The War of the Triple Alliance

analytical Essay
1996 words
1996 words

The War of the Triple Alliance is regarded as the bloodiest war in the history of Latin America, taking place from 1864 to 1870. In a seemingly uneven match up, the country of Paraguay took on an alliance of three countries: Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Paraguay started this conflict under the rule of Francisco Solano López, the country’s dictator. What would make Fransisco Solano López, dictator of Paraguay, exponentially increase his military forces and attack an alliance of three countries, two of which are much larger than Paraguay? I will use operational code to study the dictator who started the war and examine reasons as to why he made such the rash and risky decision that he did. After examining Francisco Solano López’s operational code, I will delve into the topic of prospect theory to further evaluate the reasons for mobilizing a military and starting a war, and the risks involved with doing so. The topic of militarized interstate disputes, otherwise known as MIDs, will be the last subject I discuss in relation to the causes of the war, and I will explain his motives for the dispute as well as the motives of the opposition

Operational Code

When looking into the causes of a decision, it is important to take a look into the decision maker himself and see what his operational code was. In understanding López’s operational code, we are able to better see his organic roots and motivations in making the decision that he did. Operational code is an indication of how an individual will make a decision, based on his or her upbringing, his or her prior experiences, and his or her ideologies in general that would help in the making of a decision. In Levy and Thompson’s Causes of War , operational code is explained by sayi...

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...rancisco Solano López and the Ruination of Paraguay: Honor and Egocentrism. New York: Rowan and Littlefield, 2007. Print.

Box, Pelham Horton. The Origins of the Paraguayan War. New York: Russell & Russell, 1967. Print.

Kraay, Hendrik, and Thomas Whigham. I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska, 2004. Print.

Levy, Jack S., and William R. Thompson. Causes of War. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.

The Paraguayan War: The Forgotten War. Dir. Denis Wright. Quilombo Films, 2009. DVD.

Vasquez, John A. "The Probability of War, 1816-1992. Presidential Address to the International Studies Association, March 25, 2002, New Orleans." International Studies Quarterly 48.1 (2004): 1-27. Print.

Whigham, Thomas. The Paraguayan War. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska, 2002. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the war of the triple alliance was the bloodiest war in latin america, taking place from 1864 to 1870. they will examine the dictator's operational code, prospect theory, and militarized interstate disputes.
  • Analyzes how lópez's nationalism propelled him to make a new paraguay, and he had many supporters that followed.
  • States vasquez, john a., "the probability of war, 1816-1992. presidential address to the international studies association, march 25, 2002, new orleans."
  • Analyzes how lópez's operational code is an indication of how an individual will make a decision based on his upbringing, prior experiences, and ideologies in general.
  • Analyzes how lópez took territories in brazil and argentina to retaliate for his actions. he declared war on argentina, annexing both entre rios and corrientes provinces.
  • Explains that prospect theory is the idea that decisions are made based on the ideas and values of losses and gains rather than the final outcome.
  • Explains that schofield saeger, james, and pelham horton's the origins of the paraguayan war.
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