The Círculo Militar began as a social club for officers in the Argentine army in the wake of the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870). Founded in 1881, it expanded and became a center for the promotion of corporate interests and political activity within the military.
After 1900, members of the Círculo Militar used organizational meetings as a forum for the discussion of the place of the armed forces in Argentine politics and society. The rise of the Radical Party to political dominance in 1916 sparked a transformation of the club. When President Hipó-lito Irigoyen promoted loyalist officers to positions of authority within the armed forces, conservatives used the club to organize an opposition movement. In 1920 members of a secret organization, the Logia General San Martín, took control of the club. The club quickly developed as a center of conservative political opposition.
The club and its leaders actively supported the armed forces' intervention in politics after 1930. It published books and pamphlets by nationalists, including Leopoldo Lugones. Generals Agustín P. Justo and Arturo Rawson, both having served as presidents of the Círculo Militar, helped lead coups against civilian regimes in 1930 and 1943. As the military became more deeply involved in politics, in particular during the Proceso de Reorganización Nacional (1976–1983), the club in its publications and its public forums continued to apologize for military interventions and dictatorships that occurred in Argentina between 1955 and 1983.
García Enciso, Isaías. Los 100 años del Círculo Militar. Buenos Aires: Círculo Militar, 1982.
Potash, Robert A. The Army and Politics in Argentina, 1928–1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1969.
Daniel K. Lewis