A coup happens when there is a sudden overthrow of the government, usually by the country’s military. The motive of the act is to replace the government with another body from the military itself, or a civilian chosen by the authority. No matter who ends up with control of the country, there is no denying the loss of life and property. Not to forget the high chance of civil war that follows immediately after. Check out some of the most famous coup attempts of all time.
1. The Beer Hall Putsch
The famous coup attempt that led to Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf. In 1923, Adolf Hitler led over 2000 Nazis to a beer hall where they would hold the government to ransom and eventually take control of the country. The Nazis failed miserably. They totally underestimated the government and eventually their weapons turned out to be inadequate. The German police ended up killing 16 Nazis. Rumour has it that Hitler himself was hiding behind others while they were trying to find a way out. He was eventually arrested and thrown into prison for this where he ended up writing the book.
2. Malian Coup
One of the worst coups in history happened back in 2012 as the Malian soldiers, displeased with President Amadou Toumani Touré’s management of the Tuareg rebellion (a series of insurgencies happening since 1916 as rebels fought for Independence of Northern Mali), formed the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy. The military attacked the capital of Barnako apart from the military barracks, government controlled news stations and the presidential palace. The coup resulted in the death of 15,000 soldiers, displacing over 1,00,000 civilians. DON’T MISS
3. Orange Revolution
Ukraine was in some serious turmoil between November 2004 and January 2005. Kiev was the centre of the protest which took place after the Ukranian presidential election was disrupted by fraud, corruption and voter intimidation. The ripple effects were felt nationwide with acts of civil disobedience, general strikes and marches. The president was finally thrown out of power but not before injuring and killing thousands of protesters.
4. The Regime of the Colonels
1967 to 1974, known as the Regime of the Colonels, was a dark one for the Greeks. The country was under direct military rule during this time right after a group of colonels overthrew the government. Interestingly, the Greek king during that time didn’t even try to stop the coup. Things got out of hand for the military when tensions grew between Greece and Turkey. This got too unstable and the king finally fell from power. The king apparently is still alive but is surviving as any other commoner.
5. The Musharraf coup
Pakistan has seen a number of coup attempts in the past. Six since their independence, to be precise, with the latest taking place in 1999 when then military leader Parvez Musharraf overthrew the Pakistani government. It was a bloodless coup as Musharraf declared an emergency and took control of the entire country. As a result, many laws were flouted. The Pakistani supreme court stepped in ordering that the military rule could only last for another 3 years before democracy returned, but Musharraf was adamant it should last longer. A referendum was raised by him which he won by a staggering 98 percent! Dictators win referendums by 98% which suggests how corrupt the state might have been back then.
6. Napolean Bonaparte
Back in the 1700s, France was under the rule of a five-member Directory. Something Napolean wasn’t too happy about. So when he returned from an Egyptian military campaign in October of 1799 he started planning a way to overthrow them. He wasn’t alone either. Two of the five directors were in with him, and so were a number of other high-level co-conspirators. To bribe/intimidate the men in power, Napolean arranged for a special legislative session outside Paris on the 10th of November. The lower house, however, shamed him with “down with dictator” chants and chased him away from the chamber. He did manage to get his way though and overthrew the directory, by convincing the troops to clear the area. He handpicked a group of legislators to abolish the directory and appoint him to a three-member Consulate instead. In 1804, Napolean crowned himself the emperor. Many believe that this coup brought an end to the French revolution and started the first French empire.
7. Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi hated the Libyan monarchy and all those in the west who supported it. Born to illiterate parents in Bedouin, his hostility kept growing until he finally sensed the power of the monarchy fading away. After waiting for the right opportunity, Gaddafi, who was now 27 years old and serving as a junior army officer, decided to seize power himself on September 1st, 1969. When King Idris was out of the country vacationing at a health resort, he and approximately 70 co-conspirators in military vehicles stormed into the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. They surrounded the royal palace and other government buildings, cut communications and arrested some government officials. One such official even jumped into a swimming pool in his pyjamas in a desperate attempt to escape. The king’s personal guards were the only ones to resist but even they gave way eventually. It took merely two hours before the bloodless coup finally ended. Gaddafi’s madness started soon enough with his whims and fancies affecting all Libyans. His reign lasted 42 years before USA decided to step in. Muammar Gaddafi was killed in 2011.
8. All Saint’s Massacre, 1979
On All Saint’s Day in 1979, Bolivia witnessed one of its worst days in history. Alberto Natusch Busch led a rather violent crackdown of the military coup regime on the 1st of November that year. Mass protests led by the trade union confederation, the Central Obrera Boliviana, was met with violent military action. The soldiers in La Paz were given a free hand to act without any orders. Around 200 people were killed, 200 more injured. Around 125 people also “disappeared” mysteriously.
9. Cuban revolution
Perhaps the most famous coups of all time. Castro wanted to implement his Marxist policies around the country, but the real revolution did not begin before 26th of July, 1953. Castro sent a group of 160-odd rebels led by the hero of the revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, to attack the Moncado Barracks in Santiago and the barracks in Bayamo. The Cuban Revolution led to the exit of the General Fulgencio Batista on July 1, 1959. As a poster boy for rebels, Guevara’s face ended on t-shirts and walls of many supporters around the world.