Puppet states

Puppet state is a term of political criticism, used to denigrate a government which is perceived as unduly dependent upon an outside power. It implies that government's lack of legitimacy, in the view of those using the term.

The first puppet states

Nominally independent states influenced by stronger powers have existed through history, but the advent of modern theories of state sovereignty makes 19th century Europe a natural starting point for such a discussion.

19th Century

The first true puppet state in modern European history, in the sense of a state which claimed popular legitimacy but which was significantly dependent on an external power, was the Batavian Republic, established in the Netherlands under French revolutionary protection.

The first puppet states, in the sense of new states whose creation was made possible by the intervention of a foreign power, were the Italian republics created in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with the assistance and encouragement of Napoleonic France. See also French client republics.

In 1836 Americans allowed to live in the Mexican state of Texas revolted against the Mexican government to establish the American sponsored Republic of Texas, a country that existed barely 10 years (from May 14, 1836 to December 29, 1845) before it was annexed to the United States of America. However, since August 1837, Memucan Hunt, Jr., the Texan minister to the United States, submitted a first annexation proposal to the Van Buren administration.

In 1895, Japan detached Korea from its tributary relationship with China, giving it formal independence which was a prelude to Japanese annexation.

In 1896 Britain established a puppet state in Zanzibar.

Puppet states in World War I

Puppet states of Imperial Japan

During Japan's imperial period, and particularly during the Pacific War (parts of which are considered the Pacific theatre of World War II), Japan established a number of states that historians have come to consider puppet régimes.

Nominally sovereign states

Other plans

Japan had plans for other puppet states.

The Provisional Priamurye Government was a Japanese puppet régime that never got beyond the planning stages. In addition to the Japanese, the Germans supported the formation of this state. In 1943, the plans for a White Russian state died for good after the Battle for Stalingrad.

In 1945, as the Second World War drew to a close, Japan planned to grant puppet independence to the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia). These plans ended when the Japanese surrendered on 15 August 1945.

Puppet states of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy

Several European governments under the domination of Germany and Italy during World War II have been described as "puppet régimes". The formal means of control in occupied Europe varied greatly. These states fall into several categories.

Existing states in alliance with Germany and Italy

Existing states under German or Italian rule

  • Albania under Italy (1940–1943) and Albania under Nazi Germany (1943–1944) - The Kingdom of Albania was an Italian protectorate and puppet régime. Italy invaded Albania in 1939 and ended the rule of King Zog I. Zog was exiled and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy added King of Albania to his title. King Victor Emmanuel and Shefqet Bej Verlaci, Albanian Prime Minister and Head of State, controlled the Italian protectorate. Shefqet Bej Verlaci was replaced as Prime Minister and Head of State by Mustafa Merlika Kruja on 3 December 1941. The Germans occupied Albania when Italy quit the war in 1943 and Ibrahim Bej Biçaku, Mehdi Bej Frashëri, and Rexhep Bej Mitrovica became successive Prime Minister under the Nazis.
  • Vichy France (1942–1944) - The Vichy French régime of Philippe Pétain had limited autonomy from 1940 to 1942, being heavily dependent on Germany. The Vichy government controlled many of France's colonies and the unoccupied part of France and enjoyed international recognition. In 1942, the Germans occupied the portion of France administered by the Vichy government and installed a new leadership, which ended much of the international legitimacy the government had.
  • Monaco (1943–1945) - In 1943, the Italian army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a fascist administration. Shortly thereafter, following Mussolini's collapse in Italy, the German army occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population. Among them was René Blum, founder of the Ballet de l'Opera, who died in a Nazi extermination camp.
  • Independent State of Montenegro (1941–1944) - The régime founded by Sekule Drljević was an Italian puppet régime from 1941 to 1943 and a German puppet régime from 1943 to 1944. Drljević was the leader of the Montenegrin Federalists and formed the Provisional Administrative Committee of Montenegro.

New states formed to reflect national aspirations

Puppet regimes under control of Germany and Italy

The Italian Social Republic

  • Italian Social Republic (1943–1945, known also as the Republic of Salò) - General Pietro Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuel III withdrew Italy from the Axis Powers and moved the government in southern Italy, already conquered by the Allies. In response, the Germans occupied northern Italy and founded the Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana or RSI) with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as its "Head of State" and "Minister of Foreign Affairs". While the RSI government had some trappings of an independent state, it was completely dependent both economically and politically on Germany.

Puppet States of Allied forces During and Post WWII

Puppet states of the Soviet Union

As Soviet forces prevailed over the German Army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, the Soviet Union supported the creation of communist governments in Eastern Europe. Specifically, the People's Republics in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland were dominated by the Soviet Union. While all of these People's Republics did not "officially" take power until after World War II ended, they all have roots in pro-Communist war-time governments. For example, Bulgaria's pro-Communist Fatherland Front seized power in Bulgaria on September 9, 1944. The Fatherland Front government was Soviet dominated and the direct predecessor of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (1946–1990). On the other hand, keeping with the Bulgarian example, it could be argued that the People's Republic of Bulgaria under Prime Minister Georgi Dimitrov (1946–1949) was far from being a Soviet puppet. On yet another hand, an argument for co-belligerence status could also be made for these states.

Puppet states of the United Kingdom

The Axis demand for oil and the concern of the Allies that Germany would look to the oil-rich Middle East for a solution, caused the invasion of Iraq by the United Kingdom and the invasion of Iran by the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. Pro-Axis governments in both Iraq and Iran were removed and replaced with Allied-dominated governments.

  • Kingdom of Iraq (1941–1943) - Iraq was important to the United Kingdom because of its position on the route to India. Iraq also could provide strategic oil reserves. But, due to the UK's weakness early in the war, Iraq backed away from the pre-war Anglo-Iraqi Alliance. On 1 April 1941, the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq was over-thrown and there was a pro-German coup d'état under Rashid Ali. The Rashid Ali regime began negotiations with the Axis powers and military aid was quickly sent to Mosul via Vichy French-controlled Syria. The Germans provided a squadron of twin engine fighters and a squadron of medium bombers. The Italians provided a squadron of biplane fighters. In mid-April 1941, a brigade of the 10th Indian Infantry Division landed at Basra (Operation Sabine). On 30 April, British forces at RAF Habbaniya were besieged by a numerically superior Iraqi force. On 2 May, the British launched pre-emptive airstrikes against the Iraqis and the Anglo-Iraqi War began. By the end of May, the siege of RAF Habbaniya was lifted, Falluja was taken, Baghdad was surrounded by British forces, and the pro-German government of Rashid Ali collapsed. Rashid Ali and his supporters fled the country. The Hashemite monarchy (King Faisal II and Prime Minister Nuri al-Said) was restored. The UK then forced Iraq to declare war on the Axis in 1942. Commonwealth forces remained in Iraq until 26 October 1947.
  • Imperial State of Iran (1941–1943) - German workers in Iran caused the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union to question Iran's neutrality. In addition, Iran's geographical position was important to the Allies. So, in August 1941, the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran (Operation Countenance) was launched. In September 1941, Reza Shah Pahlavi was forced to abdicate his throne and went into exile. He was replaced by his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was willing to declare war on the Axis powers. By January 1942, the UK and the Soviet Union agreed to end their occupation of Iran six months after the end of the war.

Decolonization and Cold War

In some cases, the process of decolonization has been managed by the decolonizing power to create a neo-colony, that is a nominally independent state whose economy and politics permits continued foreign domination. Neo-colonies are not normally considered puppet states.

Congo Crisis

Following Belgian Congo's independence as the Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville) in 1960, Belgian interests supported the short-lived breakaway state of Katanga (1960–1963).

East Asia during the Cold War

During the 1950–1953 Korean War, South Korea and the United States alleged that North Korea was a Soviet puppet state. At the same time, South Korea was accused of being an American puppet state by North Korea and its allies. Additionally, in 1951 Dean Rusk, the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, branded the People's Republic of China a "Slavic Manchukuo", implying that it was a puppet state of the Soviet Union just as Manchukuo had been a puppet state of the Empire of Japan. This position was commonly taken by American propaganda of the 1950s, despite the fact that the Chinese communist movement had developed largely independently of the Soviet Union.

Following the victory of the Viet Minh in the First Indochina War, the 1954 Geneva Accords stipulated that Vietnam would be divided for two years only, until national elections could be held. However, the Americans along with Ngo Dinh Diem feared that Ho Chi Minh and the Communists would win the election. The State of Vietnam and the United States didn't sign the Geneva Accords, citing that it was impossible to hold free and fair nationwide democratic elections in the communist North, and this was later expressed by UN observers monitoring the partition of Vietnam. As a result, South Vietnam and the U.S. were not bound by its terms. In 1955 the Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem, a surrogate supported by the United States, declared the independence of the Republic of Vietnam in the southern half of Vietnam. Over time, Diem grew increasingly uncomfortable with the role of the U.S. in his country, complaining that they were increasing the conflict with North Vietnam. Diem's complaints became more vocal as American soldiers, called "advisors", continued to pour into the country, and some began calling Diem an uncooperative client and a puppet pulling his own strings.[11] After he became seen more as a liability than an asset to America, Diem was assassinated in 1963 with the complicity of the CIA and possibly President Kennedy.[12]

During the Vietnam War, South Vietnam was allied with the U.S. and other anti-communist states in Asia and the West, whereas North Vietnam was allied with China, and particularly the Soviet Union, and with other socialist and communist nations. The Paris Peace Accords were preceded by months of intensive negotiations over whether the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam (Viet Cong) should be treated as an independent party or as a puppet of North Vietnam. However, South Vietnam was so heavily dependent on US military aid that when the aid terminated, the country collapsed and was taken over.

South Africa's Bantustans

During the 1970s and 1980s, four ethnic bantustans, some of which were extremely fragmented, were carved out of South Africa and given nominal sovereignty. Two (Ciskei and Transkei) were for the Xhosa people; and one each for the Tswana people (Bophuthatswana) and for the Venda people (Venda Republic).

The principal purpose of these states was to remove the Xhosa, Tswana and Venda peoples from South African citizenship (and so to provide grounds for denying them democratic rights). All four were reincorporated into South Africa in 1994.

After the Cold War

Republic of Kuwait

The Republic of Kuwait was a short-lived pro-Ba'athist Iraq state in the Persian Gulf that only existed three weeks before it was annexed by Iraq.

Current

Northern Cyprus

Due to Northern Cyprus' isolation and heavy dependence on Turkish support, Turkey has a high level of control over the country's decision-making processes. This has led to some experts stating that it runs as an effective puppet state of Turkey.[13][14][15] Few political decisions in Northern Cyprus are taken without the approval of the Turkish National Security council in Ankara.[16]

South Ossetia

South Ossetia has declared independence but its ability to maintain independence is solely based on Russian troops deployed on its territory. As South Ossetia is landlocked between Russia and Georgia, from which it seceded, it has to rely on Russia for economic and logistical support, as its entire exports and imports and air and road traffic is only between Russia. Former President of South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity claimed he would like South Ossetia eventually to become a part of the Russian Federation through reunification with North Ossetia.[17]

See also

Politics portal

References

Further reading

  • James Crawford. The creation of states in international law (1979)
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