The Factor of Militarism

Journal article

Eckhardt, William (1969) The Factor of Militarism, Journal of Peace Research 6 (2): 123–132.

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To investigate the nature of militarism, two different but related questionnaires were administered to two different samples of adults and university students, N = 122 and 261, respectively. Both questionnaires contained a variety of ideological and personality scales selected on the basis of a review of the literature. In both cases, the scale scores were standardized, correlated with each other, and factor analyzed by the principal components method. In both samples, a primary factor of militarism was among the first two factors extracted.

The primary factor of militarism contained scales of militarism, nationalism, severe treatment of criminals, anti-Communism, anti-internationalism, conservatism, anti-democratic attitudes, authoritarianism, and anti-Semitism. The items in these scales were characterized by a readiness to use or threaten to use force and punishment to control the behavior of those believed to be deviating from the values of Western adult society, including the Communist 'enemy', children, Jews, Negroes, foreigners, lower-class people, sexual deviates, and mental patients. This need for compulsion and punishment was presumed to be a function of lack of faith in human nature.

The primary factor of militarism was significantly correlated with the ideological factors of conservatism, nationalism, religiosity, lack of internationalism, lack of knowledge of foreign affairs, and political cynicism; and with the personality factors of extraversion, misanthropy, faulty childhood disciplines, lack of social responsibility, neuroticism, and lack of empathy. Some of these results (such as the correlation of militarism with conservatism and religiosity) are probably limited in their generalizability to the Western World, while the rest are probably more universal in their generalizability. However, cross-cultural studies will be required to increase our understanding of militarism in general.

This study implies the need for more freedom in human relations if we want more responsibility in human relations, including international relations.

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