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International Military Intervention, 1946-1988 (ICPSR 6035)

Principal Investigator(s): Pearson, Frederic S., University of Missouri-St. Louis; Baumann, Robert A., Wayne State University


This data collection documents all cases of military intervention across international boundaries by regular armed forces of independent states in the regions of Europe, the Americas (and Caribbean), Asia and the Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East/North Africa. Military interventions are defined operationally in this collection as the movement of regular troops or forces (airborne, seaborne, shelling, etc.) of one country into the territory or territorial waters of another country, or forceful military action by troops already stationed by one country inside another, in the context of some political issue or dispute. The study seeks to identify politically important actions which interpose a state directly into the conflict patterns occurring in another state, and which conceivably involve a breach of the sovereignty of the target state (albeit by invitation in some cases). The collection identifies intervener and target countries and specifies the starting and ending dates of the intervention. A series of potential interests in or motives for intervention are presented, including effects on the target's domestic disputes, foreign or domestic policies, and efforts to protect social factions in the target, to attack rebels in sanctuaries across borders ("hot pursuit"), to protect or enhance economic/resource interests, to protect military or diplomatic facilities, to save lives, or to affect regional power balances and strategic relations. Information is provided on the direction of the intervention, i.e., to support or oppose the target government, to support or oppose opposition groups in the target, or to support or oppose third-party governments or opposition groups. Other variables show the degree of prior intervention, the alliance or treaty relationship between intervener and target, prior colonial status, prior intervention, and measures of intervener and target power size. A series of intensity measures, such as battle-related casualties, is also included. For each type of incursion, by land, sea, or air, an ordinal scale of involvement is presented, ranging from minor engagement such as evacuation, to patrols, acts of intimidation, and actual firing, shelling, or bombing. Finally, contiguity information is provided to indicate both whether intervener and target are geographically contiguous, and whether the intervention was launched from contiguous territory.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


DS1:  Main Data File - Download All Files (0.273 MB)
DS2:  SAS Program File with Instream Data - Download All Files (0.174 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   

Study Description


Pearson, Frederic S., and Robert A. Baumann. International Military Intervention, 1946-1988. ICPSR06035-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1993. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06035.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06035.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation. Data Development for International Research Project
  • University of Missouri-St. Louis. Center for International Studies
  • University of Missouri-St. Louis. Weldon Spring Fund

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    domestic policy, foreign policy, international conflict, military intervention, national interests

Geographic Coverage:    Africa, Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Global, Middle East, South America, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1946--1988

Date of Collection:   

  • 1985--1989

Universe:    All cases of military interventions from 1946 through 1988.

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

Part 2 of this collection contains SAS language statements, data list, instream data, and other program statements to read the file directly into SAS.


Data Source:

Monographs, almanacs, chronologies, journals, newspapers, archival materials, and magazines (see Appendix B of the codebook for all references)

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.


Original ICPSR Release:   1993-05-13

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