What Is a Military Dictatorship?

A military dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which military leaders govern the state. Normally, they result from a coup that topples the government. Military dictatorships are prevalent in countries where the military has stronger cohesion than other social institutions.

Military dictatorships are ruled by the highest ranking officers of the nation's military. The head of state is the senior military commander or general. Lower-ranking generals form the governing board.

In a military dictatorship, political parties and non-government political bodies are either nonexistent or extremely weak. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, military dictatorships typically use force to overthrow the established government and usually keep power by ruling with violence.