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Military Occupation

  1. Cheyney Ryan

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee582

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Ryan, C. 2013. Military Occupation. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


The topic of military occupation has gained increasing attention from philosophers in recent years, due partly to political events. The actions of the United States and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq have raised serious questions about what foreign powers may legitimately due in countries they have occupied. Interest in these matters has led many to look back on the experiences of Germany and Japan in the post-World War II years, when the victorious Allied powers reconstructed the defeated enemies along democratic lines. In addition, discussion has concerned the means by which an occupying power pursues its ends, through military actions or other uses of force. War, proper, has its rules by which fighting must proceed; what are the rules by which an occupation must proceed, and do they differ for just and unjust occupations? Finally, cases of unjust occupation have focused attention on the response of occupied peoples to their predicament; for example, are terrorist-type actions ever legitimate as a response?


  • ethics;
  • legal and political;
  • national defense;
  • peace;
  • practical (applied) ethics;
  • war and conflict