Cover: The Five Stages of Urban Guerrilla Warfare

The Five Stages of Urban Guerrilla Warfare

Challenge of the 1970s

Published 1971

by Brian Michael Jenkins


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Guerrilla strategy began in the country, but has moved to the city. To a degree, the urbanization of guerrilla warfare signals its failure in the countryside. Military operations by local governments have succeeded in containing guerrillas to remote areas, while civic action programs have undercut some of their rural support. This has been matched by increasing guerrilla activity in the cities. Unable to find a tested guide to urban guerrilla success, the author has constructed a five-stage strategy by which, theoretically, urban guerrillas might succeed in taking over a city. Two major constraints face urban guerrillas: difficulties in moving insurgency into the city, and limits on the kinds of activities possible there. Further, the urban environment may pose new dangers for them, such as proximity of elite army units, efficiency of secret police, and competition with other urban groups for popular support.

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