The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Puppet state

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A puppet government is a government, though notionally of the same culture as the governed people - owes its existence (or other major debt) to being installed, supported or controlled by a more powerful entity, typically a foreign power. Such a government is known as a puppet régime.

The term is partisan and prone to semantic disputes, used almost exclusively by detractors of such governments, whether or not the majority of citizens affected acknowledge the characterization, or object to that kind of government. Often a proclaimed puppet government faces a rival government which uses the puppet government term to weaken the legitimacy of that government. Also usually implied is the government's lack of legitimacy, in the view of those using the term.

For example, each of the two Korean governments has throughout its history often used the rhetoric that it is in fact the only true ruler of the peninsula, and that the other government is merely a "puppet" of the US/Soviets.

A vassal state may be instituted as the result of a military defeat when the winner has not enough military power to fully control the defeated or enough population to colonize the new acquisitions. The tribute is an compromise for both the victor and the defeated state.


Recent examples of puppet governments

Some other examples of states sometimes labelled "puppet governments" are:

US puppet states

Soviet puppet states

See also Soviet Empire:

Puppet states in Axis-occupied Europe

Most of the West-European governments under the domination of Nazi Germany during World War II are now and then called puppet régimes, not the least in Allied literature, and particularly the fascist-leaning:

Other recent

Other examples since 1900 include:

Historic puppet states

Examples from earlier centuries include:

Governments which take power after foreign military intervention, or the threat thereof, are often accused by their opponents of being puppet governments, for example the government of Hamid Karzai in post-Taliban Afghanistan or the Diem government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States. Indeed, such accusations are commonly used to destabilize governments, encouraging and justifing coup d'états.

See also

Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13