions for the trades. Army schools were better, in quality, than their civilian counterparts, more economically administered and they prepared men for useful civilian lives, Mercado wrote. Closer examination of the facts would indicate that these vocational schools had only a limited success because linguistic and cultural barriers where Indian conscripts were involved precluded any overwhelming improvement in their lot. But Mercado made no note of this.

The colonel believed the army was like a business, “molded in the image of an industrial corporation … The army has for many years possessed [the] manpower equipped and trained to act successfully in industry.”4 Cost estimates, efficiency reports, organizational flow charts, planning—these were all exemplary of the modern army. In essence Mercado was suggesting that the army could run the entire country, a country he viewed as one giant system, an organism in the geopolitical sense.

The instrument for military management of national affairs was the general staff. Since its origin in the 1904 French-founded Escuela Superior de Guerra (ESG), the general staff had become an agent of modernization more capable than any civilian counterpart. Changes wrought in more recent times, since the Zarumilla-Marañón war with Ecuador (1941-1942), by increased United States military influence during and after World War II, or owing to the founding of CAEM in 1950, had “facilitated the formation of a nucleus of officers with modern attitudes, new expertise, revolutionary spirit, social consciousness, and inclined to maintain peace and order....”5

Military leadership in national affairs was justified by the critical need for national defense. This was especially true in the 1960s when Peru was menaced from within by insurrectionary forces feeding on rural discontent and inspired by Fidel Castro’s success in Cuba. The officer class represented Peruvian totality; it knew collectively all the country’s regions, peculiarities, and problems because officers had to deal with these on the local, as well as national and international, levels. Like his Brazilian coevals, Mercado expanded the conception of defense to include all national matters: internal and external security, government, politics, and development. Policy planning and implementation became a joint military-civilian concern in the areas of communication, transportation, agrarian reform, economic expansion, and interior colonization. Adding to the army’s credentials as collective representative of Peruvian totality was the fact that it was an agent of social mobility.

Like its counterpart in other Latin American countries, Mercado emphasized the non-aristocratic background of the officer class. The officers were of middle-class origin. The troops came from the lower classes: workers and peasants, Indians and cholos. In the ranks, guided by their officers, they attained true citizenship. They became literate and studied civics. They learned personal hygiene, a trade, initiative, group action, discipline, and “purposeful obedience.” Such was Mercado’s limited concept of mobility. His temperance anent social mobility contrasts vividly with his claims that military service and vocational training produced such striking changes among the lower classes.

Further, the troops were imbued with the ideas of ability and merit as avenues to advancement in life. Again their preceptors were their superiors. In sum, Peruvian army conscripts became “colonists of the future” and the “vanguard of the modernized sector.”6 Mercado’s idealized view of the conscripts’ experiences (nothing new in Peruvian military literature) was equaled only by his insistence that civilian attitudes toward the army recently had become quite positive, far more so than when he graduated from the Escuela Militar de Chorrillos in 1940. Mercado’s essay presumed that most of the improvements in the army and its image had been accomplished since 1940. Few doubted his sincerity, but many doubtless were wary of his optimism. These later portions of his argument must be taken with a grain of salt, but not his overall perception of the role of the profession. He certainly was not alone in his optimism. Nor was his a voice crying in the wilderness on the subject of modernization. Obviously Peruvian officers did not want to see the Andes become a second Sierra Maestra. Similarly, it is not necessary to dwell on the obvious parallels between militarily conceived remedies for Peru and the party lines of APRA or Acción Popular, but one example of nonmilitary prescription for Peru’s future does merit mention as a link between military and civilian advocacy of development.

In 1960, the Arthur D. Little consulting firm of Boston made a report to the Peruvian government. Digested and published in 1961 in the Revista de la Escuela Superior de Guerra, it became a “semi-official” tract.7 The report, presented to the second administration of Manuel Prado y Ugarteche (1956-1962), stressed national planning, state direction of development, penetration of the interior, fiscal reforms, regional planning and administration of specific projects, comprehensive industrial and labor legislation, and government efforts in the area of social mobilization. Although, in the opinion of many, it did not go far enough in giving outright control to the army, this systemic, systematic approach appealed to Mercado. It attracted his colleagues, Carlos Bobbio Centurión, Francisco Morales Bermúdez, Gastón Ibáñez O’Brien, Cristián Sánchez Campos, and Napoleón Urbina Abanto. These members of the nationalist-authoritarian wing of the 1968 golpista group clearly saw an expanded military role as crucial to each and every point mentioned in the Little report.

Written during the 1962-1963 military interregnum, and while the army struggled against guerrilla forces in the mountains, Lieutenant Colonel Bobbio’s “¿Qué ejército necesita el Perú?” is less a set of thoughtful prescriptions for the country than an exhortation to fellow officers to concentrate on internal affairs. “What we need,” he wrote, “is an army like no other in the world.”8 In blunt terms Bobbio contrasted the Peruvian army with those of the United States, the Soviet Union, and France (the latter in the wake of the Algerian crisis). Peru’s army had a role to play far beyond that of defense against external threats, he concluded, and for that reason he compared the armies of Israel and Switzerland with Peru’s by virtue of their domestic responsibilities. Oddly enough he lumped the armies of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile with those of the United States, the Soviet Union, and France as having no internal role. Either he did not foresee the institutional golpe as a South American phenomenon, or, more possibly, in an effort to convince his readers, he chose to emphasize and exaggerate Peruvian uniqueness. The Peruvian army, he believed, should pay special attention to agrarian reform, irrigation projects, public health, literacy programs, communications, and transportation. The state in turn, ought to utilize military expertise in these activities for the express purpose of mobilizing the populace against the threat of communism.9 As blunt as he was, Bobbio only recommended and exhorted. As critical as he was of civilian institutions, the Church, political parties, and the bureaucracy, he did not go as far as Mercado in plumping for a permanent military leadership role.

In contrast to Bobbio’s enthusiasm for military participation was the calm, terse approach of the engineer Colonel Morales Bermúdez in “Planeamiento estratégico.”10 Like Bobbio and Mercado, he stressed the development of the general staff as evidence of growing army organizational capabilities. He noted that the major reorganization of the general staff in 1959—precisely when it came under the heavy influence of CAEM graduates—had created a “research and development team” whose work allowed “the high command to guide the army toward a level of efficiency necessary for the fulfillment of its mission.”11 Although seemingly innocuous (and much of military literature is of necessity couched in innocuous terminology), Morales Bermúdez’ definition of the “mission” is significant. It was to “maintain the internal order of the republic” and through planning to “contribute to national development.” Thus the developmental role was linked to the necessity for internal order and not to popular participation. Most of the Velasco government’s programs, despite outward appearances were designed with this in mind.

“Comando y delegación de autoridad y responsabilidad,” by Lieutenant Colonel Ibáñez,12 stressed the army’s expertise in organizational techniques. Drawing upon his work as chief of the ESG’s Department of Research, Planning, Evaluation, and Supervision, he argued that organized activity depended on the coordination of three stages of planning and action: the determinative, the executive, the interpretive. The theory is simplistic, for it presumes that orders are given and carried out in all spheres of life; then the results are properly evaluated and new determinations for action are made. It is so simplistic that it is ominous. Much of what happened in Peru between 1968 and 1975 testifies to that, notably the failure of agrarian reform to make the country self-sufficient in the production of foodstuffs. The fact that individual nationalist-authoritarians like Bobbio did not control all aspects of planning and execution does not detract from the fact that the militarization of administrative techniques was pervasive.

Equally evocative of post-1968 Peru is another essay published in 1963. In “El comité de asuntos civiles: Nexo civil-militar,”13 Colonel Cristián Sánchez wrote of a military-civilian fusion much like the future Sistema Nacional de Apoyo a la Movilización Social (SINAMOS) which would be set in motion in 1971. Sánchez minced no words in prescribing for Peru’s backwardness. Committees composed of officers and civilians could serve as contact points for social mobilization and economic development. The objectives of these committees would be “to furnish assistance to the citizenry in order to improve the standard of living and reduce suffering; with the end, among others, of earning for the armed forces the respect, support, and loyalty of the people ….”14 At all levels, staff officers and field commanders, and civilian technicians and administrators would plan, then supervise civic action programs. Military-civilian cooperation thus became the agent of both development and national security.

These themes were reemphasized in 1967 by Colonel Napoleón Urbina.15 Aware of Peru’s staggering topography, and its lack of adequate transportation and communications, Urbina called for the development of natural resource exploitation at the regional level. This he saw as the initial step toward centrally coordinated development and integration. Urbina claimed that military and civilian authority must coincide in areas undergoing planned development. The army, he believed, possessed all the necessary talent for his proposal. If the army could not control outright Peru’s economic development, at least it could oversee it.

Just before the overthrow of Fernando Belaúnde Terry, army elitists clearly construed defense as more than worrying about conventional conflict with limitrophe states. National defense also meant the protection of the fatherland from its enemies within who either sought to radically transform it (with or without emphasis on Cuban models), or who were content with conditions that appeared to foster radical causes. Research, planning, and administration at a “military-civilian staff level,” free from partisan bickering, based on modern, military organizational concepts, were seen as the methods to achieve domestic security and economic development, hence total defense. The army— the armed forces establishment—was seen as a civilizing institution, an educator, and an integrator and mobilizer of Peruvians. Such were the contours of professional militarism in 1968 when the armed forces seized power.

Almost none of the views expressed by the elite of the 1960s are remarkable for their originality. Few of their post-1968 programs aside from agrarian reform had not been discussed previously. Cumulative effects of Zarumilla-Marañón, U. S. largess, the Cuban Revolution, Andean insurgency, Cold War issues, technological innovations, Peru’s social, economic, and political woes, and the rise of the CAEM-general staff surely influenced the way in which the military elite dealt with the issues; but the issues themselves were simply not that new. Pre-World War II military literature reveals the early development of a military approach to national problems. The era usually seen as most significant in the formulation of a military ideology is that of the Great Depression.

By 1933 the Peruvian economy was depressed. With domestic industry in the strictly developmental stage, the country’s export economy base was one of plantation and mine. Market declines, as well as political conflict, contributed to Peru’s 1932-1933 turbulence. It was in the 1930s that APRA and the army first confronted each other, most dramatically in 1932 and 1933.

Between the earliest overt confrontations with APRA and the founding of CAEM almost two decades later, members of the officer class concerned themselves with politics, social change, and economic transformation as integral phenomena. Lack of concentrated effort to persuade civilians to take action or to mount a reformist military government should not indicate lack of awareness of Peru’s national shortcomings. The “Indian question” (rarely asked properly, rarely answered adequately), education, integration, national pride, development in all its senses—these all were discussed in print, and nowhere better than in a 1933 essay by Lieutenant Colonel Manuel Morla Concha, entitled “Función social del ejército peruano en la organización de la sociedad.”16

Morla’s essay is the most important piece of pre-World War II Peruvian military literature. It is at once reminiscent of Lyautey’s 1891 “Du Rôle social de l’officier” and something more than a precedent for the essays of the 1950s and 1960s. The comparability of Lyautey’s, Morla’s, and Mercado’s titles should not go unnoticed; neither should the fact that when Morla wrote, French officers had been training Peruvian officers for nearly four decades. Morla’s thesis, that the army was an important institution in countries where nationalism and nationhood were late in developing, was not new by anyone’s standards. Nor was his obvious borrowing from Lyautey. Most of his predecessors, contemporaries, and heirs owe much to the marshal who labored long for France in Indochina, Madagascar, and Morocco, not to mention metropolitan France itself.

Morla adopted Lyautey’s ideas from the controversial article of 1891 and from the less controversial “Du Rôle colonial de l’armée,”17 and applied them to Peruvian circumstances. He also discussed questions in 1933 that had been raised first by French observers, then by Peruvians themselves. In doing so, he provided an important link between past and future.

The army was an agent of culture (in the Lyauteyan sense of civics, patriotic orientation, and literacy) and of democracy (in the sense of equality of opportunity in the ranks). Obligatory military service permitted the common man to be educated and trained, transformed from a “vegetating mass” into a productive citizen. Morla insisted that military service could “tie the country together” through the shared experience of a structured institution. This was a direct application of Lyautey’s rôle social to Peru.

Addressing the Indian question, Morla wrote that the indigenous Peruvian who served his tour of duty became integrated into national life,” was given the rudiments of an education, was taught personal hygiene, but was allowed to retain the “positive attributes” of his heritage. Military service, in short, worked miracles; a far cry from reality, for if it had, Mercado would not have had to restate the case so forcefully three decades later. The barracks was a school, he theorized, and the army’s mission was one of civilization, “una misión civilizadora.”18 Already indebted to “Du Rôle social,” Morla then proceeded to apply “Du Rôle colonial” to Peru.

Agricultural colonies and cooperatives under military supervision, he thought, were ideal for settlement of frontier areas that were unincorporated into the national life. Roads, railroads, and airlines linking the colonies and the frontier to the populated areas would serve both military and commercial purposes. The army engineers were best qualified to provide necessary leadership and expertise, and army-trained “legions” would “forge nationhood” and eliminate regionalism. In this way the army would break the cultural and topographical barriers to national unity and would stimulate agricultural and mineral output.19 Colonization, railroads, highways, airplanes, and the army engineers would make a modern country of Peru.

In addition, the kind of civic action envisaged by Morla would promote social discipline, respect for authority, and moral standards.20 Therein lay the essence of twentieth-century Peruvian army officerclass thought. Since its inception as a professional group, the officer class has never held that the “civilizing mission” is to elevate the lower classes to a higher social status. Order, hierarchy, authority, discipline, and improved moral standards have never been linked to radical social change in military literature; such qualities simply do not decline with modernization or civilization—not if the army has anything to do with it. The 1968 assumption of a reformist position which included reforms at the expense of an “anachronistic oligarchy” and a “fractious middle sector” in no way meant that the officer class constituted an apostolate of upheaval, either in Morla’s thought or that of Mercado.

Morla’s essay stands also as a counterattack to APRA’s early, extremist schemes for reform, and those who accompanied him in print during the 1930s expanded on his counterattack much as those of the 1960s would expand on the inadequate proposals of Arthur D. Little. Both eras are characterized by professional cynicism based on civilian failures and the potential danger of extremism in the face of underdevelopment.

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Portugal, in a 1933 essay, lamented Peru’s inadequate surface transportation and communications. He too tied military interests to commercial ones. Portugal wrote that World War I had proved the necessity of a modern network of highways in Europe for the transportation of troops and provisions. This was equally true in South America.21 Captain Mauricio Barbis also argued for a better road system to facilitate colonization, commerce, and defense.22 Barbis called the army “the sentinel of the fatherland: its calling is to take up the reins of national development.”

Early the next year Colonel Jorge Vargas, in “Charla sobre el ejercito,”23 told the good burghers of Cuzco, his fellow Rotarians, of the army’s contributions to national greatness. This bit of service club professional boosterism must have been repeated wherever Rotarians gathered in the Andes for food and fellowship, but alas, only Vargas’ contribution remains as an example. He tied national defense to internal development, education, communications, and the redemption of the Indian. Like those before and after him, he discussed tersely the army’s social role as a peacetime obligation; where else, he asked, but in the army, did Indians have an opportunity to become literate, disciplined, healthy citizens?

Essays published in 1935 by Captain César Velarde and Lieutenant Colonel Alejandro Aliaga reconfirmed Lyautey’s influence in Peru. The first of Velarde’s two essays attacked excessive individualism in civilian society by calling upon Peruvians to be mindful of their obligations to their fellow citizens.24 The army, he thought, set a proper example of corporate responsibility. Civilians ought to emulate the discipline and sobriety of men in uniform as well as the mutual respect of subalterns and those in positions of authority. Velarde believed that Peru needed social and cultural integrity and that the army was the prime agent of integration because of obligatory military service. This essay is one of the earliest instances in which a military author made use of Túpac Amaru’s eighteenth-century admonition: “Ama Hulla, ama sua, ama ccella,”25 and the essay was written, of course, some three decades before he became an official culture hero and symbol of the agrarian reform program.

Velarde’s second essay of the year was another concise call for an expanded military role, in this case as educator of the lower classes.26 He claimed that sixty percent of each year’s draftees were illiterate and that some 80, 000 men had learned to read and write, absorbed the elements of civics, and learned the rudiments of personal hygiene in the years since 1912. He supported Vargas’ concept of a military “peacetime obligation.”

Velarde’s superior, Colonel Alejandro Aliaga, echoed these arguments and those of Lyautey, indicating an adherence in Peru to a standard military tenet: reliance on precedent. In his “Papel social del ejército en tiempo de paz,”27 he hewed to the Morla-Vargas-Velarde line. The army was the school of “civic spirit” and the inculcator of discipline, loyalty, and honor; the army was the integrator of Indian, cholo, mulatto, Negro, oriental, and white. It was the provider of technical expertise to the country. As if this were not enough, the army was Peru’s only remaining counterpoise to “los tentáculos del monstruo comunista.”28 Thus, APRA was not the only political force feared by army officers, not the only justification for the continued existence of conscription.

Wariness of partisan politics and lack of consensus kept officers from heatedly advocating military leadership as the solution to all national problems. So did the presence of the largely misunderstood, but highly talented Marshal Oscar Benavides, president from 1933 to 1939, whose military-political aura was akin to that of the Duke of Caxias, Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, and Agustín Justo. A soldier and an aristocrat, he was able to keep the army out of politics by keeping himself in. He clearly saw the relationships between internal security and development, and strove to modernize Peru. During his presidency, the Revista Militar del Perú espoused a developmental role but warned against political meddling.

In 1936 (the year Benavides voided the presidential election and announced he would serve the full six-year term of an elected president), Major Enrique Barreto treated two subjects that would become prominent in the literature of the 1960s: the role of the general staff and the need for industrial development. He wrote that the army must not be affected by political squabbling if it were to provide adequately for national defense. By implication, partisan politics and parliamentary government were detrimental to both the public interest and to national defense—a standard position among South American and European military figures of the time. Moreover, Barreto thought, the general staff in peacetime could serve as the perfect coordinating agency for economic development and social mobilization. Therefore, the general staff should be given peacetime responsibility and authority, and it should have access to all necessary data on industry, agriculture, population, transportation, and communications in order to be permanently prepared for war.29

In their 1936 editorial “La política interna y el ejército,” the editors of the Revista Militar del Perú opined that “the army is the purest condensation and experience of the national soul” (with nary an acknowledgement to either Vigny or Seeckt).30 “To menace the fatherland is to threaten the army,” they reasoned, in somewhat convoluted fashion, admonishing their readers to think of “the fatherland above all,” and to eschew partisan politics. They also cautioned civilians against meddling in army affairs, a clear response to APRA’s efforts to subvert discipline, incite soldiers to disobey orders, and divide the officer class against itself.31 The army was thus stationed above divisive politics and placed on the same level as the fatherland, the state, the nation.

There are few examples in military literature of direct high level appeals to civilians for their support and goodwill. The best is the printed version of War Minister Federico Hurtado’s radio address of March 24, 1938.32 General Hurtado went on a national hookup to present the army’s viewpoint on political affairs and touched on the themes discussed by many of his 1930s’ predecessors. “The army,” he said, not surprisingly, was the “most noble symbol of the nation.” International respect and national security were maintained only by preparedness for conflict, and preparedness could be assured only through obligatory military service which educated and civilized the common citizen. The army remained above politics and parties. Hurtado’s views were by no means original. They constitute a summation of Peruvian adaptations of attitudes prevalent in Europe and South America since the late nineteenth century. He simply may have been anticipating an immediate future without the army’s caudillo in the presidential palace. Many of the leaders of the 1968 movement were subalterns or cadets at this time and they must have been aware of the profession’s delicate position concerning involvement or non-involvement in civilian affairs. To many, total abstention must have been wishful thinking; to others, of course, it was out of the question.

The Chorrillos graduating class of December 1938 was treated to a commencement address by the Marshal-President himself. Benavides cautiously summed up points of view expressed in the 1930s in the following manner: “It is not enough for the army officer to possess the highest of military virtues, to enrich constantly his knowledge, and to train and drill soldiers and citizens for the defense of the fatherland. Simultaneously he plays a social and civilizing role. He improves and brings nearer a future for a race which, thanks in great part to military service, we have incorporated into the functional life of the nation.”33 Wishful thinking and hyperbole, beyond doubt, heady stuff to be sure, Benavides’ words certainly encouraged those graduates to perceive themselves as more than uniformed bureaucrats. They contrast sharply with those spoken the next year by the newly elected president, Manuel Prado y Ugarteche, symbol of the limeño oligarchy, and a man indifferent to the developmental role of the army.

Prado’s charge to the December 1939 graduating class praised the army for its glorious past, stated that modern science and technology were important components of military power, and concluded that the armed forces ought to have accurate information on natural resources, economic potential, and manpower in case of war. These were safe words in late 1939,34 and he ventured no further. He saw no “civilizing mission,” no “noble symbol of the nation,” no “perfect condensation and experience of the national soul,” no “counterpoise to the tentacles of the communist monster,” no transforming of the “vegetating mass” of Indians and cholos. In short, to Prado and his kind, the army existed to fight wars and, only if all else failed, to keep the right kind of people in power and the wrong kind of people at bay. Pern’s shift from marshal-aristocrat to civilian-oligarch was more than coincidental. As the turbulent decade drew to a close, French officers, representatives of the ideals of Lyautey who continued the Franco-Peruvian military tie established in 1896, returned to their own patrie in a vain attempt to defend it from the German invaders. Soon the Peruvian army, in contrast, would meet with success in the field, in the war with Ecuador, yet would chafe at its government’s decision not to continue the conflict until Ecuador was totally defeated. Such counterpoint helped to frame the outlook on military-civilian relations in the Chorrillos promociones of the era. Their national view combined ambition, frustration, and continued introspection.

By the time of World War II and Zarumilla-Marañón, the officer class, while hardly committed to military direction of national affairs, clearly displayed a social consciousness and more than a touch of professional militarism. But it would be just as much of an error to ascribe the genesis of these characteristics to the politically troublous 1930s as it has been to ascribe them to post-World War II causes. Professional militarism is based on the inchnation to apply military solutions to national problems, a distaste for partisan politics, and belief in a social function. All of these found ample expression in Peruvian military literature nearly three decades before Morla wrote “Función social,” before the army and APRA entered into conflict, and before Oscar Benavides came to power. The military ideology of the golpe of 1968 has an even more extensive historical background.

The earliest mention of the misión civilizadora, for example, appears in a brief note of 1904 published in Boletín del Ministerio de Guerra y Marina, forerunner of Revista Militar del Perú, by Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Velarde Alvarez. In “Instrucción civil del soldado,”35 Velarde went straight to the point by reminding his readers of a decree of 1888 establishing civics programs in the barracks. Troops were to be taught the elements of history, government, reading, and writing. Conscripts and volunteers were thus to be civilized. But the program had languished and the army suffered as a result.

Civilized men, not ignorant, illiterate peasants, won the German victories of 1870-1871, he claimed. “Books, maps and blackboards” won battles as much as hordes of soldiers. Too long had the Indians been kept in a primitive state by the gamonales. As indirect a criticism of the land tenure system as this was, it carried a challenge to latifundia. Rather the army, despite Peru’s agrarian system, would mold citizens. Indians formed the backbone of the soldiering citizenry, and what better mission than to integrate them into the national life through military service. “What more meritorious labor than to transform the unfortunate helot into a civilized being; the miserable slave of tyranny and superstition into a free man, conscious of his rights and duties; the victims of their own vices and ignorance into leaders, and perhaps even saviors of their own people.”36 Such was the stuff with which a military ideology was forged early in this century when the French dominated Peruvian military preparation.

Prior to 1914—year of the overthrow of President Guillermo Billinghurst and the arrival of Luis Sánchez Cerro and Oscar Benavides on the politico-military scene, and year of the outbreak of war in Europe—there were seven firm examples of officer-class interest in a civilizing mission, and many others of peripheral import. Each is identifiable by its reliance on arguments presented by Lyautey in his essays of 1891 and 1900, and transmitted via the French officers who taught in the Escuela Militar and in the Escuela Superior de Guerra. The ideas found in each would be reiterated for decades.

Nothing of merit followed Velarde’s note until 1910, when J. C. Guerrero published two essays, both entitled “La educación e instrucción de la raza indígena en las escuelas civiles de tropa.” The civics program of which Velarde had spoken was still languishing and, like Velarde, Guerrero found this situation intolerable. “Let us educate the Indian,” he wrote, “and we will have a citizen; once we have citizens, then we will have a nation.”37 Later that year Lieutenant A. Escalona continued in this direction, pleading for drill and instruction of Indian troops in the Quechua language and for classes in which the officer class could learn Quechua in order to better communicate with the Indian.38 The experience of military life transmitted through the Quechua language (which dialect was not stipulated) would therefore integrate the Indian into the mainstream of national life. Then Major David Fernandini published the first of three 1911 articles firmly establishing the trend.

Fernandini consistently emphasized the importance of military life for the masses. His first two essays,39 dealt in general terms with what he called a “wholesome barracks-life experience.” These were followed by Captain Nicanor Beunza’s, “Servicio militar en el Perú,” which sharply criticized the extant obligatory service law and its application. Beunza accused a “brutalizing trinity of provincial governor, judge, and priest” of malfeasance and incompetence in administration of record keeping. The Indian had to be wrested from the control of these exploiters before he could become a useful citizen of Peru through military service,40 but the best was yet to come.

Major Femandini’s third essay of the year dealt with the difficulties of inculcating patriotism and “love of country” in the conscripts. He made no mention of the army’s inglorious historical record, but insisted that an appreciation of the country’s history through study of its heroes was necessary for the soldier. He suggested that training officers stress the role of Túpac Amaru as precursor to independence in order that Indian and cholo identify with Peru’s past—and present. Once the masses were thus imbued with love of country and patriotic verve, he believed optimistically, “then we can say ‘Banzai Peru! ’”41 This was a truly hyperbolic reaction in a country where the military past was dismal, but where young officers had great hopes for their professional future.

Major Carlos Echazú was equally outspoken in “La disciplina militar,” albeit for a different reason. The major sought to impede civilian meddling in military affairs, and conversely military involvement in anything but strictly professional questions. He juxtaposed democracy with authoritarianism and civil liberties with military discipline: “The officer may think what he wishes, but more than anything he must obey …. Respect for civil liberties and freedom of speech, which society maintains by law, is replaced in the military by respect, blind obedience, and denial of the right to question authority or actions of those in authority.”42 Abnegation, service to the fatherland, and sacrifice governed military life. Echazus adoption of these arguments advanced in French military literature helped to convince his fellows that their way was the more patriotic, organized, disciplined, productive, and progressive.43 The drawing of the line between military and civilian life had begun.

Soon after World War I a wave of antimilitary thought swept the West. The horrors of the war, the brutality of combat, the calculating behavior of the German warlords, allegations of profiteering by armaments magnates, events in Russia, economic crises, and the dislocation of a generation led many political leaders to see disarmament as the way to achieve the lasting peace. In Latin America antimilitarism was seen as the way to keep restless political officers from developing a wider range of interests and responsibilities. This, of course, prompted a military response in the form of renewed interests and widening of responsibilities, at first in a defensive way, then in a more aggressive and belligerent manner.

In an essay published in 1919, General José Maravá stated that the army was both “useful and necessary.” It contributed to national progress by spreading modern technology, and it prepared conscripts for the trades and disseminated culture in the barracks.44 The tone of this essay was mild when compared to the 1914 and prewar arguments of Fernandini and Echazú, Velarde and Escalona. A 1919 editorial quoted President Augusto Leguía (just beginning his 1919-1930 government, the oncenio): “My government will spare no effort whatsoever to accomplish everything possible relevant to the flourishing of our armed forces, for they constitute the basis, not only of national defense, but of national growth.”45 Leguía meant to mollify, to coopt, for he knew he would need military support. The military response, voiced in the editorials and articles of the Boletín del Ministerio de Guerra y Marina did not disappoint him—at first. Military writers stressed the army’s political neutrality in the struggle which brought Leguía to power; but they also stressed strong support for governments which represented “the will of the people.” Army editors and authors denied subservience to “the oligarchy,” “arbitrary government,” or any “specific administration,” and claimed the army represented “the nation” and “the people.” During the oncenio, Leguía introduced officers to the realities of partisan politics and to the extreme difficulty of representing the will of the people. This was good training for the turbulent decade to come.

Midway through the oncenio, military writers once again assumed the offensive, reacting to Leguía’s meddling in military internal matters and his failure to treat the army in the style to which it wanted to become accustomed. The Francophile Lieutenant Colonel José M. Pérez Manzanares published his translation of an essay by General Bernard Serrigny entitled “La organización de la nación para el tiempo de guerra.”46 This treatise was an appeal for military-civilian collaboration in preparation for and conduct of war. French insistence on close military-civilian relations was thus proposed in Peru for carefully defined national defense purposes. Once linked to social and development roles and to internal security questions in the period following 1930, the theoretical foundation of the 1968 golpe would be laid. Once bound to military supervision of social and economic reform programs and elimination of causes of popular discontent, that foundation would be solid.

Military ideology found additional expression during the oncenio. Captain Andrés Escalona, concerned about the number of conscripts fleeing the barracks, suggested that inductees be introduced gradually to military life, “broken in,” then kept busy. “Let them work, play, sing and laugh; in sum, let them enjoy themselves, but do not let them think.”47 He concluded that this scheme would promote esprit de corps—a questionable conclusion, at best.

General François Pellegrin’s “El c. a. e. m. de Francia” (another of Pérez Manzanares’ translations), outlined the prewar origins of higher military studies in France.48 The idea of a high-level training program for officers and selected civilians, stressing economics, administration, mobilization, geopolitics, and sociology was popular in Peruvian army circles a full quarter-century before the country got its own CAEM. Pellegrin, Lyautey’s aide-de-camp during World War I, was instrumental in popularizing the potential of such an institute in Peru.

Of special significance in tracing the continuities of Peruvian military thought from the early twentieth century to the 1968 golpe was a proposal of Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Montagne Markholtz. Not content that the role of the military should be confined to questions of national security, Montagne advocated all-weather linking of the southern Andes between Arequipa and Cuzco by a new route through Sicuani.49 Though the details are of little significance today, he argued forcefully that the road would open up new areas for economic development as well as provide for defense of the region. Marshal Lyautey would have approved; French officers in Peru at the time did.50 It is of more than passing interest that Montagne’s son, General Ernesto Montagne Sánchez, served as Peruvian Minister of War from 1968 to 1972.

Peru’s controversial conscripción vial—road gang levies in isolated areas—was the subject of a 1926 essay by Lieutenant Colonel Vidal C. Panizo. He too linked highway construction to defense, nation-building, and to patriotism as well. To oppose the program, moreover, was to deny one’s heritage, for it “marks a brilliant achievement in the parliamentary history of Peru.”51 Soon, Panizo hoped, there would be a highway network linking Lima and the sierra with Bolivia, and hence with Buenos Aires on the Atlantic Ocean. Montagne’s suggestions for highways to serve military and economic imperatives pale in comparison, for Panizo also emphasized the role of the highway as transmitter of Western culture and civilization to the Peruvian heartland.

Furthermore, according to Lieutenant Paz García, the Indian of that heartland could still do with a bit of civilization. Stating a familiar theme, he thought the Indian could become acculturated (with or without a dose of roadwork) through his military service. “The Indian,” wrote Paz García, “has been and continues to be vilely exploited by those who will not recognize … that he is a principal resource for the future of our nation.”52 Civilian educational schemes as yet had done nothing to free the Indian from the gamonal. Neither had the administrators and judges who served the interests of the oligarchy. It was they who made the Indian resent military service, for they sought his time and labor for themselves. With better facilities, patience, understanding, and “strong but paternal” discipline the Indian could adjust, serve, and ultimately leave the army “healthy, moderately literate, and morally pure.” Like Escalona sixteen years before, Paz García stressed better barracks, food, and equipment as conditions that would attract and hold the Indian to military service. He shared Escalona’s unflagging and ingenuous belief in the ability of the army to civilize the Indian. (The opinion held by Indians about all this, it goes without saying, remains unknown.) This belief was widespread among the officer class and along with it the contention that government ought to make sure the army had the wherewithal to carry out its task.

The ubiquitous Vidal Panizo concurred. As the anti-Leguía forces began to gather, he proclaimed that “discipline is the soul of the army;”53 intraservice harmony was the rule because of the moral purity of the officer class; the orders of officers were just, their fulfillment necessary; the officer’s mission was important and its completion a prerequisite to national progress. Beset by politiquería on all sides, officers realized the precarious nature of their situation. As they did they sought solace and self-justification in their civilizing mission and their social role as had their French mentors years before when buffeted by politicians in the pre-World War I years.

No matter the decade, Peruvian sources give ample evidence of the durability of officer-class self-perception and continuity of thought on their domestic responsibilities. These have included defense, security development, national progress, integration, civic action, whatever terminology has happened to be in vogue. Panizo, Paz García, Montagne, and their colleagues can be viewed as transition figures between pre-World War I and pre-World War II variations of professional militarism. So can the likes of Major Genaro Muro, Captains Francisco Valdivia and Federico Gómez Cobos, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Portugal, and Lieutenant Mauricio Barbis.

Muro saw frontier area colonization, for example, as the key to Peruvian progress. Bolivians and Brazilians living in the oriente posed a threat to Peru’s sovereignty. Agricultural settlements administered by the army would both protect and produce—an argument then as old as nineteenth-century military colonization in North Africa, yet comparable to the various schemes put forth by the Mercado generation. Muro thought the oriente was the “land of the future,” and that “civilization would conquer the wilderness.”54 Captain Valdivia echoed Montagne and Panizo in his brief for a national highway system, “the veins of the [state] organism,” transmitting industry, trade, agriculture, defense capability, culture, and civilization to all corners of Peru.55 If the Inca had fresh fish daily in Cuzco, reasoned Valdivia pithily, so should modern day Peruvians.

Captain Gómez, writing in June 1930, stated that defense depended on the proper assembly and maintenance of statistics, but he was convinced that existing civilian institutions were incapable of fulfilling this task. Provincial garrison commanders needed accurate data on resources, communications, transport, harvests, storage facilities, and manpower (all heavily emphasized in contemporary postwar French military literature), if they were to defend the country.56 His argument was legitimate, and it was something upon which to build.

As the oncenio merged violently with the Great Depression, Leguía fell to Lieutenant Colonel Sánchez Cerro, then he to an assassin’s bullet, thus opening the way to Marshal Benavides. The fact that continuity of thought and self-perception was maintained during this difficult time attests to the durability of professional militarism. Writing on military colonization in the montana, for example, Lieutenant Barbis championed the cause of his aforementioned “sentinel of the fatherland” by calling for an army role in national social and economic development very much like that which Manuel Morla had just advocated and which Mercado Jarrín would eventually propose and then observe.

Well before the Great Depression, therefore, Peruvian military literature had dealt with themes hitherto normally attributed to or associated with either the officers who first confronted APRA in the 1930s or with the 1968 golpistas, and the reformers from CAEM and SINAMOS. The long tradition is attributable to the fact that since late in the past century the army was under the intellectual as well as technical influence of French military missions. France’s military monopoly persisted in Peru until World War II and forms but one chapter in a history of German and French professional penetration of South America.57 While the German presence in Chile and the French impress upon Brazil may be better known, the 1896-1940 Franco-Peruvian tie was without question the least adulterated transmission of military culture from the Old World to the New. Residual French influence remained long after 1940.

To the French, Peru was a New World Annam and Algeria, a transatlantic Madagascar and Morocco; a sovereign nation with a colonial socioeconomic structure; a “European” country with an exotic, primitive substance; a prime locale for application of colonial military theory as set down by Joseph Simon Galliéni, Lyautey, and their fellows. The influence of the French permeates Peruvian military literature, as clearly noted, from the first decade of this century.

In 1896, under the leadership of Colonel Paul Clément, French officers began the organization and education of a battered and maligned Peruvian army.58 They took over all but the top command posts, reorganized and dominated the Escuela Militar (until the 1920s), organized and directed the Escuela Superior de Guerra from 1904 forward, and even made plans for an institute of advanced military studies modeled after the short-lived (1909-1910) Centre des Hautes Etudes Militaires, known popularly as the “école des élèves marechaux,” the “school of the marshals.”59

A number of mission officers had served in Africa and more than a few under Galliéni and Lyautey. They transmitted directly to Peru the ideas that found their way into the literature discussed in this essay. It was they who began the long march to 1968, via the oncenio, the Great Depression, Zarumilla-Marañón, the Cold War, CAEM, and counterinsurgency.

General Mercado’s article discussed at the opening of this essay stressed the significance of the 1940-1965 quarter-century as a transition period. Peru’s domestic and international experience in this period helped bridge the gap, but French military thought provided the basic continuity.60 Thus the lessons of the French masters and the proposals of their pupils could still find expression in the 1960s and 1970s. Penetration of the interior, colonization, assembly of statistics and data, obligatory military service as an educational experience, la misión civilizadora, military-civilian socioeconomic cooperation, and the tying of national development to internal security are all attributable to the French presence.

In November 1946, just as the United States was supposedly gaining influence in Peruvian military affairs, the army devoted a week to honoring their former mentors. The event was the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival in Callao of Paul Clément. The Revista Militar del Perú dedicated its November issue to the French, and that month’s Revista de la Escuela Militar de Chorrillos had a lengthy section on “Las misiones militares francesas.”61 Stripped of the hyperbole which permeates such occasions, the Peruvian debt looms large. Officer after officer lavished praise, cited the French origins of policy after policy and program after program, noted achievement after achievement, and recalled the “good old days.” It was a postwar revival—in the mystical, fervent sense—of Francophilia in the officer class, and it was a demonstration of independence and wariness of U. S. influence a full twenty years earlier than many have considered.62

Four years later CAEM, the long awaited Peruvian version of the post-World War I Centre des Hautes Etudes de la Defense Nationale, began operations, and in 1954 the Escuela Superior de Guerra celebrated its own fiftieth anniversary.63 One aspect of this jubilee was the launching of the Revista de la Escuela Superior de Guerra, and from the first issue its editors emphasized a widened area of military responsibility and an expanded concept of national defense. Within a decade the then Colonel Mercado was a member of the editorial board. He and colonels Enrique Gallegos Venero, Gastón Ibáñez, Armando Cueto Zevallos and Alvaro Pito were writing regularly on security, development, staff planning, counterinsurgency, frontier and interior colonization, geopolitics, economic development, social change, and the need for a military-civilian national unity of purpose.64 As well as those officers mentioned at the outset, Gallegos, Cueto, and Pito contributed to the influential literature of the 1960s. One of their primary points of reference was the activity of the French army—successful and unsuccessful—in the contemporary Algerian and Indochinese crises and as a counterpoise to Marxism.65 Franco-Peruvian tradition thus successfully offset both imported Cuban-style Marxism and Peru’s weak democratic tradition.

Rededication to the French model, and the confrontation of problems of the present with solutions and theories based on past experience, lends to the golpe of 1968 a historical quality. The army officer, once called by Lyautey a “marvelous agent of social action” became convinced in Peru that he was indeed “the right man in the right place.”66 That place, as he ultimately saw it in Peru, was at the head of all, or nearly all, government affairs as the agent of development, barrier against upheaval, provider of security, and civilizer of a nation. Having long expressed hostility toward certain sectors of the civilian population, officers decided to replace politicians and landowners, for example, with men in uniform functioning as administrators and policymakers. A full decade in such a capacity revealed an inability to mesh theory and practice in the present but did little to diminish the obvious reliance on the past. Much of that advocated was not put into action; most of what was enacted was based on early twentieth-century thought and self-perception perpetuated as an ideology by army writers and theorists, adapting many values and ideals of the past to the present.


See, for example, George D. E. Phillip, The Rise and Fall of the Peruvian Military Radicals, 1968-1976 (London, 1978), ch. 1, “The Course of Peruvian Politics, 1948-1968,” pp. 13-52. This book contains a good bibliography of secondary sources dealing with recent Peru. See also Abraham F. Lowenthal, ed., The Peruvian Experiment: Continuity and Change under Military Rule (Princeton, 1975), especially the editor’s own “Peru’s Ambiguous Revolution,” pp. 3-43; and Luigi Einaudi and Alfred Stepan, Latin American Institutional Development: Changing Military Perspectives in Peru and Brazil (Santa Monica, 1971).


See Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey, “Du Role social de l’officer,” Revue des Deux Mondes, Mar. 15, 1891, pp. 443-459 (hereafter cited as RDM). This article was so controversial that, although published anonymously, it resulted in the author’s assignment to Indochina. A brief treatment of the French role in the professionalization of the Peruvian army can be found in Victor Villanueva, Ejército peruano: Del caudillaje anárquico al militarismo reformista (Lima, 1973), pp. 122-133. This passage has been anthologized in Brian Loveman and Thomas M. Davies, Jr., eds., The Politics of Antipolitics: The Military in Latin America (Lincoln, 1978), pp. 79-85. See also Lyle N. McAlister, “Peru,” in McAlister, Anthony P. Maingot, and Robert A. Potash, The Military in Latin American Socio-Political Evolution: Four Case Studies (Washington, D. C., 1970), pp. 21-83, for solid historical, institutional background to the 1960s.


Mercado, El ejercito de hoy y su proyección en nuestra sociedad en período de transición, 1940-1965,” Revista Militar del Perú (Nov. -Dec. 1964), pp. 1-20 (hereafter cited as RMP). Inconsistencies in issue numeration and dating of journals make it advisable and no less helpful to date them by month of publication only.


Mercado, “El ejército de hoy,” p. 6.


Mercado, “El ejército de hoy,” pp. 7-9. Cf. Lyautey, “Du Rôle social, p. 443: “Learn well that amidst the ruins of hierarchies that were, there will be no end to the need for social discipline, for respect, for abnegation—and that the army will always be the best, if not the only school in which you can learn these virtues.”


Mercado, “El ejército de hoy,” pp. 7-12.


“Programa de desarrollo industrial y regional del Perú,” Revista de la Escuela Superior de Guerra (Apr. -June 1961), pp. 7-38 (hereafter cited as RESG). It did not please most members of the army who served prominently under Velasco, for unlike a contemporary CAEM project, it called for civilian control of all programs.


Bobbio, “¿Qué ejército necesita el Perú?” RMP (Mar. -Apr. 1963), p. 134. (Bobbio’s italics.)


Bobbio, “¿Qué ejército?” pp. 132-136 passim.


Morales Bermúdez, “Planeamiento estratégico,” RESG (Jan. -Mar. 1963), pp. 7-12.


Morales Bermúdez, “Planeamiento estratégico,” p. 7.


Ibáñez, “Comando y delegación de autoridad y responsabilidad,” RESG (Apr. -June 1965), pp. 9-26.


Sánchez, “El comité de asuntos civiles: Nexo civil-militar,” RESG (Oct. -Dec. 1963), pp. 43-49. See also, Angel Valdivia Morriberón, “El estado y la planificación,” RESG (Oct. -Dec. 1963), pp. 113-120.


Sánchez, “El comité de asuntos civiles,” p. 44.


Urbina, “La regionalización del país y el desarrollo económico,” RESG (Jan. -Mar. 1967), pp. 7-13.


Morla, “Función social del ejército en la organización de la nacionalidad,” RMP (Oct. 1933), pp. 843-872.


Lyautey, “Du Rôle colonial de l’armée,” RDM (Jan. 1, 1900), pp. 308-329. This signed article applied the rôle social to the work of nation-building in the French colonies.


Morla, “Función social,” pp. 854-862 passim.


Ibid., pp. 863-864.


Ibid., pp. 864-872 passim.


Portugal, “Las vías de comunicación desde el punto de vista del comercio y de los problemas militares,” RMP (Aug. 1933), pp. 659-664.


Barbis, “El ejército y la colonización de la montaña,” RMP (Dec. 1933), pp. 1239-1242.


Vargas, “Charla sobre el ejército,” RMP (Jan. 1934), pp. 103-110.


Velarde, “¡Superación, superación!” RMP (Jan. 1935), pp. 105-111.


“Do not lie, do not steal, do not be lazy.” Lyautey’s “Du Rôle social” was translated by Colonel J. M. Pérez Manzanares and published as “Papel social del oficial,” RMP (Mar. 1934), pp. 285-309.


Velarde, “La instrucción civil en el ejército,” RMP (Nov. 1935), pp. 2119-2121.


Aliaga, “Papel social del ejército en tiempo de paz,” RMP (Dec. 1935), pp. 2309-2315.


Ibid., p. 2313.


Enrique Barreto, “Rol de los estados mayores en tiempo de paz,” RMP (Aug. 1936), pp. 1381-1398.


Cf. Alfred de Vigny, The Military Necessity (originally Servitude et grandeurs militaires [Paris, 1935]), trans. by Humphrey Hare (London, 1953), ch. 2, p. 14: “The army is a nation within the nation … and Hans von Seeckt, Thoughts of a Soldier (originally Gedanken eines Soldaten [Leipzig, 1928]), trans. by Gilbert Waterhouse (London, 1930), p. 77: “The army should become a state within the state … it should itself become the purest image of the state.”


“La política interna y el ejército,” RMP (Sept. 1936), pp. 1577-1581. Information on APRA-army relations during this period can be found in Davies, Jr. and Villanueva, eds., Trescientos documentos para la historia del Apra (Lima, 1979).


Hurtado, “El ministro de la guerra se dirige a la cuidadanía,” RMP (Mar. 1938), pp. i-xxii. Hurtado also served as one of three appointed vice presidents under Benavides.


Benavides, “Discurso del presidente de la república en la ceremonia de clausura del año académico de la escuela militar,” RMP (Jan. 1939), pp. i-vi.


Prado y Ugarteche, “Discurso en la clausura del año académico de la escuela militar,” RMP (Jan. 1940), pp. i-vi.


Velarde Alvarez, “Instrucción civil del soldado,” Boletín del Ministerio de Guerra y Marina (Oct. 1904), pp. 843-845 (hereafter cited as BMGM).


Ibid., p. 844.


Guerrero, “La educación e instrucción de la raza indígena en las escuelas civiles de tropa,” BMGM (June 1910), pp. 666-668; and (July 1910), pp. 713-714.


Escalona, “El kechua y su importancia para los oficiales peruanos,” BMGM (Dec. 1910), pp. 1296-1298. This and other briefs for officer language training anticipate attempts made after 1968 to make a bilingual nation of Peru. Owing to the fact that there are at least five distinct dialects spoken in the Andes, intercultural communication, recognized as a barrier to national integration, remained one in the 1970s, military claims to the contrary notwithstanding.


Fernandini, “Conveniente reglamentación del servicio militar obligatorio,” BMGM (Feb. 1911), pp. 181-196; and “El ciudadano y sus deberes para con la patria,” BMGM (Mar. 1911), pp. 314-318.


Beunza, “Servicio militar en el Perú,” BMGM (Mar. 1911), pp. 255-263. Beunza’s “brutalizing trinity” was, of course, copied directly from Manuel González Prada’s 1888 “Discurso en el Politeama.” See Páginas libres, 2 vols. (Lima 1966), I, 63-64.


Femandini, “Medio de desarrollar el amor a la patria,” BMGM (May 1911), pp. 564-570.


Echazú, “La disciplina militar,” BMGM (Dec. 1914), pp. 1451-1455.


As examples, see Lieutenant C. Riet, “L’Armée moralisatrice,” Journal des Sciences Militaires/Revue Militaire Française (May 1896), pp. 255-274 (despite reversal of title order and change to biweekly status in 1908, hereafter cited as JSM/RMF); Henri Baraude, “L’Armée en 1900: Ce qu’elle devrait être,” JSM/RMF (June 1899), pp. 395-405, and (July 1899), pp. 46-56; Capitaine Gerard, “Instruction et education militaires,” JSM/RMF (Feb. 1903), pp. 250-268; Georges Duruy, “L’Officier educateur,” JSM/RMF (Mar. 1904), pp. 360-368; Capitaine M. Demongeot, “L’Éducation de la solidaritée dans l’armée,” JSM/RMF 1904), pp. 78-97, and (Nov. 1904), pp. 248-257; Lieutenant Lauth, “Nos soldats: Paysan, ouvrier, employée,” JSM/RMF (Nov. 1906), pp. 257-279; Dr. Viguier, “Rôle de l’officier en matière d’hygiène,” JSM/RMF (Apr. 1907), pp. 112-137; Capitaine M. Demongeot, “L’Éducation de la solidaritée dans l’armée,” JSM/RMF (Feb. 1910), pp. 272-286; and General Langlois, “Le Haut commandment,” RDM (Sept. 1, 1911), pp. 764-793.


Maravá, “El ejército y la armada y la cultura nacional,” BMGM (June-July 1919), pp. 799-817.


BMGM (Aug. 1919), pp. 927-928.


Serrigny, “La organización de la nación para el tiempo de guerra,” Revista del Círculo Militar del Peru (Feb. 1924), pp. 199-220 (hereafter cited as RCMP). This journal succeeded the BMGM until 1933, when it was renamed RMP. This essay originally appeared as “L’Organisation de la nation pour le temps de guerre,” RDM (Sept. 1923), pp. 583-602.


Escalona, “Los conscriptos,” RCMP (Feb. 1925), pp. 130-134.


Pellegrin, “El c. a. e. m. de Francia,” RCMP (Mar. 1925), pp. 229-240.


Montagne, “Un camino de interés nacional,” RCMP (Apr. 1925), pp. 336-340. Montagne also served as one of Benavides’ appointed vice presidents.


See Estado Mayor General, Viaje de estudios de la escuela superior de guerra dirigida por el coronel Naulin, subjefe del e. m.; del 5 al 30 de noviembre de 1904 (Lima, 1905).


Panizo, “La ley de conscripción vial y la defensa del país,” RCMP (Apr. 1926), pp. 339-341. For details on the program, see Davies, Jr., Indian Integration in Peru: A Half Century of Experience, 1900-1948 (Lincoln, 1974).


Paz García, “El cuartel y la redención del indio,” RCMP (Apr. 1926), pp. 385-394.


Panizo, “La disciplina es el alma del ejército,” RCMP (Dec. 1926), pp. 1409-1417.


Muro, “Colonización de nuestros ríos fronterizos de oriente,” RCMP (Oct. 1927), pp. 33-38.


Valdivia, “Conscripción vial,” RCMP (Dec. 1927), pp. 249-254.


Gómez, “Datos estadísticos,” RCMP (June 1930), pp. 187-196. See the following sources published in the Revue Militaire Français (hereafter cited as RMF), post-World War I successor to JSM/RMF: Lieutenant Colonel Emile Mayer, “Nôtre organisation militaire,” RMF (Sept. 1910), pp. 311-326; Capitaine Damidaux, “L’Officier d’état major,” RMF (Oct. 1925), pp. 84-94; Major de Gaulle, “Du Caractre,” RMF (June 1930), pp. 274-286. The last cited is a chapter from de Gaulle’s Le Fit de l’épée (Paris, 1932).


On this subject, see Nunn, “Effects of European Military Training in Latin America: The Origins and Nature of Military Professionalism in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru, 1890-1940,” Military Affairs, 39 (Feb. 1975), 1-7.


See Centro de Estudios Histórico—Militares del Perú, Lima, Documentos donados al CEHMP por el r. p. Rubén Vargas Ugarte, S. J., Memorandum que eleva el general Paul Clément, jefe de la misión militar francesa, a s. e. el presidente de la república, el 24 de agosto de 1899. This is an extremely informative document and provides the definitive link between French colonial military thought and its application in Peru.


See Enrique Indacochea Galareta, “El centro de altos estudios militares de Francia,” RMP (Nov. -Dec. 1960), pp. 29-54; and Escuela Superior de Guerra del Perú, Cincuentenario de la escuela superior de guerra del Perú, 1904-1954 (Chorrillos, 1954). The “school of the marshals” was the idea of General Ferdinand Foch, commandant of the Ecole Supérieure de la Guerre.


See Arturo Arévalo, “La contextura moral del oficial,” RMP (May 1945), pp. 27-39; Juan Vicente Rojo, “El ejército como institución social,” RMP (May 1948), pp. 7-15; (June 1948), pp. 109-119; and (July 1948), pp. 237-247; Erasmo Herrera Benítez, “Como exaltar el patriotismo e intensificar la educación cívica de la ciudadanía,” RMP (Jan. -Feb. 1950), pp. 113-115; Carlos González Bueno, “Ejército: Rol social y disciplina,” RMP (Jan. 1952), pp. 1-6; Felipe de la Barra, “Factores primarios de la defensa nacional,” RMP (Sept. -Oct. 1954), pp. 1-16; Arturo Castilla Pizarro, “El Perú como nación: Nacionalismo y conciencia nacional: Sus factores formativos,” RMP (Jan-Mar. 1955), pp. 613-615; Marcial Figueroa Arévalo, “El oficial del ejército y la integración del indígena a la nacionalidad,” RMP (Sept. 1955), pp. 104-109; Víctor Sánchez Marín, “El departamento de movilización integral de la nación: Elemento básico del ministerio de la defensa nacional,” RESG (July-Sept. 1955), pp. 30-53.


See the November 1946 issues of RMP and Revísta de la Escuela Militar de Chorrillos, for extensive treatments of the French missions and their impact on Peruvian military thought and self-perception. A detailed treatment including mission rosters can be found in General Carlos Miñano’s Las misiones militares francesas en el Perú (Lima, 1959).


Cf. Einaudi and Stepan, Latin American Institutional Development, p. 20; and Phillip, The Rise and Fall, pp. 55-58.


As if to make continuity official, Morla Concha’s 1933 essay was reprinted as the preface (pp. viii-xxv) to the April 1952 issue of the RMP. An editorial note claimed that the essay had permanent value because of its content and was evidence of the transcendence of military culture since 1933. In 1952, Morla was a division general and chief of the general staff.


In addition to essays noted at the beginning of this study, see Gallegos Venero, “Un combate victorioso en guerra contrarrevolucionaria,” RESG (July-Sept. 1962), pp. 7-26; Ibáñez, “Movilización económica,” RESG (Jan-Mar. 1964), pp. 55-98, and (Apr. -June 1964), pp. 25-64; Cueto, “Movilización de recursos humanos,” RESG (Jan-Mar. 1964), pp. 7-54; Pito, “Reflexiones sobre el sistema de gobierno democrático,” RESG (Jan. -Mar. 1964), pp. 117-121; and Mercado, “La política de seguridad integral,” RESG (Oct. -Dec. 1964), pp. 83-112.


The following are representative: General Lionel Martin Chassin, “Du Rôle idéologique de l’armée,” Revue Militaire d’information (Oct. 10, 1954), pp. 13-19 (hereafter cited as RMI); this journal became a monthly in 1956. Chassin, “Du Rôle historique de l’armée,” RMI (Oct. 1956), pp. 1182-1199; J. Hogard, “Guerre revolutionnaire et pacification,” RMI (Jan. 1957), pp. 7-24; General Paul Ely, “L’Armée dans la nation,” RMI (Aug. -Sept. 1957), pp. 7-14; and Claude Delmas, “La Nation et le monde moderne,” RMI (July 1959), pp. 25-40. There is an excellent biography of primary source materials on French militarycivilian relations during the periods treated herein in John Steward Ambler’s Soldiers Against the State: The French Army in Politics (New York, 1968).


Lyautey, “Du Rôle social,” p. 446; “Du Rôle colonial,” p. 309.

Author notes


The author is Professor of History, Portland State University. A Social Science Research Council fellowship made possible some of the research for this essay. An earlier version was presented at the annual conference of the Society for Latin American Studies, University of Manchester, April 5-7, 1978. Special thanks are extended to Thomas M. Davies, Jr. and George D. E. Phillip for their comments.