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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

In the mid-twentieth century, the best market for mercenaries was the newly independent Republic of the Congo. Indeed, within Africa the 1960s were a “golden age” of mercenarism. This paper will examine the specific circumstances during the Congo Crisis of 1960-67 that precipitated this new heyday of the mercenary, the responses to this new mercenarism, and mercenarism as a military, political, and economic phenomenon in post-colonial Congo. By focusing on the Congo Crisis, this paper will illustrate the circumstances that encourage the wide-scale use of mercenary soldiers and will examine counter-mercenary operations. Further, it will explore mercenarism as a driver for United Nations interventionism and Cold War conflict in the post-imperial Third World. Lastly, it will analyze the economics of mercenarism.

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