Copyright

Militarism: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Military Conscription: Definition, History & Debate

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Militarism
  • 0:50 North Korea
  • 2:10 Soviet Union
  • 2:57 Sparta
  • 3:32 World War I & Militarism
  • 4:06 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Stephen Benz

Stephen has taught history, journalism, sociology, and political science courses at multiple levels, including the middle school, high school and college levels.

Militarism is the belief that the military should play a central role in society. It usually features high government spending and aggression with neighbors. We look at three examples and then note the role of militarism in the First World War.

Definition of Militarism

Kim Jong-un is officially known as the 'supreme leader of North Korea.' Every year, Kim Jong-un presides over a massive military parade full of comically synchronized soldiers marching through the streets, gigantic tanks and gargantuan missiles on full display, and the mandatory aerial flybys of fighter jets.

These displays are examples of militarism. In a militaristic society, the government extensively promotes and develops the country's military for aggressive use against any enemies. In such a society, the military plays a central role in the government, if not the predominant role.

In this lesson, we'll look at three different examples of militaristic societies. We will also consider the role that militarism played in helping begin the First World War.

North Korea

Imagine a country where every day, the front page of the newspaper announces the latest activities of the military. As weird as that might seem, that is the daily reality for North Koreans.

North Korea officially came about from the division of the Korean Peninsula into the communist-backed North and the democratically-backed South during the Korean War. North Korea was backed by the Chinese government, whereas South Korea was backed by the United States.

Due to its origins from a deadly war, North Korea has always placed a priority on military spending. In fact, North Korea is driven by the doctrine of Songun, which translates as 'military first'. For North Koreans, this means that all spending in the country is prioritized towards military spending. Thus, North Korea spends nearly 25% of its government budget on the military and has 40% of its population in either active or reserved military duty. Despite being a relatively small country, it has the largest military in the world when taking into account active and reserved duty members, with about nine million members as of 2013. The immense amount of spending on the military is particularly surprising for outside observers, considering the low standard of living and poverty for the rest of North Koreans.

Soviet Union

Another prominent example of militarism was the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, similar to North Korea, had several military parades that boasted the Soviet military on an annual basis. Although the Soviet Union kept their spending secret, United States government officials estimated that about 18% of all spending in the Soviet Union during the 1980s was targeted towards military spending.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create an account
Support