AbstractThis article attempts to explain the radicalization of the military committee in Ethiopia known as the Dergue. The committee brought down the monarchy and initiated far-reaching socialist transformations of the country. Yet the Dergue had not initially shown any propensity to radicalism. To explain this conversion to Marxistâ€“Leninist ideology, scholars have thus far provided three prevailing views: (i) the Dergue radicalized to steal the revolution from the civilian left; (ii) objective conditions caused its radicalization; and (iii) radical officers initiated the radicalization. The article critically evaluates these views and shows their serious short-comings. It suggests a new explanation involving the quest for legitimacy and the need for political survival.
absolute power; counter-revolution; legitimacy; nationalism; radicalization; scorched-earth policy; state capitalism