Ideology and State Terror: How Officer Beliefs Shaped Repression During Argentina's "Dirty War"
How does ideology influence state terror? I argue that distinct ideological beliefs within the military apparatus produce different levels of repression even if leaders are determined to terrorize the population. Officers who share the ideology of their leader willingly execute the government's repressive program while officers who do not share the leader's convictions refuse to victimize the civilian population. I study these dynamics in the case of Argentina's Dirty War (1975-1981). The empirical analysis draws on various historical data sources to identify the ideological beliefs and repressive behavior of commanding officers. Results show that loyal nationalist officers in the infantry, artillery, and communications branch perpetrated significant more violence than liberal cavalry officers who rejected the junta's terror program.