The Salvadoran Officer Corps and the Final Offensive of 1981


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About the Book

The “final offensive,” an insurgent campaign fought after El Salvador’s coup of 1979, clearly demonstrated the strengths, weaknesses, idiosyncrasies, and behavior of the Salvadoran officer corps. During this crucial period, the military institution faced the double threat of internal politics and a rebel guerrilla army.
Colonel Bosch served as the U.S. Embassy’s Defense and Army Attaché during the crisis. His intimate perspective brings to life the important political and military events before, during and after the final offensive. His book also offers an historical perspective of officer attitudes from 1931 to 1979. The Armed Forces political crisis of 1979 and 1980 is discussed, followed by a detailed analysis of the final offensive, the short-lived cohesiveness shown by the officer corps and the divisiveness that lasted through the war and into peace. The text is complemented by a map and photographs.

About the Author(s)

Brian J. Bosch, Colonel, United States Army, retired, spent most of his service in military intelligence. Before El Salvador, in 1970–1974 he was the U.S. Embassy’s Defense Attaché in the Dominican Republic. He held a Latin American position in the Pentagon, and was military attaché operations chief for Latin America. Now living in Chevy Chase, Maryland, he has written for professional and academic journals on political and military affairs.

Bibliographic Details

Brian J. Bosch
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 165
Bibliographic Info: 5 photos, 1 map, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7534-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0356-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      xi
Introduction      1
Map      2

I. The Officer Corps: 1931–1979      3
II. A Military View of the Armed Forces: 1979–1980      17
III. The Politico-Military Crisis: 1979–1980      27
IV. The Politico-Military Crisis Continues: 1980      41
V. The Conduct of the War: 1980      59
VI. The Events Leading Up to the Final Offensive: 1980–1981      75
VII. The Final Offensive: January 10–13      83
VIII. The Final Offensive: January 13–18      93
IX. The General Offensive: January 18–26      101
X. The Post-Final Offensive Period in El Salvador: The First Decade      109
XI. Epilogue: Peace and the Officer Corps      121

Notes      127
Bibliography      139
Index      149

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Excellent…valuable for its depiction of the unique ‘tanda’ or military academy graduating class system in the Salvadoran military and its impact on officer-corps relationships and on the political situation as a whole…a real and very valuable contribution to historical accounting of the very real danger faced by the government of El Salvador at the hands of the FMLN…recommended”—The Diaa-Log