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Title: Iranian military modernisation, 1921-1979 : assessing the interrelationships between the internal politics, the nature of internal and external security environment and the processes of military modernisation and expansion
Author: Chegnizadeh, Gholamali
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 7439
Awarding Body: The University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 1997
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Iranian Military Modernisation, 1921-1979: assessing the interrelationships between internal politics, the nature of the internal and external security environment and the processes of military modernisation and expansion Gholamali Chegnizadeh The objective of this thesis is to investigate the factors that positively and/or negatively affected the process of military modernisation and expansion in Iran during 1921-79. In doing so, the thesis will embark on a thorough historical study of the Iranian armed forces. This involves an examination of the link between the changes which took place in the size, mission and armament of the armed forces and the characteristics of Iranian society and polity on the one hand, and the nature of the external and internal security environment on the other. One important theme in this study is the radical break which took place in the process of military modernisation and expansion in the period after 1963. Prior to this era, the process of military modernisation was mainly influenced by the Shah's weak internal position, by the internal struggle for power, internal uncertainty and instability, and by the objection of the United States (as the main provider of financial and hardware resources) to any major change in the size and/or armament of the military forces. Therefore, during this period Iran possessed a modest and not even efficient military establishment preoccupied mainly with internal sources of insecurity. However, several internal, regional and international developments in the post -1965 period changed the entire strategic context within which the army sought to operate. These changes alongside an increase in oil revenues, on the one hand, paved the way for the formation of a highly personalised form of internal politics; and on the other it created an opportunity for Iran to gain predominance in the politics of the region. The study shows that it was these two factors - the formation of a highly personalised, highly centralised form of internal politics and the changing regional strategic environment - which greatly shaped the understanding and definition of security threats and the process of military modernisation and expansion in the latter half of the 1960' s. The main characteristic of the established political system after the mid-1960s was the centrality of the Shah in the decision-making process. This, in conjunction with the Shah's personal interest in military and strategic affairs, hindered the formation of any meaningful bureaucratic organisation and frustrated the emergence of any independent power base in the armed forces. This consequently led to a one-man system of control. As a result, the Shah's personal characteristics and psychological make-up became the sole determining factor in issues such as the definition of security threats and the structure, organisation, armament and mission of the military forces. The armed forces, accordingly, became identified with the Shah's personal apprehension and aspirations and organisationally became totally dependent on him for its reproduction. A second important theme is that the army, in the midst of its wholesale reorganisation, was faced with a major civil upheaval in 1978179. This study shows that the army was neither trained or equipped, or morally or organisationally capable of dealing with the emerging political crisis. With the Shah's mental and physical health in dramatic decline, and with the economic recession intensifying, the above factors combined resulting in a total collapse of the Shah's regime and paralysation of the armed forces. This characterised the end of hali a century of efforts towards military modernisation in Iran.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available