A "coup d'état" (plural coups ). noun \ˌkü dā-ˈtä, ˈkü dā-ˌ, -də-\. : a sudden attempt by a small group of people such as the armed forces, whether military or paramilitary, or an opposing faction of the government to legally take over usually through the violent seizure of power. [[1]].


1640-1650, French, literally: “stroke of state” [[2]][[3]][[4]], “blow of state” [[5]] or “blow against the state” [[6]].

The conceptEdit

In Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook, military historian Edward Luttwak states that "[a] coup consists of the infiltration of a small, but critical, segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder." [[7]]

Results Edit

Coups generally change the established order of a nation’s ruling class when the government is replace it with a new ruling body, wether it be civil (a cabal, national salvation committee, revolutionary council, etc.) or military (a junta, supreme military council, national salvation committee, revolutionary council, etc.).[[8]]. The coup leaders will less often bring fundamental changes to the people such as ending torture, no donkey/kangaroo courts or free public education. [[9]] This is different to a revolution or popular/public uprising were the people or a wide section of the population take power by force and implement changes aimed at helping the masse like free education, no donkey/kangaroo courts and ending torture [[10]].

A coup d'état is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance. When the coup neither fails completely nor succeeds, a civil war or a counter coup is the most likely consequence of its failure [[11]].

A 'Putsch'Edit

Since an unsuccessful coup d'état in 1920 (the Kapp Putsch), the Swiss German word Putsch (pronounced [pʊtʃ]; was coined for the Züriputsch of 1839) also denotes the same politico-military actions. [[12]]


  1. The Kapp Putsch
  2. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
  3. Andrés Rodríguez
  4. Alfredo Stroessner
  5. The Beer Hall Putsch
  6. Nigerian military juntas of 1966–1979 and 1983–1998.

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